Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, is widely regarded as one of the toughest authorities in the country. Arpaio has stringent, primarily right-wing values, deeming his actions and statements against inmates and immigrants highly controversial.
Although Arpaio has forced inmates to wear pink underwear and threatened to feed them only bread and water for defacing American flags, his latest noteworthy act shows some compassion towards at least some of the inmates that fall under his jurisdiction.
According to Fox News, the sheriff has set up a new jail specifically for inmates who have served in the military.
Arpaio acknowledged the difficulties that can arise when a soldier returns from war.
“They fought for our country. The least we can do is help them. When some came back, some had mental problems. We have drug prevention programs, alcoholism,” Arpaio said.
One inmate, Touche Jamar Pouncey, claims that the separate jail helps veterans overcome their issues because they are all bonded by their status as former military members.
“Where we’ve come from and what we’ve experienced throughout the military is camaraderie. It’s deeper than what your race is. Being here is a blessing because we don’t have to deal with the constant violence,” Pouncey said.
Pouncey, who served in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, is in the Maricopa County jail for probation violation.
Although “thank you for your service” is a commonly uttered phrase by civilians and politicians alike, many individuals have done little to actually help the problem of mental health issues for returning U.S. veterans.
Arpaio claims that he is one of the few people actually doing something about the immense problem.
“Everyone says they want to help the veterans, but we’re actually doing something about it. we’re doing this so these guys don’t end up begging on the streets or back in here,” Arpaio said.