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Updated Feb 23, 2017 - 11:09 am

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone to determine future of Tent City

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PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said he is still working to determine the future of his predecessor’s most controversial jail: Tent City.

In an interview with Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday, Penzone said a committee made up of 12 different and diverse people, none of whom are in law enforcement, will make a recommendation to the sheriff on what he should do.

Penzone said they will review all the data, interview Maricopa County officials and tour the tents before making a recommendation to the sheriff within the next 30 days regarding the future of the jail.

Even though Penzone has been vocal in the past about closing the controversial jail enacted by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he insisted that his decision will have “no place for reputation.”

“It comes down to cost, efficiency safety, necessity, humanity,” Penzone said. “And it’s not just safety or humanity or humane treatment just for the inmates, it’s actually for my detention officers.”

As for the inmates themselves, Penzone said they actually prefer the openness of Tent City compared to the confined, cold space they would get in a jail cell.

Earlier in the interview, Penzone addressed his policy that suddenly slashed courtesy holds for immigrants flagged by U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement officers.

While he said he does not agree with the move, Penzone said his office needs to comply with federal law, which means ending the policy for good.

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