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Penzone showing his smarts by shutting down Arpaio’s Tent City circus

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s circus tents are finally coming down.

It’s funny to me that Arpaio was offended and insulted by Sheriff Paul Penzone’s comments that his circus is finally over. He was taken aback by the notion anyone would shut down his beloved tent city and would even refer to it as an attraction of sorts.

Here’s a newsflash: The last decade of Arpaio’s tenure was, in fact, a circus that he created of his own free will — that we paid for — with the help of his public relations executive, Lisa Allen.

It was the Joe Show.

Instead of the citizens of Maricopa County buying tickets to the circus, we paid for it with millions and millions of tax dollars. Tax dollars that this county really needs.

This county will continue to spend millions of dollars on Sheriff Joe and his legal shenanigans.

Those crying foul might need a lesson in simple economics, incarceration and recidivism rates.

Independent studies have shown no clear evidence that being locked up in Tent City is a deterrent or lessens the recidivism rate in Maricopa County. That, alone, should have been reason enough to shut it down.

As Penzone mentioned, there is plenty of room in our current jails and prisons to house the population of Tent City. These are cells and beds that we are already paying for whether they’re occupied or not.

Penzone also mentioned the human element of Tent City. I have always been a supporter of the thought that if you don’t want to be locked up, don’t commit a crime.

But I’m not looking at the humane treatment of the prisoners. I’m looking at the conditions in which MCSO employees and staff have to work in June, July, and August.

Most just think about the prisoners. We tend to forget about all of the staff it takes to run Tent City and the conditions they have to work in.

Those that are calling for Penzone’s ousting, he’s not worried about you. You most likely did not vote for him and you most likely will not vote for him the next time around.

In the meantime, Penzone is going to do his job, he’s going to do it well and he’s going to do it with a fiscal responsibility that this county has not seen in decades.

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