PHOENIX — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has labeled an Arizona prison known as Tent City a “disgrace to this country.”
“I think that what (Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio) is doing is really a disgrace to this country and it makes us look very, very bad all over the world,” Sanders told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Monday.
Sanders said the jail, which has drawn criticism in the past for being too extreme, is inhumane.
“You don’t have prisoners in this country exposed to 130-degree temperatures,” he said. “You don’t humiliate people. That is not what American justice should be about.”
But the Vermont senator wasn’t critical of just the jail. He also swung out at Arpaio.
Sanders said Tent City seems to be a way for Arpaio to build political clout at the expense of a certain population.
“I think it’s very clear he’s using the immigrant population for political gain,” he said, adding that he condemns the idea of picking on the immigrant community to get votes.
Sanders also said he was taken aback when Arpaio greeted Sanders’ wife, Jane, on a recent visit to the jail. She had not planned to meet with the sheriff or enter the facility, but Arpaio arrived unannounced.
“I thought that that was rude and unacceptable behavior,” Sanders said.
In a tweet sent after Jane’s visit to Tent City, Arpaio seemed nonplussed at the Sanders’ reactions.
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