Men convicted of drunken driving will don bright pink shirts and perform burials of people who died of alcohol abuse as part of a new chain gang in Phoenix.
Fifteen Maricopa County inmates showed up in east Phoenix Tuesday, wearing the shirts, which say “Sheriff D.U.I. Chain Gang” on the front and “Clean (ing) and Sober” on the back.
Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Paul Chagolla said the chain gang is the first ever that’s dedicated to one type of crime.
Chagolla said the chain gang will clean busy streets in full view of commuters and perform burials in indigent cemeteries where many died from alcohol abuse.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, best known for issuing pink underwear to jail inmates and housing them in old military tents, said in a news release that “it’s all about deterrence.”
“Not only for the chain gang volunteers, but also for the public who will see the chain gang on the streets and quietly hope they never end up there themselves,” he said.
One of the inmates on the first chain gang, Daniel Flores, said it was better than sitting around Tent City.
Flores said it was very hot in the tents the past summer and now it’s getting very cold.
“I’ve been trying to get to work for this program, but it’s up to the judge and the courts,” he said.
Because of prisoner abuse, most chain gangs were disbanded across the United States by the 1950s. Thirteen years ago, Arpaio resurrected the idea, and in 1996, started chain gangs for women inmates.