Arpaio to have prisioners pick up trash

arizona sheriff joe arpaio to use chain gang at all-star game 071011

Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed ''toughest sheriff'' in America, plans to deploy a chain gang to pick up litter outside Chase Field at the All-Star game.

The inmates, who are clad in cartoon-like striped jail outfits, include some from the holding tank for illegal immigrants, all of whom have been convicted of driving under the influence. The group also will include other DUI offenders.

Arpaio said the idea is to show the perils of drunken driving in Arizona, which has among the nation's toughest DUI laws. Asked why illegal immigrants are included in the chain gang, he said, ''I would be discriminating against the people here illegally in this country who have been convicted of the same crimes US citizens have been convicted of. Should I say, Oh no, you can't be on a chain gang because you're from a different country?''

The sheriff's office, known for its anti-illegal immigrant sweeps of neighborhoods and businesses, said all chain gang participants volunteered for the duty rather than remain in ''Tent City,'' jail homes that have no air conditioning.

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