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McJail? Sheriff's 'Tent City' gets McDonald's-like number 'served' sign

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio stands in front of a sign touting the number of inmates held at "Tent City" over 19 years.

Inspired by McDonald's, the sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County on Monday had a sign made that touts the fact that more than 430,000 inmates have been "served" by his controversial "Tent City" jail.

"Why would anyone call for an end to this program and the closure of Tent City?" Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement announcing the sign. "Tent City makes room for inmates who otherwise might be released to the streets due to overcrowded jails. It’s one of the best things to have happened in the local criminal justice system."


The sheriff's department described Tent City, which is nearing its 19th year, as "the nation’s largest canvas incarceration compound".

"Borrowing from the world’s most renowned fast food chain," the department added, the sign will be updated monthly with the latest number of inmates "Served".

Arpaio, renowned for his tough stand on illegal immigrants, had the sign built "to underscore that Tent City remains an excellent facility to safely and cost effectively house inmates," the department stated. It’s such an efficient program, Arpaio points out, that it has been visited by four U.S. presidential candidates and a number of senators from several states.

More than 430,000 inmates have "served" their time in Tent City, which began in 1993 and is made up of Korean War tents, the department said.

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