Self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" in the nation Joe Arpaio of Arizona has said that 38 inmates will be fed only bread and water for a week for allegedly defacing American flags.
As part of an initiative the Maricopa County sheriff began in November, each jail cell has a sticker of an American flag, and inmates were threatened with the bread and water diet if the sticker was defaced in any way.
"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells," CNN reports Arpaio as saying. "Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It's a disgrace ... this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way."
In addition to the flags, Arpaio's nationalist push includes the daily playing of "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" over the jails' PA systems.
The sheriff announced in December that he would be segregating military veteran inmates to offer them special programs.
Meeting with military veteran inmates in their new segregated pod pic.twitter.com/eYVh0r42uV
— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) December 11, 2013
Arpaio is notorious for his for his treatment of inmates, including forcing inmates to wear pink underwear, using chain gangs, and his often sweltering "Tent City" jail which he referred to as a concentration camp.
ITALIAN ICE donated by the local Food Bank was distributed to Tent City inmates; meanwhile temp inside a tent was 142 pic.twitter.com/Tg2PoiZHed
— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) June 29, 2013
In addition, a federal court found that Arpaio's office engaged in racial profiling.