The Tent City Jail In Arizona Is Closing After 22 Years

joe arpaio tent city closing

Aerial view of Tent City which will be closing in December of this year. (AP Photo/Michael Kortas)

Phoenix, Arizona — After 22-years of controversy, the tents in Phoenix, Arizona are finally coming down.

In a unanimous decision early this morning, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of closing the facility this December.

Paul Horner with the American Civil Liberties Union spoke with reporters about the closing of Tent City.

“This is a move that is long overdue, but I applaud the council for finally making that right move,” Horner told local news station ABC15. “Tent City is the definition of a human rights violation and even though they may be inmates, they deserve to be treated like human beings. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has routinely abused pre-trial detainees by feeding them moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food. Arpaio chose to house inmates in 20-year old tents, so hot as to endanger their health, denying them care for serious medical and mental health needs and keeping them packed as tightly as sardines for days at a time.”

Arpaio’s Tent City is notorious for inhumane conditions, from the food to the 118 degree heat.

On Thursday an inmate died in the tents after officers noticed the man had not shown up for work. No foul play is suspected.

According to NBC News, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisor’s main reason for shutting down the tents comes after years of protests, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s current legal battles and pressure from lawmakers to close the facility.


  1. That’s too bad. Many native Arizonans feel it’s just. Do the crime, deal with it.


    • @A.B – Why is it about time? Did you spend time there and didn’t like, so you blame the Sheriff and others for the results of your actions? Life’s a bitch when you make poor choices.

    • Lets do this, lets coddle the murderers, hey why don’t we go ahead and just give them what Sherriff Joe opposer’s want to give them. Lets put them all in camp cupcake so when they get out they won’t bother to look for a job or intregate into society , they’ll just steal,rape and kill. Why? Because guess what you dumb bleeding hearts, because their life in prison wasn’t all that bad. Tent City deterred repeat offenders, it was built for that reason. This country is going to hell in a hand basket and it starts at the top and trickles down. When are the people of this great country going to stop being followers and start being the leaders our forefathers envisioned us to be? This used to be the greatest country in the world and we are giving it away to criminals. Wake up America, stop being wussies.

      • Murders don’t stay in tent city. Clearly you’re ignorant to the topic. Please, people with your similar opinions are the ones holding this country back.

      • Rehabilitation and punishment are two different things… Murderers don’t go to tent city!!! If you feel the need to criticize how the criminals are getting out and repeating crime …. Start with the Department of Corrections, Chuck Ryan, and our Govenor !! The would rather have the inmates pay 2.9 million dollars to the state annually and use the money to buy new cars every year then put it into programs to rehabilitate!! Make them get an education and learn a trade!!! As for tent city, it’s in humane to treat anyone that way!

      • I agree Do the Crime Do the Time ! They don’t deserve any Special Treatments ! It’s probably the ones in Tent City that are complaining ! Well if they don’t like their treatment then don’t Kill Rape or robe people ! You all deserve whatever treatment you get !

    • Shhhh a former resident

  3. Fukthesystem says:

    Dumb glad its shutting down …way to hot out in az for that and i know people who had to go there that was innocent so fuk anyone who says that its ok…..

  4. Its sad when American Soldiers endure much worse then these criminals, for as long as 2 years at a time and with 90 pounds of gear. If you cant handle your time STOP BREAKING THE LAW ASSHOLES….

  5. Its about time. Being a true Arizonian that place is not ‘just’ that place is horrible the way he treats ppl. They are not animals . yes they do crime deserve to pay the time but not to be treated poorly!

  6. It’s s crying shame they should leave it up, and yes I spent 6 month there and it was horibal but I have not return because I’m not a dumb ass criminal how keeps on doing criminal things, so if you don’t want to go into tent city quit doing criminal things dumb asses

  7. AZ has never really cared about anything like human rights. Did someone build a for-profit prison to use instead?

  8. It is about time….I’ve never had the displeasure of spending time in “Tent City”….I don’t believe it is right to punish someone cruelly or inhumanely….especially our own citizens…..Its akin to what the Nazi’s did…

  9. Damn it! More states needed to follow this model except at the prison level. Prisoners are coddled way too much for the crimes they committed in this country and I’m sorry these scum bag murderers, rapists, and pedophiles are not people, they are monsters!

  10. Arpaio said, “if this is good enough for our soldiers in uniform in battle overseas, it’s good enough to house inmates”. And……Arpaio is adamant on keeping the jail open, saying, “if Tent City is as bad as critics and activists say, why have four U.S.presidential candidates visited the tents during campaign stops? No presidential candidate would step foot in Tent City if it truly was the cruel and inhumane jail my critics claim it to be.”
    Arpaio has also saved Phoenix millions of dollars taking over the animal shelter and giving inmates something to do. They will lose that too if they close tent city. As Joe says “if you don’t like the accommodations, don’t come back”.

  11. Andrea Bioletto says:

    I know some people who live in tents in extreme heat…those who defend this country…members of the United States Military. Don’t hear them bitching.

  12. I resided in the same tents in the military if far worse conditions….. so where do the displaced peoe do. There is no room elsewhere. Do they take money from an already suffering budget.. cut education even more to fund this… or simply release those they have no room for to the public to again make poor life choices… when this goes away and it is you or your family that is negatively impacted as a result where will be your justice for their inhumane choices.

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