After more than two decades, Joe Arpaio’s Tent City will be closed down.
The facility, which today holds an estimated 700 to 800 inmates, will shut down thanks to Paul Penzone, who took office in January after beating Arpaio in November’s election.
In a news conference on Tuesday, the new sheriff of Maricopa County said, “this facility became more of a circus atmosphere for the general public. Starting today, the circus ends, and the tents come down."
Arpaio, who opened the compound in 1993 to ease overcrowding in jails, was known for forcing inmates to wear striped uniforms, live in tent and even eat green bologne.
Throughout his six terms in office, the former sheriff received many allegations of abuse and mistreatment of the facility located in southwest Pheonix.
According to the new sheriff, he plans to close the jail facility within the next six months. Penzone also projected that shutting down the compound could save Maricopa County an estimated $4.5 million.
As for the fate of the current inmates, Penzone said, "I have five other detention centers with plenty of space." He added, "No inmates are going free."
Arpaio, who is known for his anti-immigration stance, was not happy about the news of Tent City’s closure.
"I think he's insulting all the circus people," Arpaio argued, referring to Penzone’s ‘circus’ comment. The former sheriff also added, "That's disgusting, calling it a circus."
It is unclear what the facility will be used for in the future.