The 38 Arizona inmates who allegedly defaced American flags hung in their prison cells will be punished with a diet of bread and water, Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio said Thursday.
Arpaio said the punishment will last seven days, CNN reports. “These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells,” Arpaio said. “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.”
Sheriff’s office spokesperson Christopher Hegstrom said that if the inmates defaced a flag a second time, they would face a bread and water diet for ten days.
Sheriff Arpaio is well-known for his controversial law enforcement tactics in Maricopa County. A court ruled in May that he routinely profiled Latinos during traffic and immigration patrols, which may have cost taxpayers up to $22 million. He also forced inmates to wear pink underwear and cut salt and pepper from their meals. The flags were part of a patriotism initiative which involves playing the “Star Spangled Banner” every morning and “God Bless America” every night over the prison speaker systems.