Sheriff Joe Arpaio introduces pedal power TV

Legendary Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County AZ has introduced another new feature in what could be called “Innovations in Incarceration.” Arpaio’s latest is called “Pedal Vision.” (story here)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is implementing a new inmate program at Tent City Jail called “Pedal Vision.”

The program uses inmate-powered cycles to generate electricity for televisions.

Reports say Arpaio’s recent visit to Tent City inspired the idea, when he saw that many of the inmates were overweight.

The stationary bikes are customized so that as an inmate pedals, a connected television is powered once the cycle generates 12 volts of electricity.

One hour of pedaling equals one hour of television viewing for the inmates, according to Arpaio.

Arpaio said the inmates will only be able to watch television in the television room if they choose to pedal.

Arpaio, long the target of bedwetting liberals, has been dubbed “The Toughest Sheriff in America” for his no-nonsense approach to law enforcement and incarceration. Some of his other innovations in incarceration include:

  • Arpaio set up a “Tent City” as an extension of the Maricopa County Jail – inmates live in tents in the Arizona desert. During the summer of 2003, when outside temperatures exceeded 110 °F (43 °C), which is higher than average, Arpaio said to complaining inmates, “It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents, have to wear full body armor, and they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths.” Inmates were given permission to wear only their pink underwear.
  • Arpaio reinstituted chain gangs. In 1996, Arpaio expanded the chain gang concept by instituting female volunteer chain gangs. Female inmates work seven hours a day (7 a.m. to 2 p.m.), six days a week. He has also instituted the world’s first all-juvenile volunteer chain gang; volunteers earn high school credit toward a diploma.
  • One of Arpaio’s most visible public relations actions was the introduction of pink underwear to prevent inmates from stealing them upon their release from jail.
  • Arpaio began to serve inmates surplus food and limited meals to twice daily.
  • Joe banned inmates from possessing “sexually explicit material” including Playboy magazine after female officers complained that inmates openly masturbated while viewing them, or harassed the officers by comparing their anatomy to the nude photos in the publications. The ban was challenged on First Amendment grounds but upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • In February 2007, Arpaio instituted an in-house radio station he calls KJOE. Arpaio’s radio station broadcasts classical music, opera, Frank Sinatra hits, patriotic music and educational programming. It operates from the basement of the county jail for five days a week, four hours each day.

Elected in 1992, Arpaio has been re-elected with double digit margins ever since. Arizona has the lowest rate of recidivism in the country (24.5%).

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2 Responses to “Sheriff Joe Arpaio introduces pedal power TV”

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