What Is Tent City like in Maricopa County Jail?

Tent City Joe Arpaio

Tent City Joe Arpaio

A prison or jail sentence is never pleasant. Maricopa County’s Tent City is often known to take things to the extremes.

This infamous Maricopa County jail is known for making its inmates wear pink underwear, eat meatless meals and serve their time outside in the sweltering desert heat.

What is Tent City like?

From firsthand accounts to journalistic sources, each answer reveals that Tent City is not a fun place to find yourself.

If you have been sentenced to time at Tent City, take the fear of the unknown out of the equation and educate yourself in advance about Maricopa County's well-known jail.

What to Expect At Tent City

First off, you might be wondering who gets sent to Tent City in the first place.

Tent City is a jail in Phoenix where more than 2,000 inmates inhabit an open-air jail comprised of repurposed military tents.

The jail is meant to serve as a symbol of sorts by highlighting the jail's tough stance on crime.

The living conditions, meatless menu and uniforms were the brainchild of the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America", Joe Arpaio.

At Tent City, inmates are given two meals a day, which they must personally pay for out of their pocket.

The inmates wear pink underwear, by force if necessary.

Sheriff Arpaio himself describes the paltry conditions as a cost-saving measure.

Given these conditions that many activist and legal groups consider woefully inhumane, the prison has found itself on the losing side of several court battles.

For now, however, the harsh conditions remain.

Many believe Tent City is one of the worst jails in America.

It’s definitely not a place you want to visit. If you have been sentenced to serve time in Tent City for a DUI or other conviction, here are the key tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do not report to jail on an empty stomach. You will be in a holding cell for nearly 24 hours when you leave and exit Tent City. While you have no control over how hungry you are when you leave, you can at least make sure you are well fed upon entering.

  2. Wear layers. Despite the jail's reputation for being a deathtrap of heat. The flipside of extreme desert heat is that nights may get exceptionally cold, so be sure to dress in layers to add or remove as needed.

  3. Be prepared for what you cannot control. The food is terrible Do not expect to find friendly inmates. They are as miserable as you will be, given the awful conditions. Stay quiet and be respectful of the officers, remaining focused on serving your sentence and getting out of there. Bring a book to keep your mind occupied.

  4. Have the correct paperwork, particularly if you have been granted work release. Improper paperwork can send you to the wrong part of Tent City. Rest assured, all of Tent City is no picnic, but you would much rather be in the Work Release section of Tent City if you have been granted Work Release. Poorly filled out forms only complicate and worsen your time at Tent City.

Of course, all of these conditions are best avoided by working with a trusted Phoenix criminal defense lawyer who will do everything possible to keep you out of Tent City.

Here at Tyler Allen Law Firm we are prepared to do just that.

Contact us online or give us a call today at (602)456-0545. We offer flat fees and a free consultation for most cases.