People Will Either Love or Hate the Punishment Sheriff Arpaio Is Dishing Out to Inmates Who Desecrate the American Flag

Outspoken Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he’s put 38 inmates on a diet of “bread and water” after they desecrated the American flags recently put inside jail cells.

As NBC News reports, the “regimen actually is a baked loaf of ground-up fruits, vegetables, milk powder, dough and other ingredients and, though it fulfills nutritional requirements, is decidedly unappetizing.”

Arpaio says he runs a “patriotic jail system” and any inmate who decides to destroy an American flag will find himself on the same diet — without utensils — for two weeks.

FILE – This March 1, 2012 file photo shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking at a news conference in Phoenix. A federal judge. Credit: AP

“I am somewhat disappointed that 38 inmates recently desecrated the flags, tearing them up and writing on them and throwing them in the toilet,” he said.

Preemptively defending the policy from criticism, the sheriff said it is not a “First Amendment situation” because when inmates “tamper with the flag, they are tampering with government property.” It’s unclear why inmates are destroying the American flags, though Arpaio said there doesn’t appear to be “any conspiracy.”

The Arizona American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) declined to comment on Arpaio’s new flag policy or punishment system.