PHOENIX -- Thirty-eight inmates in Maricopa County jails have been placed on bread and water diets for defacing American flags, according to a press release from Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office.
"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells," Arpaio said in a statement. "Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It’s a disgrace to those who have fought for our country.
“Besides," he continued, "this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way."
Arpaio has placed significant focus on veterans during his tenure, the statement said. Last month, Arpaio announced he would segregate inmate-veterans into their own jail and create new programs to provide them assistance.
Additionally, the national anthem and "God Bless America" are played over the prison P.A. systems each day, according to the statement. Over 600 employees of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have served in the military, including 80 detention officers hired in the last year.