Inmates calls MCSO 'bread & water' cruel and unusual

Posted: Updated:
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Source: CBS 5 News) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Source: CBS 5 News)

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is taking some heat for what some inmates say is cruel and unusual punishment.

"Anybody that defaces the flag goes on bread and water. We have 38 [inmates] already that's now on bread and water," Arpaio explained.

The bread has a hard, bread-like outer shell and something that can only be described as mush on the inside. It's packed with 2,800 calories, yet has all the federally-required nutrients he says.

"It's bread with a little stuff thrown in there," Arpaio added.

But former inmate Timothy Visnosky, on bond right now for charges of aggravated assault, says it's not fitting for human consumption. He was on the twice-daily bread and water diet while in solitary confinement.

"[The bread is]...Something I wouldn't feed an animal," Visnosky says. "I felt malnourished. I had hunger pains. I felt dizzy from not eating. I was losing weight. Basically, I felt like this was cruel and unusual punishment," Visnosky said.

That diet/punishment was all because he says corrections officers accused him of damaging the 5X7 American flag sticker found in every cell.

Visnosky denies that he did anything to "sticker" in his cell. "When they put me into that cell it was already damaged. Well it wasn't really damaged it was vertical, up and down."

Visnosky says he fixed it but was given the "disgusting" diet anyway.

"He has defacing in the past, assault. Do you want me to go on and on? You think I'm gonna take his word above my professional officers," Arpaio asked?

We asked if the "bread and water" diet was a fair punishment, considering it's regarding a "sticker." "I run a patriotic jail. We have "God Bless America" and the national anthem every day," Arpaio responded.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.