Hundreds of MCSO inmates transported between jails

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PHOENIX -- A large increase in the inmate population led the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to transport more than 770 inmates between jails on Thursday.

Inmates were handcuffed, chained, and escorted by MCSO personnel as they walked more than 300 yards from the Lower Buckeye Jail to the Towers Jail.

In the last few months, the MCSO’s average daily inmate population has jumped from 7,200 to 8,200.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio decided that an inmate housing reorganization was in order to make better use of jail space by using the different classification levels of jail inmates more efficiently.

“Because our jail population is always changing, we often must reassess how and where we house inmates to ensure their safety,” said Towers Jail Commander Captain Irene Baron-Irby. “Sheriff Arpaio demands that we do what is necessary to safely create more room without the possibility of releasing criminals early.”

Thursday’s reorganization of inmates will help resolve the issue of overcrowding, but MCSO officials expect the inmate population to continue to rise.

Sheriff Arpaio recently installed a new jail transport program that aims to keep more deputy sheriffs on the street instead of driving those they arrest to jail and waiting to process them into the facility.

Over the last two months, the program has helped double the number of bookings completed by the MCSO.