Teens go to jail as part of a new MCSO summer camp program

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's an unusual summer camp that's giving youngsters a hard look at some gritty behind-bars reality.

"Let them get a taste of what it's like to be in the tents," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Joe already has the T.O.U.G.H. Tents and S.T.A.R.S. programs, but now he has a new program for kids that is all about the fundamental principles of prevention.

"To stay away from drugs and alcohol and peer pressure is critical, and to teach them to obey their parents and teachers," said Sheriff Arpaio.

Nearly 60 kids took part in the 2-day program, spending most of the day inside classrooms with deputies learning about everything from CPR to online safety, and also getting a chance to see what deputies do every day. And at night they got the true jail experience, living just like the inmates do in Sheriff Joe’s Tent City.

"I think you need to show tough love to your kids if you love them. They know why they were here and they know I love them," said mom Angelica Dejolie.

Dejolie is a single mother of four who was at the end of her rope and didn't know what to do.

"A lot of stuff is over my head and I needed some positive discipline and this just came along at the right time," said Dejolie.

Her kids were not happy about their mom’s choice for summer camp.

"I was mad and scared I had seen jails on like TV and I didn’t want to go there. When we got to Tent City, it was big with lots of fences and barbed wire," said Holleli Dejolie.

"I didn't really want to go. I thought we would be sleeping inside the prison, not out in the tents," said Elijah Dejolie.

“I hope they would learn respect for me and appreciation for the things they have and respect for each other so we can work as a better family unit," said Dejolie.

The sheriff’s department will host another round of summer camp in July. If you would like to sign up your child, call 602-876-1685 to register them.

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