Politics

Florida Inmates to Enjoy the Great Indoors

100,000 is one of those magic numbers. It's the summit of a classic Eighties game show. It's a milestone that reminds you to get that car tuned up. And if you're a state whose prison population has just reached that number, it means you're running out of room in the Big House, which in Florida's case means it's time to throw extra inmates into tents.

A camping we will go! A camping we... well... actually, there will be no campfires -- not unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong. Rather, the tents are a bit more like the one pictured below.



Mind you there won't be any noxious chemicals -- at least not on purpose. But come summer time, these will be sweat lodges. And by using tents to house inmates, Florida now has something in common with one of the nation's most infamous law enforcement ogres, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who rules with an iron fist over Phoenix's Maricopa County.

Florida's incarcerated hordes had better hope the comparisons end here. Arpaio's a big believer in humiliation therapy. On that basis, he's made inmates where pink underwear and steered them toward Coolhand Luke-style chain gangs. For a cautionary tale, watch the video below, showing Maricopa County inmates in striped jumpsuits making their way between prison tents and the chain gang. Is this the future of Florida justice?




-- Thomas Francis

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Thomas Francis