The 'G' on the mountainside means you're in Globe, Ariz.The 'G' on the mountainside means you're in Globe, Ariz.

The ‘G’ on the mountainside means you’re in Globe, Ariz.

Earlier this month, I described my trip to Globe, Ariz., to cover a story. That day, I promised some photos from my trip east. Today, I offer the images. They include my tours of the historic courthouse and jail that are noteworthy elements of a historic mining downtown.

Have a terrific—and historically legal—weekend.

Click a photo to enlarge and see it in a slideshow.

 

Restored cell, Maricopa County Courthouse

former jail cellblock may not sound like the most promising venue for an education center. But a place that had taught a wealth of lessons based on hard knocks got a new lease on life May 31.

That’s the day that the Justice Museum and Learning Center opened in the old Maricopa County Court building. As the court reports:

“The project features a restored cellblock located on the sixth floor of Maricopa County’s historic old courthouse. This project is the result of the hard work of many judicial officers, attorneys, court administrators and community partners. In 2010, Maricopa County Museum and Justice Learning Center Foundation was formed to oversee the construction and opening of the Museum. Through the efforts of the Foundation, more than $100,000 was raised to fund construction and renovation costs. Also, American Express made a generous $50,000 corporate donation.”

I’m especially pleased to see the transformation. Years ago, I accompanied our photographer and author—my former colleague Leslie Ross—as she shot the top floor of the courthouse. We had a week to do that, before the vintage jail cells were ripped out for a planned office suite. I’m happy to see that some of the vintage cells survived to educate another day.

You can see our Arizona Attorney Magazine story from 2002 here.

And here are some photos from the May 31 ribbon-cutting, courtesy of the Superior Court.

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Tent City jail (Deirdre Hamill/The Arizona Republic)

I had written on another topic today, but it suddenly came to my attention that a longtime neighbor has a birthday today. So I’ve set aside my first idea to commemorate the occasion.

I would hesitate to call it celebratory, but many others would disagree with me. In fact, an actual celebration is planned by the birthday boy’s father, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He is pleased to raise a toast to the 18th birthday of his own Tent City jail.

18. It’s hard to believe. Barely yesterday, it seems, the little-jail-that-could was toddling about, all heat-stroke-and-ice-chips-and-pink-underwear. Now, it’s nearly a strapping adult. Law-and-order folks may even tear up.

Today’s Arizona Republic has a good article on the anniversary. Written by JJ Hensley, it examines what Tent City stands for and how it has weathered controversy.

I say weathered on purpose, of course. So as we pass through increasingly steamy summers, one wonders when enough is enough. We recall a photo of the sheriff squinting at a handheld thermometer, trying to gauge the temperature inside the tents. But we hardly know why he bothers, because really, how hot is too hot for him? He’s said recently that 145 degrees is just fine.

As I started reading today’s story, I was ready for a cringeworthy article that praises with faint damn—one that throws a few tut-tuts the sheriff’s way, but otherwise revels in the human circus created by a county official.

But the article avoids that tone. Instead, it’s a balanced piece that provides quotes from detractors, like lawyer Mike Manning, and from quasi-supporters, like an inmate who chooses Tent City over the traditional brick-and-mortar cell because it allows him to work outside the compound during the day.

The sheriff checks the temperature.

Kind of like the car dealer who combines something you need—like air-conditioning—with something you don’t—like undercoating. I guess I’ll take the undercoating.

Tent City, like all cultural icons, has grown up to stand for more than it is, which is canvas and dirt. As the article says:

In many ways, the compound is the ultimate reflection of Arpaio, the controversial five-term county sheriff who is often accused of valuing publicity more than prudent law-enforcement policy. Tent City was a fresh idea when first proposed, bringing with it a combination of austerity and retribution that appealed to Arpaio’s supporters. It has since survived riots, inmate deaths, lawsuits and legal challenges as it has come to epitomize Arpaio.

The sheriff promises a celebration of sorts today. Inmates will likely participate, especially if the event is combined with a Popsicle and some relief from the heat, however brief.

More photos of Tent City are here.

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I would like to tell you that when I read a news story about rancid meat and jails, I did not immediately think of Arizona.

Of course, I have a commitment to honesty to readers, so I cannot do that.

But as I scanned this story out of New York City, I did find reason—small—to cheer. But first, the story.

I have never visited the jail at Rikers Island, but I have watched a lot of Law & Orders, so I can’t say I was surprised when I saw that facility connected to 65,000 pounds of spoiled meat.

As the story says, jail officials realized that the refrigeration had been off for days. So the contents were “off” too. But at least one of the leaders thought the problem could be solved with some spices.

(Hint to the wise: Do NOT search Google for “Rikers Island meat.”)

How many of us immediately think of the Seinfeld episode where a character remembers with horror his hubris as a young Army cook? Thinking he could salvage meat that was turning, he spiced and spiced—and made his entire unit sick.

Apparently, he has a future in corrections kitchens.

And of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s green bologna came to mind too. Because serving past-its-prime meat to jail inmates is not just something that happens in the Bronx. They have a lot to learn from the Grand Canyon State and Maricopa County.

Enough of that. I had promised you news that cheered me. Well, here it is:

In 115 comments that followed the story, not one—NOT ONE!—mentions Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s notorious bologna.

In what passes for progress in Arizona’s national reputation, that fact cheers me.

And on an even more more uplifting note, I steer you toward another story, this one about the bread-baking inmates at Rikers.

As the article opens:

“Each morning, and again in the afternoon, the blades of three bread-slicing machines are counted carefully. Only then does the bakery let workers go home — to their jail cells on Rikers Island.

“Twenty inmates at one of the largest jail complexes in the United States are part of a team that bakes 36,000 loaves of bread a week to feed the city’s entire prison population — about 13,000 people. Employees in orange-and-white-striped jumpsuits and surgical caps earn $31 a week churning out whole-wheat bread. There’s not an apron in sight.”

Freshly made bread leaves the oven along a conveyer belt at the Rikers Island bakery. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

Skip the protein, stick to the carbs.