Check out the interview with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, done by my friends, Diane and Pat as part of their EPIC Journey, Babes of Wrath tour to highlight youth homelessness and poverty in the US.
Winding through the desert south west on what Diane Nilan and I have called our “Babes of Wrath” tour, we took a similar route to the one Steinbeck’s fictitious Joads traveled during the Great Depression. We’ve encountered homeless veterans, kids in jail, the famous & infamous of skid row, and homeless families not officially counted because they can afford a hotel room but not a permanent home.
For our return trip we’ve turned southeast. We’ve passed through a number of anti-fence jumping immigration check points. And because immigrants – documented or not – represent so many of the poor in this county we decided to drop into the office of “America’s Sheriff,” Joe Arpaio. Much like America’s cheeseburger – the Big Mac – he is much loved or much hated depending who’s doing the tasting.
We settled down in his office – a 19th floor shrine to both the beauty of the Phoenix landscape and to the iconic sheriff himself. The only thing more remarkable then the view outside the windows was the artifact collection inside them.
Nothing was off the table and I was allowed to ask whatever I wanted. I explained that I had come to discuss poverty and how it might affect the workings of his jail.