Inmates endure extreme heat in Tent City

Hundreds of inmates are enduring record setting heat at Sheriff Joe's 'Tent City.'

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Hundreds of inmates are enduring the record heat in Tent City, serving time inside military-style tents.

On Monday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio stopped by to pass out icy pink towels and give the inmates a little extra motivation.

It was a scorching 116 degrees outside, with inmates paying their dues under sweltering tarps.

"I only slept for about an hour," one inmate said. "I woke up sweaty; my whole body. I had to take off my shirt and I was just drenched in sweat."

That's because the temperature inside the tents was 129 degrees. And Sheriff Arpaio has no pity.

"I've done it twice, so stop complaining," he said. "If I can do it, these guys can do it."

But sure enough, the complaints came in.

One inmate noticed the Gatorade expired three years ago.

"So what?" was Arpaio's response.

He was then asked if there was anything wrong with giving out expired Gatorade.

"It's free; it's donated," he said before taking a long draw of the orange liquid. "[It's] great, would you like some?"

On this, the first official day of summer, the sheriff vowed to keep heat-related incidents at zero.

He also had one final reminder: It's not just the 800 inmates suffering in the sun.

"How come nobody feels sorry for my lieutenant here with long sleeves and all that? He's out here every day," Arpaio said.

The self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America" says that if troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan can live in these types of conditions -- in triple-digit heat -- so can people who break the law.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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