Grant Woods

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TED SIMONS: MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF SHUTS DOWN TENT CITY. AND WE'LL HEAR ABOUT EFFORTS TO INCREASE ACCESS TO JUSTICE TO ARIZONA AND A NEW WAY TO INCREASE PLANT YIELD EVEN IN TIMES OF DROUGHT. THAT'S NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING, WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZONS. I'M TED SIMONS. PAUL PENZONE ANNOUNCED HE'S CLOSING TENT CITY. HE MADE THE DECISION TO SHUT DOWN THE CONTROVERSIAL FACILITY BASED ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

PAUL PENZONE: I'M SHUTTING DOWN TENT CITY, THE FACILITY IS NOT A CRIME DETERRENT. IT IS NOT COST EFFICIENT. IT IS NOT TOUGH ON CRIMINALS. BUT MAY HAVE BEEN THE INTENT WHEN IT WAS FIRST OPENED AND THERE WAS A NEED. BUT THIS FACILITY BECAME MORE OF A CIRCUS ATMOSPHERE FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC. STARTING TODAY, THAT CIRCUS ENDS AND THESE TENTS COME DOWN. FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED, LET ME BE AS CRYSTAL CLEAR AS I CAN BE. I HAVE FIVE OTHER DETENTION CENTERS WITH PLENTY OF SPACE. NO INMATES ARE GOING FREE. IF YOU COMMIT A CRIME IN MARICOPA COUNTY, YOU'LL BE DETAINED IN OUR FACILITIES. WE THE HAVE THE ROOM.

TED SIMONS: PENZONE ADDS IT WILL TAKE MONTHS TO CLOSE DOWN THE TENTS. WITH THE DECISION TO CLOSE, ONE OF THE HALLMARKS IS ATTORNEY GENERAL GRANT WOODS WHO CHAIRED THE COMMITTEE WHO RECOMMENDED CLOSING TENT CITY. GOOD TO SEE YOU, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

GRANT WOODS: GOOD TO SEE YOU.

TED SIMONS: THE COMMITTEE SAID CLOSE IT DOWN. IT WAS UNANIMOUS, WAS IT NOT? WHY?

GRANT WOODS: IT DIDN'T REALLY MAKE SENSE ANYMORE ON ANY FRONT. I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE REASON IT CAME ABOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE PROBABLY WAS A DECENT REASON AND THAT WE HAD A BIG SURGE IN INMATE POPULATION IN 1993. WHO WAS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL THEN? TOUGH ON CRIME GUY.

TED SIMONS: YES.

GRANT WOODS: SO WE HAD TO LOOK THESE GUYS UP.

TED SIMONS: SURE YOU DID.

GRANT WOODS: AND NOW WE NEEDED BEDS IN THOSE DAYS AND THEY CAME ONE THE IDEA, WELL, WHAT ABOUT TENTS? AND TENTS HAVE BEEN USED SPARINGLY AROUND THE COUNTRY ON A TEMPORARY BASIS ONLY. OKAY. SO YOU CAN KIND OF SEE THAT. THOSE DAYS CAME AND WENT. IT BECAME MORE ABOUT THE PREVIOUS OCCUPANT OF THE OFFICE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. SO IF YOU LOOK AT IT, THE COSTS REMAINED THE SAME AT TENT CITY, REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY INMATES WERE THERE. BECAUSE IT JUST -- YOU GOT SO MUCH YOU HAVE TO SUPERVISE AND GUARD AND ALL OF THAT. SO ITS -- ITS PEAK, PROBABLY 1,700 PRISONERS. NOW IT HAS 700 OR 800. SO ABOUT HALF. AND YET THE COSTS ARE THE SAME. THERE'S ZERO EVIDENCE THAT IT'S TOUGH ON THESE CRIMINALS. THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO GO BACK. WE'RE GOING TO BE SO HARD ON THEM THEY WON'T WANT TO COME BACK. IT DOESN'T AFFECT RECIDIVISM. IT DOESN'T AFFECT DETERANCE, ZERO. IN FACT, THE MOST SURPRISING THING THAT WE FOUND WAS THAT WE GO TALK TO THE PRISONERS OUT THERE, I'M GOING TO TELL YOU IT'S PROBABLY ABOUT 100%. THEY'LL TELL US PLEASE DON'T CLOSE IT DOWN. WE LIKE IT, WE WANT TO BE HERE. THEY'D RATHER BE OUTDOORS, EVEN IF IT'S HOT OR COLD, THAN COOPED UP IN A LITTLE JAIL CELL. I CAN KIND OF UNDERSTAND THAT. THAT'S FINE BUT A, THEY DON'T GET TO VOTE AND B, IT'S TOTALLY AGAINST HOW IT WAS PORTRAYED FOR THE LAST, YOU KNOW, 23 YEARS.

TED SIMONS: ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE, WE HEAR ALL THE TIME PEOPLE SAYING THEY KNOW SOMEONE WHO DID A DUI STINT IN THERE OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES. OH, YOU NEVER WANT TO GO BACK THERE. THIS WAS THE WORST PLACE -- IT'S A REAL -- YOU'RE SAYING NO DETERRENCE?

GRANT WOODS: ZERO, YEAH. I THINK THOSE PEOPLE WOULD SAY THE SAME THING IF THEY WERE -- IF THEY WERE HELD IN A SMALL CELL WITH A ROOMMATE 23 HOURS OUT OF THE 24-HOUR DAY. THESE PRISONERS OUT THERE -- YOU ALSO HAVE TO REMEMBER, IN TALKING TO THEM, THEY GET TO -- LIKE THEY'LL SAY IN THE SUMMER, THEY HAVE DAY ROOMS OUT THERE. AND THEY GO IN THE DAY ROOM, IT'S AIR CONDITIONED. THEY CAN HANG OUT IN THERE. THEY DO HANG OUT IN THERE. THEY TAKE SHOWERS, COOL OFF, GO OUTSIDE FOR A WHILE AND THEY GO BACK IN. SO THIS WHOLE THING WAS REALLY, YOU KNOW, KIND OF HYPED, OVERHYPED.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS OTHER FACTORS, THE COSTS WAS -- OFFICER SAFETY WAS OBVIOUSLY LOOKED AT, WAS THAT LOOKED AT?

GRANT WOODS: I THINK OFFICER -- THE UTILIZATION OF OFFICERS FOR ONE THING. BECAUSE WITH TENT CITY, WE'VE SEEN JUST AN -- THEY HAVE AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF OVERTIME THEY HAVE TO DO OUT THERE. ONE OF THE SAVINGS THOSE OFFICERS WILL BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO THE OTHER FIVE FACILITIES. NOW THEY'RE ESTIMATING $4.5 MILLION THAT WILL BE SAVED ANNUALLY TO THE TAXPAYERS. OR THEY CAN USE THAT MONEY IN OTHER AREAS. AND AS FAR AS SAFETY, I THINK IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF SAFETY, BUT IT'S ALSO, YOU KNOW, THOSE GUYS HAVE THE FULL OUTFITS ON IN THE SUMMER. THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. SO THE PRISONER CAN SAY, YEAH, I DON'T MIND IT THAT MUCH, IT'S OKAY. THAT'S NOT FAIR TO THE OFFICERS EITHER NECESSARILY. SO I THINK IT'S -- I THINK IT'S A BENEFIT THERE.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE BOARD IS CONCERNED UNANIMOUS TO CLOSE IT. WERE ANY -- ANY OPTIONS, ANY IDEAS BROUGHT UP AND, HEY, MAYBE WE SHOULD MAYBE SLOW IT DOWN? PHASE IT OUT? SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES AS OPPOSED TO SHIUTTING IT DOWN.

GRANT WOODS: YEAH, WE TALKED ABOUT THAT. I TELL YOU WHY WE TALKED ABOUT IT IS BECAUSE -- WELL, FIRST, THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE ON THE BOARD, SEVERAL PEOPLE, WHO IN THE PAST HAVE BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF THE CONCEPT OF TENT CITY. BEING TOUGH ON CRIMINALS. I THINK I WAS PLENTY TOUGH ON CRIMINALS WHEN I WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL. AFTER WE ALL TOURED AND SOME WENT OUT INDIVIDUALLY, I WENT OUT INDIVIDUALLY AND HEARD FROM THE INMATES AND THEY WERE BEGGING US NOT TO CLOSE IT, PEOPLE TRIED TO REASSESS A LITTLE BIT. IT WAS A WEIRD DYNAMIC BECAUSE IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN, HEY, THIS IS INHUMANE, IT'S CRUEL. AND UNUSUAL, THEN WE WOULD HAVE SAID, WELL, YOU HAVE TO CLOSE IT. WELL NOW IT'S LIKE -- IT'S NOT HOW IT'S PORTRAYED. BUT IT REALLY WASN'T LIKE THAT. NOW WHAT DO YOU DO? WE LOOK AT ALL OF THE FINANCES, THE, WHETHER IT SERVES ANY PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICE, IT DOESN'T, AND THE IMAGE OF ARIZONA. WE HAD EXPERTS COME IN FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY AND TOLD US IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, ARIZONA HAS AN IMAGE BECAUSE OF TENT CITY ONLY IN THE CORRECTIONS COMMUNITY AS A REAL PARIAH, THIS IS A JOKE. NOBODY DOES THIS. YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE -- HOW MANY JURISDICTIONS HAVE TO DEAL WITH JAILS AND -- EVERY PLACE THERE'S PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE TENTS? ZERO, EXCEPT FOR US. SO THAT TELLS YOU SOMETHING. SO THIS IMAGE THAT WE ARE INHUMANE, THAT WE WILL DO ANYTHING TO PUNISH PEOPLE, THAT'S NOT A GREAT IMAGE. YOU CAN BE TOUGH ON CRIME AND STILL RETAIN YOUR HUMANITY. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SINK DOWN TO THE CRIMINALS' LEVEL.

TED SIMONS: THE IDEA, WE'LL HEAR FROM ARPAO SUPPORTERS, I'M SURE, SAYING THE ONLY REASON THIS PLACE IS GETTING SHUT DOWN IS TO GET BACK AT JOE ARPAO. TO GET RID OF ANY TRACE OF SHERIFF JOE ARPAO. ANY RETRIBUTION, ANYTHING ALONG THOSE LINES LIKE WHATEVER HE LIKES, WE DON'T?

GRANT WOODS: NO, I THINK THE SHERIFF PINZONE HAS BEEN REMARKABLE TO ME IN WATCHING HIM TO BE POLITICS FREE. HE'S -- HE'S DOING WHAT HE THINKS NEEDS TO BE DONE. AND THE CHIPS WILL FALL WHERE THEY MAY. HE COULD BE DOING A LOT OF THINGS POLITICAL. AND YOU HAVEN'T SEEN HIM DO ANYTHING POLITICAL. HE'S JUST DOING HIS JOB HERE. SHOULDN'T BE COMING AS A BIG SURPRISE TO SAY I'M NOT GOING TO WASTE MONEY ON THAT ANYMORE. MAYBE IT WILL MAKE ME LOOK GOOD, I'M NOT GOING TO. IF ARE THINGS THAT ARPAO DID THAT WILL WORK AND WILL INCREASE OUR PUBLIC SAFETY, GREAT. HE'LL TRY TO KEEP THEM GOING AND IMPROVE UPON THEM. EVERYTHING ELSE IS GOING TO GO. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS. IT HAS TO DO WITH A NEW FRESH FACE COMING IN. AND IN 2017 AND SAYING LET'S DO BETTER.

TED SIMONS: THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMUNITY KIND OF REFERRED TO THIS EARLIER AROUND THE COUNTRY. HOW DID THEY SEE JOE ARPAO?

GRANT WOODS: NOT WELL.
TED SIMONS: HE'S 50-50, 70-30?
GRANT WOODS: 90-10. 95-5

TED SIMONS: THAT MUCH?

GRANT WOODS: YES, THESE ARE PROFESSIONALS. THEY TAKE THEMSELVES SERIOUSLY. IF YOU TALK TO POLICE OFFICERS, ASK THEM WHAT THEY THOUGHT OFF OF THE RECORD. YOU SEE THIS IS THEIR JOB. OKAY? IT'S LIKE YOU'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR A WHILE. YOU TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY AND IT'S A GREAT JOB AND IT'S A GREAT PUBLIC SERVICE. THEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE WHO IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM, NOT INTERESTED IN SUBSTANCE OR GETTING THE JOB DONE, IT'S INTERESTED IN BEING A MEGALOMANIAC. YOU DON'T APPRECIATE IT. IT BRINGS EVERYBODY DOWN. IN THE CORRECTIONS WORLD, NO, HE WAS LOOKED UPON VERY POORLY. HE HAD A FOLLOWING HERE. IT WAS A STRONG FOLLOWING BUT HE LET IT SLIP AWAY BECAUSE IT BECAME TOO MUCH ABOUT HIM AND NOT ENOUGH ABOUT THE TAXPAYER AND PUBLIC SAFETY. THAT'S WHAT THIS SHERIFF CARES ABOUT. THE TAXPAYER AND PUBLIC SAFETY. THE REST THE CHIPS WILL FALL WHERE THEY MAY.

TED SIMONS: THE ANNOUNCEMENT CAME ON THE ASSASSINATION DATE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING. ANY COINCIDENCE THERE?

GRANT WOODS: I THINK IT'S A COINCIDENCE. IT'S A GOOD MESSAGE THAT SOMETHING I'VE FELT STRONGLY ABOUT AND TRIED TO PROMOTE MY ENTIRE PUBLIC LIFE AND PRIVATE LIFE HERE. THAT IS ARIZONA CAN BE A LEADER IN CIVIL RIGHTS. WE SHOULD BE A LEADER IN CIVIL RIGHTS. AND SOMETIMES WE HAVE BEEN A LEADER IN CIVIL RIGHTS. WE ARE NOT SOME BACK WATER PLACE. WE ARE NOT A RACIST OR BIGOTED PLACE. WE'RE NOT A PLACE THAT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. WE'RE BETTER THAN THAT. WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN BETTER THAN THAT. WE HAVE TO SHOW THE WORLD WE'RE BETTER THAN THAT.

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. APPRECIATE IT. COMING UP, WE'LL HEAR HOW BACTERIA CAN HELP PLANT GROWTH IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS.

Grant Woods, Former attorney General of Arizona

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