A sheriff known for housing inmates in old military tents has a new idea—a chain gang of drunken driving convicts wearing pink shirts and performing burials of people who died of alcohol abuse.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he wants the chain gang to act as a deterrent to potential drunken drivers. He has already used the color pink on inmates—he issued them pink underwear.
"Maybe this will warn people — knock it off, don't drink and drive," Arpaio said. "You'll end up in pink underwear on the chain gang." [DUI Inmates Don Pink in Ariz. Chain Gang, Google AP, December 12, 2007]
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has become acclaimed for his tough but fair treatment of illegal alien prisoners in his charge. (See Let a Thousand Arpaiovilles Bloom.)
Incidentally, those pink underwear items are becoming popular. A man was recently arrested for stealing some boxers upon his release from jail: Inmate admits stealing jail's pink underwear, 3TV, November 29, 2007.
The sheriff says it would have been easier to just buy them.
"This is a famous color all over the world," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "It's in pubs in England and museums. We sell thousands and thousands of this, legitimately, to the public. The money goes to the posse."
Ironically, the sheriff decided to dye the underwear a conspicuous pink after inmates kept stealing the plain white ones with "MCSO" stamped on the seat.