Maricopa County's Infamous Tent City Jail Officially Closes

Oct 10, 2017

Maricopa County's infamous outdoor jail has been officially shut down.

Maricopa County's infamous Tent City jail
Credit Charlie Riedel/AP

The Arizona Republic reports that Tent City's remaining inmates were taken from the 7-acre compound in southwest Phoenix late Saturday and checked into the county's Durango Jail a few blocks away.

County Sheriff Paul Penzone announced in April that he was closing the complex of jail tents that helped make his predecessor, Joe Arpaio, a national law enforcement figure.

Arpaio opened Tent City in August 1993 as a way of easing jail overcrowding.

The barbed-wire-surrounded compound was part of a broader campaign by Arpaio to enact get-tough measures in his jails such as banning cigarettes, creating inmate chain gangs and dressing them in old-time striped prison uniforms.

Closing Tent City reportedly will save the county about $4.5 million annually.