PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The Maricopa County Sheriff, Paul Penzone, is making good on his promise to close Tent City, with many of the inmates having already been moved. On Wednesday, reporters were shown around Tent City, as the tents come down.
"It's about effectiveness, so we can run a fundamentally sound and safe facility that is not a burden to the taxpayers, where law suits mitigated, and where most important, safety of staff is a priority." said Penzone.
On April 25, MCSO moved all 90 female inmates from the "O" Yard to the Estrella jail. According to Detention Chief Tracy Haggard, the move happened without any incident, in less than 45 minutes. On the following day, 300 male inmates were reportedly moved to the Durango Jail. After that, the tents started to come down.
Fans and lights from Tent City have already been sold at auction, and the steel frames will soon be auctioned off as well. The canvas tents, which were donated by the Department of Defense, will go into storage.
As for the future of the land that was Tent City, Penzone said that's up in the air. Penzone said it could become the new home of MCSO's Animal Save Haven unit (MASH), or it could be home to new programs that help rehabilitate inmates.
"Whatever we chose to do with this property with this area, it should be for the best interest of the community," said Penzone. "It should be something that is extremely efficient financially, and it should be a focus on how do we take those who are detained and put them in a position to curb their behavior, so that when they return to the general population of our community, they become productive."