Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for housing inmates in old military tents, now is establishing chain gangs of drunken driving convicts wearing pink shirts and performing burials of people who died of alcohol abuse, reports the Associated Press. Arpaio wants the chain gang to act as a deterrent to potential drunken drivers.
Yesterday, 15 county jail inmates cleaned up a busy east city street while wearing the shirts, which say “Sheriff D.U.I. Chain Gang” on the back and “Clean(ing) and Sober” on the front. One inmate, calling the attire “a little embarrassing,” said, “I don’t like the color pink, but I can live with it.” Arizona had the sixth-highest number of alcohol-related fatalities in the nation last year at 585, up 15 percent from the previous year. In June, the state legislature passed one of the nation’s toughest DUI laws, requiring ignition-interlock devices for first-time offenders, increased fines, and providing a minimum of 45 days in jail for some DUI convictions.