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Maricopa Sheriff Penzone to shut down Tent City after decades of operation

Posted at 2:44 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-04 20:43:42-04

After more than 20 years, Tent City is closing its doors under the Sheriff Paul Penzone administration. 

On Tuesday, Sheriff Penzone announced the controversial jail, established by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 1993, would be shut down after it became a "circus atmosphere." 

Penzone said the closure would save taxpayers $4.5 million. Recommendations were made to the sheriff's office by various organizations. 

Penzone said the decision was the "right" one to make and stands by it. He said there was no data to show that it deterred crime. 

Officials said Tent City was created as "quick and inexpensive beds" for inmates. With its closure, the prisoners at Tent City will be moved to other MCSO jails. 

Staff members will be put to "better use."