The Null Device
Arizona sherriff Joe Arpaio, who has won acclaim from law-and-order types and opprobrium from liberals by keeping prisoners in harsh conditions, is now bidding to add heiress, serial unlicensed hazardous driver and all-round waste of oxygen Paris Hilton to his chain gang:
"Instead of reducing for her sentence, which I feel is wrong, why not bring her over here? We can incarcerate her here. She can do her time over here."
Female inmates who are put on the chain gang work outside seven hours a day from early morning, six days a week in the desert surrounds.
The inmates wear traditional black-and-white striped uniforms and perform such tasks as creating fire breaks, removing trash, and even burial duty for vagrants.
Critics have condemned these housings, which can get blisteringly hot, as violations of human and constitutional rights.Apparently the Los Angeles County Sherriff, who is responsible for the incarceration of those sentenced to prison in LA, is considering the offer.
"The reps are very aggressive - there are three or four companies, and they come in every two weeks or so," he says. "Their main aim is to recommend their product. Sometimes they bring gifts - Nestlé brought me a big cake at new year. Some companies give things like pens and notebooks, with their brand name on them. They try very hard - even though they know I am not interested, that I always recommend breastfeeding, still they come."
According to Save the Children's report, infant mortality in Bangladesh alone could be cut by almost a third - saving the lives of 314 children every day - if breastfeeding rates were improved. Globally, the organisation believes, 3,800 lives could be saved each day. Given that world leaders are committed to cutting infant mortality by two thirds by 2015 as one of the Millennium Development Goals, protecting and promoting breastfeeding is almost certainly the biggest single thing that could be done to better child survival rates. But the formula companies, despite the international code, continue to undermine campaigners' efforts.