PHOENIX—Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, made the following comment regarding Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone's announcement today that he plans to shut the Tent City jail facility:

“Closing this facility is a good step forward for Maricopa County’s jail system, but there’s still work to do. Maricopa County’s jails are plagued by the mistreatment of pre-trial detainees and remain under federal court oversight because of the ongoing abuse of people with mental health problems. Maricopa County should use its savings from closing Tent City to improve care for mentally ill detainees, as well as invest in programs and services that treat the root causes of crime, like drug and mental health diversion programs, increased access to mental health care, and job training and education.”