(CNN) — A diet of bread and water is the punishment for dozens of Arizona inmates who allegedly defaced American flags placed in their jail cells.
The 38 male inmates are part of the Maricopa County jail system, which is under the control of controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio.
For their alleged unpatriotic acts, the sheriff said Thursday, they’ll survive on bread and water for seven days.
“These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells,” Arpaio said. “Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It’s a disgrace … this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way.”
The flags are part of a push for patriotism in county jail cells that includes listening to the “Star-Spangled Banner” every morning and “God Bless America” every night over the intercom system.
Arpaio implemented the American flag jailhouse initiative in November.