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British Reporter Lived Life On A Female Chain Gang In The Blazing Arizona Desert
Up at 5am and dressed in prison stripes, they march to order and labour in temperatures of 40°C. Nigel Farndale meets members of the world’s only female chain gang – the pride of ‘America’s toughest lawman’
Until I watch the prisoners line up alongside the chains laid out on the ground, I have half imagined that the term ‘chain gang’ is being used in a loose and euphemistic way.
But no. They are wearing heavy-duty work boots and, as the chains are padlocked around their ankles, they raise their left legs up behind them, bending at the knees like well-trained horses obliging a farrier.
What makes this scene even more disturbing is the sex of the prisoners. They are all women.
This is Arizona, America’s most draconian state. It is also its hottest, averaging around 40°C in the summer, which makes the concept of hard labour outdoors seem all the more cruel.
Although it is 5am and dark, already the heat of this August day is apparent. On a command from Officer Houston – a strong-looking female prison guard who, even without the gun in her holster, you wouldn’t want to mess with – the prisoners begin stomping their right boots, marking time.
After half a minute comes the order to march and, with a stomp of the right boot, followed by a drag of the left, they set off through the corridors of the Estrella Jail, Phoenix. Stomp. Drag. Stomp. Drag.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/step-into-the-worlds-only-female-chain-gang–right-here-in-america-2012-11#ixzz2DXDk0Ikv
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