Tent City became known for its bad food, scorching summer days, and frigid winter nights.
Critics said the complex was a way for Arpaio to garner media attention and contributed to a culture of cruelty within his jails.
But it also cast a dark mark on Phoenix and attracted criticism from civil rights groups who called Arpaio's methods needlessly harsh.
The 84-year-old Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff last November. "Once you get those tents down, you will never get them up again because the city of Phoenix has to issue a permit-Do you think the city will issue a permit when half of the city council hates the tents?"
There's a new sheriff in town. He said there was no data to show that the facility deterred crime.
Arpaio promised voters to use surplus military tents as an outdoor detention center, when he first ran for office in 1992. But this facility became more of a circus atmosphere for the general public.
"Today, the circus ends, and the tents come down", said Sheriff Penzone, during the news conference.
"In part because it got them out of the prison - it was more fresh air - more freedom of movement, freedom of communication when you're out in the tent yard area - so the inmates didn't see this as punitive at all - they saw them as actually an opportunity", Hepburn said. The facility, which was created to solve the overpopulation occurring in the county's jails, was supposed to house up to 2,100 inmates at a time.
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A number of members on the review committee, including Woods, were present at the news conference. Temperatures often soared north of 110 degrees Fahrenheit, while Arpaio forced the inmates to wear pink outfits and eat disgusting meals.
The cost relates to the decline in inmates at Tent City in recent years.
The sheriff said the safety of the community and his officers is his priority.
"This facility is not a crime deterrent". Arpaio told inmates to quit complaining about the heat. "Not mine. I'm not going to second-guess him", he said. Officially known as the Tents Jail, the canvas compound with 2,000 beds was split into the "In-Tents Jail" and the "Con-Tents Jail", with In-Tents designated for sentenced convicts doing straight time and Con-Tents for inmates who were on work release or work furlough.
Arpaio posted a neon "vacancy" sign on an observation tower and another sign that said more than 500,000 people had spent time in the tents. "We have the room".
Ultimately, though, it wasn't the conditions that led them to shut down Tent City. New criminal justice practices - like relying on house arrest and deferment programs - cut into the incarceration rates in Maricopa County. But he was voted out of office a year ago. The operating costs for the facility remained the same, no matter the inmate count.
"Economically, it's a problem now", said Woods.
Authorities hope shuttering Tent City will serve as a step toward rebranding their county and state.