“Evil is knowing better, but willingly doing worse.”
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office is proud to present “Mug Shot of the Day”. They relish the idea of spending .15 cents on each meal they provide to the nearly 2000 people living in tents located in near down town in Phoenix, Arizona. They boast of the chain gangs and acknowledge pride in creating the first ever chain gang made up of women inmates. On their web site, the Sheriff’s office is pleased that they have over 1 million spectators per day viewing the website and the Mug Shots. Spectators can vote on a winner, which becomes the “Mug Shot” of the Day.
A gem is small tintype image, around an inch in size, used in the 19th century. Historically the gem was less expensive making it more accessible to purchase. They were made using a camera with special lenses, which created a plate with several images. Gems were used the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln. They were often put into broaches or hairpins making them precious to the individual who had one.
The “Gems” you are looking at, in many ways, are a record of individuals who find themselves in the hands of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. Each gem is an attempt to recognize the value in every person worthy of basic human rights, regardless of who they are and the severity of the alleged crime. They are a representation of the three hundred people arrested every day in Maricopa County.