Skip Navigation Links
Header Image
Tent City Jail
Location: (Map It)
2939 W. Durango Street
Phoenix, AZ 85009

Phone:
(602) 876-5551

The Tents Jail was begun in 1993 when Sheriff Joe Arpaio was able to obtain some surplus military tents. These tents were set up in an area adjacent to one of the existing Maricopa County Jails in Phoenix, Arizona. Sheriff Arpaio had previously decided that he would not release any inmates due to jail overcrowding, and housing sentenced inmates in the tents seemed a good solution. Funding for the project was minimal, and included the cost for cement necessary for base pads, secure fencing, and electric costs for heating, cooling and lights.

The Tents Jail can currently hold up to 2,126 inmates.

Sheriff Arpaio has added a few improvements at the Tents Jail, including four Sky Watch Towers for security, stun fences around the perimeter, and facial recognition computer software for inmate identification. K-9 units and patrol deputies have been added for additional security. The Classification Unit conducts background checks on inmates before they are housed in the tents, so that dangerous or predatory individuals are not placed there.

Scheduling tours: Group tours of the internationally famous Tents Jail can be scheduled in advance by calling: (602) 876-5551. Adults only (ages 18 and over. Please provide full names and dates of birth when calling to schedule the tour)

  • Tours will be conducted by Tents jail staff
  • Group size: up to 5 adults, no tour buses
  • Time and date availability to be determined by Tents Jail Administration
  • Dress standards apply. (Business casual is appropriate.)
  • Other guidelines/requirements may be established by Tents Jail Administration.
  • Groups wishing to purchase Sheriffs’ related items at Enforcement Support please contact (602) 876-1000 ask for a transfer to Enforcement Support to get prior approval.

Please see the "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) pages for more information about visitation hours/rules, regulation and rules about inmate mail, and other questions related to the Tents Jail.