Nearly two weeks after former gubernatorial candidate was denied bail, Joseph "Joe Exotic" Maldonado-Passage is speaking out.
Maldonado-Passage is currently being housed in the Grady County Jail, accused in a murder-for-hire plot.
“The quality of enrichment doesn’t match that of a chimp in a zoo under the United States Welfare Act,” Maldonado-Passage said.
Maldonado-Passage said the conditions in jails across the state are so deplorable he's calling on hopeful leaders of the state to do something about it.
“I’d like to challenge Mr. Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson to come to this cell and sit down with me, to talk about the prison reform we talked about in every debate,” Maldonado-Passage said.
As far as he's concerned, despite facing a charge for murder-for-hire, Maldonado-Passage said he shouldn’t be behind bars.
“I am supposed to be in this country, born, raised, innocent until proven guilty, and I have been stripped of my clothes, my rights, my identity, my dignity,” Maldonado-Passage said.
Maldonado Passage was recently denied bond because a federal judge believed he would harm himself.
“They denied me bond because they think I’m a danger to myself and I would kill myself before trial,” Maldonado-Passage said.
He said upon his arrival at the Grady County Jail he was placed on suicide watch--despite never being evaluated by a medical professional.
“Let me explain to you what suicide watch is. It's called, 'naked and afraid.' They strip you butt-naked and put you in a 6x8 concrete room with no windows, no blankets, no nothing, and I spent five days in there,” Maldonado-Passage said.
Maldonado-Passage said he's just counting down the days to his trial so he can tell his side of the story.
“All I can do is pray a jury of twelve people will see through this,” Maldonado-Passage said.