23rd Sept 04


Hoping my neighbours would increase their knowledge, I encouraged the young Chicanos to order some nonfiction books from the prison library. Diego received Twentieth Century – The History of the World and Scooby received Plato’s Republic. Last night, in the midst of their early morning mumbo jumbo, they began to discuss politics. Scooby’s cellmate, Manny, who only reads the Bible, tried to scupper the discussion. The following is a sample from last night’s dialogue:

“I’m telling ya homey, what Plato wrote about is exactly what’s happenin’ today,” Scooby said.
“Izzat right, ese? Diego said.
“The politicians give yer all kinds of bullshit to get elected,” Scooby said, “an’ then they just take care of their homies, you know, special interests.”
Homey here’s sounding all political 'cause he read that goddam Pluto [Plato] book!” Manny said.
“I ain’t political, ese!” Scooby said.
“Take no notice of Manny, ese!” Diego said. “He ain’t nuttin’ but a cheeto anyway.”
Orale, homey!” Scooby said.
“Arnold’s tryin’ to run for president, but they won’t let him because he wasn’t born in the US and his dad was a Nazi,” Diego said.
“Was Arnold ever in the military, ese?” Scooby asked.
“In da movies he fuckin’ was!” Manny said.
“Sssshhhhhh!” came a voice from the bottom run.
“Who said sssshhhhhh?” Manny said in a threatening way.
“Dunno, ese” Diego said.
“To whoever said sssshhhhh,” Manny yelled, “fuck all you old-timers down stairs!”
“Nah, he wasn’t in the military, ese, but he married a Kennedy,” Diego said.
“I thought dat ruca was a Shriver,” Scooby said.
“She is, but she’s also a Kennedy, homey, some Kennedy niece or some shit like dat. She’s nuttin nice, homey, she’s wearing the pants in that relationship,” Diego said.
“Izzat right, ese?” Scooby said.
“Scooby, why don’t you run for governor?” Manny said.
“It’s not in my future, ese,” Scooby said.
“”What about president of Mexico then?” Manny said.
“Fuck you, ese!” Scooby said.
“I think dat Bush is gunna get fucked at the election 'cause of the medical prescription bill,” Diego said. “Vatos can go to Mexico and buy the same pills so much cheaper, ese.
“I dunno,” Scooby said. “His dad is real powerful.”
“Yeah, cause he’s a CIA vato, homey,” Diego said.
“I’m surprised dat no ones tried to smoke Bush’s ass,” Scooby said.
Orale!” Diego said.
“Don’t presidents get shot all of the time, ese?" Scooby said.
“Those gabachos, Lincoln and Kennedy, got shot in the head, ese,” Diego said , “and two women tried to smoke Ford’s ass.”
“Wuzn’t it 'cause of Vietnam that they took Kennedy out?” Scooby asked.
“Yeah, those CIA vatos took him out, and they told the military vatos, ‘You can have your war now!’ Then they smoked Kennedy’s bro as well," Diego said.
“This country is no joke, ese!” Scooby said.
Orale, homey!” Diego said.

For Chicano prison slang translations see the blog two entries ago "Chicano Chat".

I am deeply moved by the avalanche of emails and comments that my parents have received from all over the world since the Guardian article. Thank you for taking the time to write. Your kind words have alleviated my suffering. Once upon a time, my dad could comfortably print out all of my emails and snail-mail them here to me in the States. I do not have access to a computer. I would then snail mail my responses back to my dad and he would email them to the original senders. Because of the recent huge response the system is presently kaput, so I am going to start addressing the questions you have put to me in emails via the blog. I would still like you to email writeinside@hotmail.com as my parents like to post your comments into the blog.

Jon’ is obviously a pseudonym, which needs to be used in the blog for continuity.

Thank you once again for the continued offers of gifts. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to receive gifts at the prison. I can receive letters, photographs and photocopies. I can receive magazine subscriptions directly from the magazine publishers and soft backed books directly from the publishers. Scott, your kind offer would be greatly appreciated. I am more interested in building relationships with people rather than receiving material items. The mail delivery is the highlight of the day for us inmates. I’m looking forward to hearing from more good people.
Appreciatively yours,


Anonymous said...

Hilarious blog! Your attempt to education the young Chicanos is very commendable, even if it encourages them to talk through the night keeping your fellow inmates awake.
blog fan

Anonymous said...

Wow, I hope you know what you have just done Shaun…Your blog is getting in excess of 250 hits a day; your new cell had better be nice and roomy and if the mail room boys don’t have strong backs, they sure will do soon :).

Pen and ink it is then. It has been a while since I wrote a “real” letter, but now I feel motivated to write something that might actually be worth reading.

Your blog has ensured that no matter what the hour there is always someone thinking of you. I hope that when things seem bleak you can draw strength from that.

I found a quote that was new to me. It made me think of you;

“Come what, come may,
Time and the hour runs through the darkest day”

(Shakespear, Macbeth)

Roll on parole.

Best regards,

Liz (Birmingham, UK)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to write to Jon. Please send me his address

>ps he got mentioned on my site at

Anonymous said...

I've been there. Released and I have moved on. I can relate to his words.
If it will help, I'll stay in touch


Mumbly Peg Goo said...

Jon is an inspiration to me in everything I do. What Jon has been put through in the name of justice is nothing short of a travesty of monumental proportions. Through all of these life changing events Jon's amazing spirit has continued as always to shine brightly through. I have been a friend of Jon's during his days as a stockbroker and after. Jon's situation could be a textbook with what's wrong with this legal system in this country. I am counting the days until my brother is released.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading on Bob Ayala's site about Sheriff Arpaio putting cameras in the women prisoners toilets and then selling the films to cable companies. What is happening to American society? I can't find words to express the disgust I feel at what he is being allowed to get away with in the name of law and order. Have all standards of decency gone and humanity gone?

Yours shocked and horrified

Anonymous said...

I visited "Jon" in Madison and appeared as a character witness for him and was very proud to do so. He is totally innocent of what he was accused of. When no evidence was available,the authorities used the justice system to deprive him of a trial. His only option was a plea bargain as this then resulted in a sentence. This meant he had a beginning (first incarcerated) a middle - time served and an end -release date. It does not make him guilty of anything but a strong desire to survive in a truly hostile environment. I am truly proud of your beloved nephew, one day the truth will be revealed - hopefully in a really No.1 bestseller written by YOU. Love you Sue