22 June 05

An English Test

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
20 June 05

Violence Inside

Richard asked about prison violence, if I have to watch my step constantly, and whether I put a brave face on things.

When the cell doors are open it is essential to be aware of the surroundings. Fights can erupt at any time, and often over silly things. I’ve seen arguments over fruit, cups of Kool-Aid, candy bars and even over which TV station to watch escalate into bloodshed. Besides the random violence there is also extortion, but the most serious violence seems to occur when people run up drug debts that they are unable to pay. Riots seldom happen, but when they do people can get killed.

I think that inmates constantly watch their steps, but even trying to mind your own business doesn’t always work. Diplomacy works to an extent, but you have to be tough enough to say no to people trying to take advantage of you without being disrespectful, which may lead to further problems.

This unit seems mellow in comparison to the one next to us, Buckley. At Buckley, a high-medium facility, alarms are often going off, shots being fired, and inmates can be seen getting marched to the rec field at gunpoint where loudspeakers order them to lie face down on the ground. Sometimes our guards dash over to Buckley with extra shotguns and rifles. The shankings, murders and the incident of someone recently getting stabbed in the neck whilst in the chow line have earned Buckley the title of "The new gladiator school" by the inmates here.


Thanks for the question, Richard.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
18 June 05

Advice


Click here if you would like to see Rick’s prison diary

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
16 June 05

Druid’s Birthday Card


Druid, who has just turned sixty-eight, looks like a shaggy-faced and toothless Sean Connery. He claims to be a native of the Isle of Man, (a small independent island off the north west coast of England).

For Druid’s birthday, Long Island purchased a Mother’s Day card (this falls on 9th May in the US) in which he taped three homoerotic pics from one of Adam’s gay porno mags. The pics were of musclebound men mounting other men on all fours who were wearing blindfolds. Before the card was given to Druid, various inmates signed it.

“Happy B-Day you dirty old bastard. These pics are from the Isle of Man travel brochure. I always knew you were a freak!”
“Sorry we had to break into your wedding album, but we wanted to give you somethin' personal.”
“Suck an old fat cock.”
“It was interesting to find these pictures of you in your younger years. What a stud!”
“Happy B-Day you fur-faced zipper-sniffer!!!”
“I don’t want you to look at these pictures and wish I'd do you the same way. I just want to spend some time in your crack. Happy B-Day Gramps!” (Written vertically where the card folds i.e. ‘the crack’)
“I see your true side has finally surfaced.”
“Looks like you and Harley are having a good time here (ha!).”
“Happy B-Day. We found some old pictures of you in your younger days. Stay off the ‘Base Ball Field’ you’re too old.”
“Happy B-Day. We thought you'd like pictures of yourself.”
“Hey, you Queen. Here’s hoping that this is absolutely your last B’day.”

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
14 June 05

Move


It seems we are going to be transferred to ASPC-Tucson, Santa Rita Unit some time in the next couple of weeks.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
12 June 05

Telephone Swindle

Inmate phone calls generate multi-million dollar profits for the telephone service contractors at the expense of prisoners families and friends who are mostly members of the lower-income groups in society. Here, local calls cost from $2 upwards - at that rate, if the 2 million+ prison population average four calls per week then the contractors would reap approximately half a billion dollars per year. Adding long distance charges to that figure, I estimate that inmate phone calls are a half to one billion dollar a year industry.

The cost of long distance phone calls is particularly high. In 2002 I placed a call to my parents from the Towers Jail that cost $50 for 10 minutes. Using a conservative estimate, that my call cost the phone company 5 cents a minute, implies that the profit to the phone company was in excess of 10,000%! Before my parents disclosed the cost of the call after they had received the bill, I believed that there were laws against such corporate exploitation. Now I am starting to know better, and I recently read about a phone company scam that demonstrates how the companies and State leaders entangle the prison system in their web of corruption.

In California, Proposition 66 aiming to abolish the Three Strikes law, which would have freed thousands of non-violent criminals serving life for trivial crimes, was recently defeated by a slim margin. Arnold Schwartzenegger campaigned against Proposition 66 spooking the public into believing that 26,000 violent criminals would be prowling the streets if it were to be passed. And who was one of the biggest contributers to the opposition campaign? The founder of Broadcom Corporation, which owns MCI, which has the exclusive contract with the State of California, to monopolise prisoner phone calls.

Is the overriding objective of the mass incarceration of non violent offenders the provision of effortless rewards to the prison industry’s top brass and their contractor buddies? Should inmates be serving life sentences to help MCI make more money? How can the leaders of a country based on liberty and the proposition that all men are created equal, be allowing this to happen?

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
10 June 05

Gone With
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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
08 June 05

Heat

On my radio, I’ve been hearing Excessive Heat Warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Outdoor high temperatures recently rocketed from 90° to 110° without stopping at 100°.

We no longer have a rec field: we have scorched earth.

The swamp cooler and fan are keeping the cell temperature tolerable - an improvement from this time last year. Soon, the heat is expected to rise above 120°, so I’ve not yet experienced peak summer temperatures in Buckeye.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
20 May 05

Latent Talents

Long Island has been studying hard. I've been sharing some of my books with him including R. Kolb’s The International Finance Reader, Graham & Dodd’s Security Analysis and S. Natenberg’s Option Volatility & Pricing (kindly provided by Guy Goo. Thanks!)

He has become so enthused about the financial markets that he has begun charting stocks and indexes. We are trading (on paper) options and tallying our imaginary profits, so that he can get a feel for market movements.

There are probably many talented people in the prison system, who, if given an education could become productive members of society. Sadly, other than a few token programs and GED schooling (high-school level education) I am unaware of any other classes. Four times I have applied for college correspondence courses, and each time I’ve been denied. Until there is an emphasis on education and rehabilitation, the growing prison population will continue to be a
problem.


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