5 October 05

New Store Ownership

There is a notice on the control-room window:

As part of the Statewide Privatization of the Inmate Stores… the store operations will be transitioning to a private company, Keefe Commissary Network (KCN).

The entire shopping process will change. You will be submitting a Scantron form or ‘bubble sheet’ itemizing which products you wish to purchase.
Instructions for completeing the bubble sheet will be published soon.
As in all new procedures, we expect glitches, especially in the first runs.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
3 October 05

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
1 October 05

The First Book
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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
Thanks Readers

It is with immense appreciation I am scribbling these words. A deluge of birthday cards, snail mailed from blog readers around the world, has poured into my cell. Your unfailing kindness countinues to affect my life. Your gifts of books are shaping my destiny. I want to express my gratitude, not only for the cards, but also for the emails, and letters of support. You are an endless source of inspiration.

Appreciatively yours,

27 September 05

Psychotherapy with Dr. Allen (Part 1)

Psychotherapy is available again, and I’ve had three sessions with Dr. Allen. The first two sessions were assessment orientated, but during the third session Dr. A began to explore my mind. Here’s some dialogue from session three:

“What’s your definition of success?” Dr. A asked.
“It was material success, but now I know that being mentally successful is what matters.”
“You mentioned big cycles of success and failure in your life, can you describe them for me?”
“I had two big runs: one when I was a stockbroker, and one when I traded stocks online. Both times I thought I had it made. I thought that I had found the right woman. I had plenty of money, cars and gadgets. Then I self-destructed – both times. I partied more, and I lost nearly everything – my wife, my house. The peaks were so high that I felt on top of the world, and the troughs were so low that I contemplated suicide.”
“Here’s what I think, and it may or may not be true: you seem to thrive during the building up part – when you have a challenge. But when you achieve your goals, you look around, and ask yourself: what do I do now? It’s almost as if you have no purpose when your goals are achieved; so, you knock down everything that you’ve built up, and start all over again.”
“That may be true. I sow the seeds of my own destruction with the choices I make. I succeed, my behaviour changes, and before I know it everything is knocked down.”
“It seems as if you allow no happy medium between work and play. You work tirelessly to build everything up, which seems to be your main drive. Then when you’re successful, you switch to the partying and raving which brings you down.”
“That’s correct.”
“You said that for the most part you lived reclusively, but on the weekends you’d go raving and be the life and soul of the party.”
“That’s right.”
“When did you start living reclusively? At what age did you withdraw from your friends?”
“As I became an older teen, I studied more and hung out less with my friends.”
“What did you study?”
“Schoolwork, homework, revision for exams, and I became obsessed with the stock market. I ordered dozens of finance books from Widnes library.”
“Why did you stop hanging out with your friends?”
“They wanted to have fun, later on some got married. I was into studying, whereas, most of my friends frowned on higher education. They celebrated when they finished high school.”
“I have another thought that may or may not be true.”
“Is it possible that your American raver friends were substitutes for those you separated from in England? It’s as if when you went raving you were going back to your original friends.”
“I hadn’t looked at it that way, but it’s possible.”
“Here’s a suggestion: instead of following periods of all-absorbing stock trading and success, with self-destuction and wild partying, perhaps you should organise your time better. What if you researched stocks until three pm, and then allocated time for your social relationships? Wouldn’t you achieve a balance, instead of letting stress build up in your system, switching to partying to deal with the stress, and losing control of your life? You seem to be a well-organised person. Why don’t you organise your life better, starting with managing your time?”

As I wrote this blog, I thought about the comment posted by Stranger in August. Stranger asked how I perceive rave culture, and urged me to reveal more about myself. There are various reasons why I don’t write more about myself, which I would like to put to my readers.

Firstly, the blog was started to expose jail conditions, and to describe jail life. To suddenly start prattling on about myself – I feel – would risk boring readers. I consider myself on the outer limits of the nerd scale, and disinteresting in comparison to colourful characters such as Frankie, Slingblade, Two Tonys and Xena.

I enjoy describing events objectively, as opposed to pushing subjective opinions – especially about myself. I have written attitudinal blogs from time to time because I do discover things that I get emotional about (such as atrocities committed by the Arpaio regime), and I let my opinions flow at the risk of compromising the original format.

I don’t think I could do a good job writing impartially about myself. I don’t fully understand myself, and I am a biased observer.

Finally,by addressing readers questions from time to time, I get to write about reader- requested areas of my life, as opposed to self-selecting areas that may bore readers.

Perhaps psychotherapy dialogues have enabled me to write some unbiased blogs about myself because a professional is asking the questions and doing the probing. Blogging extracts from these therapy sessions seems like a novel way to disclose more about me.

I want to know more about me to become a better person, but I’m unsure how many readers are interested in this area.

Your comments on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

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Jon’s book wishlist – he is allowed used or new books as long as they are sent direct from publishers such as Amazon.

Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
25 September 05

Commodities Trading Results

From one month ago, Long Islands commodity trading account – started with $2000 – moved up to $5833 and mine advanced to $5018. Long Islands gains came mostly from going long coffee, corn, hogs and gold. He lost money selling short copper, which in trading parlance could be described as jumping in front of a speeding train. My gains came mostly from going long the Mexican peso and selling short US Treasury Bonds.

The price of oil racing to new highs makes my earlier prediction of $100 per barrel this decade seem more realistic. I’ve previously recommended that traders should go long any sell-offs in oil or gold. I think the same strategy should be adopted with copper, which is showing excellent relative strength vis-à-vis the metals.

The two big ifs are whether the dollar and/or the US stock market will snap this year. They are both vunerable. The recent 350% premium on the Baidu.com IPO reminded me of the psychological extremes reached in 1999. If the current animal spirits are symptomatic of a double top then it may still be a while before the rapidly inflating second bubble bursts. But in the meantime: caveat emptor.

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Jon’s book wishlist – he is allowed used or new books as long as they are sent direct from publishers such as Amazon.com

Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
23 September 05


The Prison Book Program – a non-profit organisation that sends free books to prisoners – has lost one of its main funding sources, and has had to reduce book shipments.

It was this hardworking organisation that provided Scooby – one of the young Chicanos at SMU2 – with Plato’s Republic and Machiavelli’s Prince. I believe that literacy and access to reading materials are crucial for rehabilitation.

Anyone wishing to help The Prison Book Program can click on the above link. They have been providing free books to prisoners for many years, and they are a worthy cause.

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Jon’s book wishlist – he is allowed used or new books as long as they are sent direct from publishers such as Amazon.

Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
17 September 05

Book Stoppage

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
17 September 05

CO3 Roberts

Earlier this year Zen suggested that I should seek viewpoints about the prison system from ADOC staff. When I was recently escorted to the CIP building, I quizzed CO3 Roberts in the following manner:

“What do you think about America having the highest incarceration rate in the world?”
“Its terrible. More people should be on house arrest.”
“Do you think an emphasis on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment would be a better approach?”
“To rehabilitate people we’d need meaningful programs. Programs cost money. Society wants its prisoners out of the way at least cost possible. The system we have now is designed to shock prisoners into not wanting to do crimes. Although we have had some directors who’ve discussed it, there is no meaningful rehabilitation.”
“What’s the recidivism rate?”
“I think its over seventy percent.”
“For the State of Arizona?”
“Yes. What’s happening is, for a lot of prisoners, this becomes all they know. They have little or no education, and the code they use in prison doesn’t work in the outside world. When someone’s been down for ten or fifteen years, he’s institutionalised and unable to function in society at all. Especially the old gangsters - they just come right back. Outside they’re nobodies, but in here they’re somebodies.”
“So you’re saying they form identities while in prison?”
“Europeans are flabbergasted by the size of the US prison population. The world hasn’t seen mass incarceration like this since Stalin’s gulags.”
“Drugs and gangs are a big impetus.”
“Is the rate of mass incarceration sustainable?”
“No. People who are in prison who could be at home and employed, and contributing to society, these people should be released and closely supervised. They shouldn’t be locked up.”
“There were seven-hundred-thousand people arrested for marijuana offenses last year, don’t you think that’s obscene?”
“It depends, a person with three hundred pounds of marijuana is different from a personal user.”
“Nine out of ten of them were arrested for petty possession. The Supreme Court has ruled against the use of medical marijuana, enabling the police to raid the clinics.”
“I did notice that ruling.”
“It seems that people are being rounded up to fill all of the prisons they’re building.”
“Yes. They’re building one right down the street. A federal prison which should be open soon.”

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

The Great Spaghetti Strike of 2005

In a show of solidarity, most inmates chose to boycott a recent evening meal of spaghetti. The complaint: the quality of the spaghetti sauce.

The guards were expecting almost two hundred of us to turn out for chow.
“Building 4, A and B, you are cleared for chow.”
Inmates stayed in their cells.
“Able and Baker, Yard 4, it’s chow time.”
Still no strikebreakers. A few inmates stood in front of their cells.
“Attention yard four: if you’re gonna go eat, now’s the time to go eat. If not, take it in. This is not rec time.”
Some inmates came out and talked to their neighbours.
“If you’re gonna go eat, go eat. If not, take it inside and shut your doors.”
Still no takers.
“A run, what are you guys gonna do? If you’re gonna eat, let’s go!”
Pops emerged from his cell. Supported by his cane, he hobbled towards the chow hall.
“There’s a scab. It’s Pops!” Long Island shouted.
“Charlie, Dog, turn out for chow.”
One youngster joined Pops.
Four guards, clutching their radios, approached our building. With quizzical expressions on their faces, they circled around.
“Dog run, if you’re not going to chow, close your doors. Step back inside! Close your doors! Secure your doors if you’re not going to chow!”

The prison administration decided to keep us locked-down until the following day.

I questioned some inmates about the strike.

How do you feel about the ADOC spaghetti sauce?

“They should use it on Fear Factor,” Two Tonys said. “Joe Hogan should be offerin’ people fifty thou to eat that shit. Straight Fear Factor, brother.”
“I’d sooner eat red hot barbed wire,” Kenny said.
“It resembles cat chow: Tender Vittles or Nine Lives,” Adam said.
“They’re servin’ us shit – literally,” Junior Bull, Gerard Gravano, said.
“I don’t even think its spaghetti sauce,” said Gerard’s celly, Scotland.
“There’s too much of that fuckin’ flavour stuff – spices – in it,” said
“It’s putrid,” George said.
“Crappy but I’m used to it,” Shane said.
“Horrible!” Blackheart said.
“It’s Purina dog food!” Druid said.
“It's disgusting! Even the worms wouldn’t want to eat it. I wouldn’t give it to my dogs or even my worst enemies,” Xena said. “If we buried all of the spaghetti sauce in the prison in a mass grave, it would show up from a satellite as a radioactive spot on the earth.”
“I was hungry,” Slingblade said.

Were you surprised by the show of prisoner solidarity?

“Yeah” Ogre said. “Only two pieces of shit went and ate.”
“I was surprised too,” said George.
“Me too,” Adam said, “surprised and shocked.”
“One hundred percent surprised. It’s changed my fuckin’ outlook on the yard, “ said Two Tony’s.
“Yes, but on the other hand” Kenny said, “we must be out of our minds to go to the chow hall in the first place!”
“Exceedingly, extraordinarily so!” Blackheart said. “Freakin’ floored! I can’t even begin to express my surprise at the solidarity in this shithole camp.”
“Yeah – a little bit,” said Frankie.
“I wanted to eat,” said Slingblade.

How do you feel about missing your meal?

“We should do it every night until all of our shit’s fixed.”
“I feel great.”
“How do I feel about shittin’?”
“I feel like I didn’t get my shot on Fear Factor.”
“It didn’t bother me in the least. I made a tasty dish out of Summer Sausage.”
“I feel great about it. I hate all the food in there. It’s the cheapest shit.”
“A little hunger is better than a whole lot of nausea. If you fed that to a dog, you’d get a five hundred dollar fine and a year in jail.”
“I didn’t like it anyway.”
“I understand.”

Are you hoping for more than improved spaghetti sauce to come from this?

“No. I don’t even expect the sauce to be fixed. They ain’t gunna fix nothin’”
“Hoping, yes. But I don’t really expect anythin’ to come from this. Admin didn’t react as I expected.”
“I don’t see anythin’ happenin’.”
“Yes: steak and lobster.”
“Yes: to show the staff we are united.”
“I hope that they improve everythin’. The sauce is just a drop in the bucket.”
“No. I think it will get worse.”
“Only hard times, because when push comes to shove they have the keys.”
“Sure, but I don’t see it happenin’.”
“I never complained.”

How do you feel about the two strikebreakers?

“In a world full of open sores, I’m not surprised to find scabs somewhere.”
“Power to ‘em.”
“They should be #@!#, #!!@ and @##!”
“Pops is so senile he didn’t know where the fuck he was. He thought he was at Loopy’s Cafeteria.”
“For one of ‘em – Pops – it was okay, because if I was that old I’d have done the same thing. The other one: that’s on him.”
“Pops is too senile, and the other guy I don’t know.”
“They’re as bad as the spaghetti sauce.”
“I’ve got nothin’ for ‘em.”
“Pops is too fuckin’ old to know any better, and the other I don’t even know.”
“Pops is a loony-tune. I expected that he would go.”
“It was their choice. If they don’t want to be part of the rest of the yard, it’s on them.”
“It’s medical reasons: Pops don’t make any fuckin’ sense.”

What was Pops thinking? Was he of unsound mind? Did he think he had a date at Loopy’s Cafeteria? Perhaps he went for health reasons? I decided to quiz him, to find out.

“Pops, were you aware of the Great Spaghetti Strike of 2005?”
“I didn’t know what was goin’ on until I opened the kitchen door. The staff were cheerin’ and clappin’ for me. They gave me a double portion, a milk, and six pieces of toast.”
“How was the spaghetti sauce?”
“I didn’t eat much of it, that’s for sure.”
“It sounds like you came up on some extra food. Good job, Pops.”
“At my age, I need all I can get in this goddam place.”

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
Confusion for readers trying to place comments on the blog.

Unfortunately, as many readers may have noticed, the comments were being 'invaded' by advertisements for web sites. To stop this we are now using the ‘word verification tool’. To place comments, readers have to type the words shown on the screen into the ‘word verification box’ before submitting. Apologies if this is leading to some confusion.

As many of you are new to the blog, we would like to point out that Jon does not have access to computers or the Internet. Jon hand writes the blogs and mails them to us (his parents in the UK). We type them up and post them onto the blog. That is why the blogs are always posted later than the date Jon writes them.

We also deal with the many emails sent to Jon’s email address writeinside@hotmail.com. We are happy to forward the emails to Jon and he will reply, but it can take up to ten days to reach him by post and another ten for his reply. If you would like to write directly to Jon, - and receiving correspondence is the highlight of his day, his postal address is below.

It is his birthday on the 28th October, if you would like to cheer him up with a greeting!

Thanks again for your tremendous support.

Derick & Barbara

Jon’s address:
Shaun Attwood ADC#187160
Santa Rita Unit 4-D-11, PO BOX 24406
10012 S Wilmot Rd
Tucson 85734-4406, Arizona, U.S.A
8 September 05

Arpaio – Pro-life or Pro-death?

Recently, I received a letter from Linda Saville, cofounder of Mothers Against Arpaio, describing the treatment of a pregnant female at one of Joe Arpaio’s jails.
Here are Linda’s words:

“The girl is in her early to mid twenties. She was in either her late first trimester or early second trimester of pregnancy, so say about three or four months. She had not received any prenatal vitamins, or special accommodations for her pregnancy of any sort.
Her cellmate happened to be a registered nurse who witnessed this girl lose her baby. It starts as cramping; she doesn’t feel well; she starts bleeding; she asks for help from the guards. No response. More time goes by, still bleeding; still no help. The ‘nurse’/celly is caring for her, and also trying to get help.
Finally, she passes the baby in the toilet of her cell (and it’s not a quick process). She blacks out from the loss of blood (and probably the trauma as well) and the nurse/celly is finally able to get the attention of medical. A battle-axe bitch nurse comes in huffing and puffing because she actually had to go to the cell; she wakes the unfortunate inmate with smelling salts and (get this) actually has the nerve to tell this girl that she is going to get a trash can so that she can fish her own baby out of the toilet because she (the CHS nurse) is not going to touch it.
Can you imagine? It still gives me the chills to think about it.”

Both chilling and disturbing, Linda.

Arpaio’s rhetoric may be pro-life but his actions would seem to be pro-death, and his complicity in this stillbirth is yet another reason why Joe must go.

Arpaio loses (for a change) in the State Court, over women’s rights in prison.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
08 September 05

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood
6 September 05

Best Prison Blog 2005!

Jons Jail Journal wins blog award from the Phoenix New Times. Read the story here.

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4 September 05

Frankie V Big Man

African American Big Man - one of the widest inmates I've ever seen - challenged Frankie to a game of chess. Frankie sat down on the concrete and crossed his legs. Big Man parked his behind on a curb. The players eyeballed each other. The onlookers eyeballed the players. The game began.
Midway through the game Big Man said,"En passant. You passed my motherfuckin' pawn. You stop right there.” Big Man snatched one of Frankie’s pawns, and said, “Check! Gimme dat bitch. That’s what you get for runnin’ yer mouth. It’s like takin’ candy from a baby.” He hastily removed Frankie’s queen.
“Why you gotta cheat to win, Big Man? Can’t you win a motherfuckin' game fair and square?” Frankie said.
“What? I don’t hear you. Git your sorry ass down there. Git! I said git!” Big Man yelled.
“Hush your mouth. I’m gonna beat you without my queen.”
“Where’z you gonna go?”
“Where are you gonna go?”
“Same place you’re goin’.”
“What happened?”
“What happened to you? What happened to you?” Big Man said, his voice growing louder.
“If I tell you, I gotta kill you.”
“Touch it, move it, motherfucker!” Big Man said.
Frankie, having touched a piece that he didn’t want to move, was compelled to move it by Big Man, an adherent of the touch-it-move-it rule.
“Quit cryin’, motherfucker” Frankie said.
“Rape. This is motherfuckin' rape in the third degree,” Big Man said, after capitalising on Frankie’s mistake, and capturing all of Frankie's main pieces, leaving Frankie with just a knight.
“Rape in your ass, motherfucker. Gimme dat bitch. Check!” Frankie said.
The check enabled Frankie to capture Big Man's queen.
“Wotcha gonna do with dat horse. You ain’t got no hay. You ain’t got no hay, motherfucker!” Big Man said.
“Check!” Frankie said and snatched one of Big Man’s rooks.
“I didn’t need that rook and I don’t need no bitch. Check!” Big Man announced as his rook captured Frankie’s knight.
Frankie moved his king – his remaining piece – toward a corner of the board. Big Man’s pieces had Frankie’s king surrounded but Frankie was not in check. Frankie had nowhere to go.
“Stalemate!” Frankie declared.
“Dat ain’t no stalemate. You don’t know what the fuck yer talkin’ about. That ain’t no stalemate, motherfucker.”
“You can’t play for shit, Big Man!” Frankie said.
“It’s a stalemate,” I said.
Big Man looked at me and saw I was taking notes.
“It ain’t no stalemate. What the fuck are you writin’ down? Don’t be tryin’ to write no motherfucker a love letter. Ain’t nobody gonna write to you” Big Man said.
“He’s not in check. He can’t move. It’s a stalemate” I said.
Big Man stood up. Leaving a trail of insults echoing in our ears, he wobbled home.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood