Question Time with Shane

Shane - After being denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs financed by burglaries. For stealing a few hundred dollars worth of goods, he was sentenced by Judge Ron Reinstein to eleven years. Shane is the author of the blog Persevering Prison Pages.
Shane responds to the comments on his $115,000 court victory over the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Thank you Leigh and Chris Phoenix for your encouragement and support. I appreciate your comments. All those who recognize prisoners are human beings and must be treated as such under the law are wise.

In response to Sweet Kitty’s comments, I can only say that it’s a pity you hold these feelings/ideals. What message are you teaching children? Condemnation, unforgivingness, distrust, justice for some not for others…

I commend you on your contributions to teaching kids and cancer research. If nothing more, I hope that by reading Shaun’s and my own blog, you’ll learn something you can share with a kid. Try reading some of my past entries on drugs and my childhood.

Maybe one day, when Shaun or myself are speaking to your kids at their school auditorium, you’ll shake our hand on an even playing field. Don’t be surprised if they listen to me. I’ve been in prisons, jails, done the drugs, committed crimes, survived a rotten childhood…I speak from experience and knowledge.

In closing: I committed a crime and broke the law. I’m paying for this by being incarcerated for 11¼ years. Everybody who breaks the law should pay their dues – just like I am. Nobody is above the law. Call it hypocrisy or whatever helps you sleep, but it’s the truth.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Email comments for Shane to or post them below. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood


Chris H said...

Can I start a possibly controversial post?

Does anyone else agree that there should be different rules for different crimes?

Paedophiles, for example. I don't think that any punishment currently administered can make up for the crime these people commit, yet many cases in the UK get sickeningly short sentences and even then get the opportunity to apply for parole even sooner.

I know none of this applies to Shane - and I'm not implying anything like that at all - but I think that your average, law abiding citizen puts that kind of logic to all prisoner victories.

I agree that 11 and a bit years for stealing is ridiculous. People SERIOUSLY get less for child abuse/assault etc.. But do you not think that certain crimes deserve a lot harsher sentences than they currently receive, more so maybe than more lenient sentences for less serious crimes?

Just a thought....

Chris H

Jon said...

Chris H,

Each country differs in its punishments. Sex offenders get a lot more time in America than Germany and England. It seems America's prisons are full mostly with petty drug offenders, serving large sentences lobbied for by guards' unions, inmate telephone service providers, etc. Should the interests profiting from the prisoners be able to influence sentencing laws like they do? And also, if you are rich, you can influence the punishment. Like George Bush's family did when he was arrested as a youth - read fortunate son.

Shaun Attwood

leigh said...

the War on Drugs has filled the prisons in the US with significantly more non-violent offenders (if they are actually offenders since we've also got minimal funding of indigent defense) at incredible levels of racial disparity----using data from the 2000 census not quite 13% of the US population is black and just under 44% of the incarcerated are black. in twenty states using this data the incarcerated number of blacks is 5 times (or more) that than the population of black people in the same state. mandatory minimums and the three-strikes laws cause the inmate counts to continue rising. this site has some interesting quick facts and good links:

sex offenders in general appear to be more difficult in reforming and they may get more tough sentences in the US than elsewhere. problems within the US regarding both sex offense laws and laws regarding sex offenders are causing a mess! in GA we've just had an older/ elderly man sentenced to house arrest for what will be the remainder of his life after a jury found him guilty of having had inappropriate contact (i can't find the case so i may be off with the charge) with a young girl from his church. an elected official/ family friend of the man made an appearance in court to speak fondly about him. perhaps that swayed the sentencing...

BUT another case in the same state less than a week apart has a woman, Wendy Whitaker, arrested and being held on $10,000 bail for being a convicted sex offender and having failed to register a new address. she was originally convicted on sodomy laws that were over turned by the US supreme court about a year after her conviction for giving a blow job to her 15 yr old classmate when she was herself only 17----she could face between 10 and 30 yrs in prison now. changes have been made to laws so that sodomy is now legal in GA (sodomy and fornication have been legalized in GA for about a decade). registration laws continually change and had she been convicted of something similar after July 2001 she'd not have to be on the registry at all.

those are two extreme cases---i know. i really think that combined with the alarming stats on the War on Drugs these cases illustrate why prisons are being filled beyond capacity. states don't exactly have incentive to get the currently incarcerated back into society. they bring in money with inflated phone/ store costs. and the poultry "plant" in town benefits economically from the slightly paid labor of inmates. not to mention the income the state collects from the correctional industries program----those inmates aren't paid for the fine items sold here: