From T-Bone (Letter 11)

T-Bone - Radiating power and strength, this deeply-spiritual massively-built African American towers over most inmates. He is a prison gladiator with more stab wounds than Julius Caesar. A good man to have on your side.

How’s it going?

Man, you won’t believe the a-holes around this place, and it took the power of God to keep me cool and not do something terribly wrong to those two who attacked me.

As you may be aware, I’m doing OK. I didn’t write because I didn’t have any stamps, and, man, thank you so very much for the books. They are a godsend. I went through a lot to get them off the property officer, but I got them and that’s a blessing. Thank you!

Well, I’m down to 55 days and counting. You know the feeling and the feeling is unbelievable. I really don’t know where to start in this letter, so bear with me, man, and I’ll do my best to explain all that has taken place, and Shaun, I am sorry for not writing sooner. I know you care, brother. Let me say this, I am going to dictate a separate letter to you, so that I’ll be able to relate what happened [the attack] the proper way.

You mentioned writing a book about my exploits and life. Cool, I believe that’ll work because your style of writing is one that explains and gives insight and detail.

You stay strong and positive, and once again, I’ll be sending you the other letter, and I’m sorry for not writing.



Each one teach one – Strength and honor!

Coming next week: the attack on T-bone and what happened

Here’s the link to T-Bone’s previous letter:

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Slim (Part 1 by Warrior)

Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce. He writes some of the best prison-fight stories on the Internet.

Seven times around the dirt track was one mile. Everything else was centered inside. Seven workout stations. Two basketball courts. Four steel picnic tables. Just outside the track were eight phones, a water fountain, and a urinal. No grass, trees or any other greenery on our rec yard. Just concrete and steel, desert dirt, and the traditional gun tower.
The temperature was in the hundreds, the sun beating down, giving no leeway to the breeze trying to keep us company.

Some guys were working out, others playing basketball, the rest gambling or caught up in idle chatter.
My earphones were blaring as I muscled out my last set of pushups. I began to make my way towards the next station to do dips and back arms. I walked the track, by two Native Americans sat at one of the tables.
“Warrior,” shouted Day, waving at me to look in his direction.
I barely caught my name through my blasting Walkman. I walked over to Day and Red Hawk. “Wattup, chiefs! How you two doing?”
“Jus’ chillin’,” Red Hawk said. They both greeted me with handshakes.

Day was an old guy about 60 who I knew from other yards. Light skinned. Long hair. Standing around 5’6”. Missing a few teeth. His face lined with wrinkles like an old boot. He’d spent 20 years in the system. Red Hawk was in his thirties, 5’10” and dark complected. His face clearly showed his native ethnicity, especially his nose shaped like an eagle’s beak. Both guys were Pima, one of the native tribes in Arizona. We respected how we each carried ourselves.

“Getting’ ready to watch da show,” Day said.
I immediately knew something was going to go down, and they were giving me a heads-up. “Ah shit. Something’s gonna pop off, isn’t it?”
Both guys looked at each other and laughed. My eyes sharpened between the two, attempting to gauge who’d tell me first. To a certain degree a little anxiety rose in the back of my mind. Instincts can’t help but raise caution because the “show” may well include you.
“Be careful,” Day said, leering around to see who was in earshot. “They’re gonna get Slim.”

Slim was a character no one liked. A few of the guys were already waiting for him to screw up. He was Mexican, stood 6’ and 180 pounds, with a shaved head, and tattooed all over. Some say he had mental issues. In reality though he would get spun out on speed or heroin and think he had courage, throwing out threats at guys he knew he could intimidate, steering clear of those he knew he couldn’t. The longer he went without sleep, sometime days, the worse he became. Everyone was tired of him, including me. Slim had recently picked a fight with a guy everyone was fond of for no reason. It was time for him to go. He was going to get run off the yard.

“Who’s gonna get ’im?”
“The homies, Casper and Lumpy. Check ’em out. They’re trying to get close to ’im.” Red Hawk nodded in the direction for me to look.

Casper and Lumpy were walking laps, each lap inching their way closer to Slim who was at the pull-up bars. They knew he was spun, he’d been up for days and was paranoid. They were trying to make their way close to him without raising suspicion.

“Good,” I said, “Everyone’s tired of his fucking shit.”
“Yep, that’s why,” Day said.
“I appreciate the heads-up,” I said.
“It’s all good,” Red Hawk said, “We seen you working out and know you always at the pull-up bars, so we figured we’d give ya a heads-up, so you’d not get caught in the crossfire.”
“Right on. Good lookin’ out,” I said. “Well I’m gonna go finish up my routine. Thanks again.” I shook their hands, and headed back onto the track towards the next workout station.

I approached the dip bar. No one was there except me. This station was located in the northwest corner of the rec yard, resting on an area slightly elevated in comparison to the rest of the yard. The high ground afforded me a better view of everything taking place, causing me to wonder how good the view was for the guard stationed in the gun tower.

I began my routine, but not with much intensity. I figured it best to stay alert and keep my eyes on Slim, so he didn’t by chance make his way to my area to work out. I didn’t want to find myself in the middle of the chaos. Small situations can escalate into full-fledged riots within seconds. So being alert can be the difference between life, death or harm.

Three sets into my back-arm routine, my cellmate Charlie happened to walk by. “Wattup!” Charlie said.
“Nothin’. What you doin’?” I asked.
“Nothin’. Jus’ walkin’ laps.”
“Hey, chill with me right here.”
“Why? What’s up?”
“Some shit’s gonna go down right now.”

Charlie’s eyes animated, his attention picked up like the ears of a Doberman. We’d recently become cellmates, and got along great. We were both from the same hometown, and knew much of the same people. Charlie stood 5’4”, weighed 170 pounds and sported the customary fade haircut. He wore tortoise-shell designer frames a bit too large for his small round face. When he arched his back to look up at you through his lenses, it appeared as though his neck and face were struggling to uphold the weight of his glasses. I found this humorous as it was his signature.

“What? What?” Charlie asked with an anxiety that said he thought he might be the target.

Click here for a previous story by Warrior.

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Shaun P. Attwood.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City (Part 4 by Guest Blogger Daniel Horne)

Daniel Horne spent almost a year in Tent City. He is a business executive, husband, and father of two. Following a car accident, Daniel was not charged with drunk driving, but with aggravated assault – in Arizona’s legal system a car can be classified as a weapon you assault someone with. He is the author of the book, Accidental Felons and blog

“Nothing, but it’s all part of their game, man. Almost everyone I’ve met in this place is here for using drugs, DUI, or a probation violation. So, what’s your story?”
“I’m here for Aggravated Assault.”
“You? Man, there must be something I don’t see. Who’d you shoot?”
“Nobody. I was in an automobile accident.”
“Was somebody maimed?”
“No, but the county attorney got pretty crafty with my case, too. I ended up taking a plea. I call it ‘Trial by Prosecutor’. The County Attorney charged me with crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentences. There was no way I could get a fair trial. It’s interesting how he does that. He holds a gun to your head and says ‘Sign here’. Then he hangs your reputation on his wall like it’s a trophy to prove how many bad people live here.”
“Trial by prosecutor... I like that,” William said. “That’s pretty much what it’s become these days with mandatory sentencing, hasn’t it? I’m sorry dude. How long are you going to be here?”
“A year, but I’m supposed to get Work Furlough. I’m worried about that. I don’t seem to be going to Work Furlough, unless this is a stop along the way, and I’ve been away from work for a week.”
“A year! Christ, dude, get yourself another attorney. You don’t want to be in this place a whole year. Why didn’t you go to prison? It’s safer in prison.”
“My family, man. I’d go through hell for them.”
“Well, that’s pretty much what you’ve chosen to do. This is as close to hell as it gets in America. I admire your courage.”
“No courage to it, William. I didn’t do it for me. If I’d gone away for ten years, it could have destroyed my marriage, and who knows what would have become of my children.”
“Man, that woman you ran into must have wanted your balls hung on a stick,” William said.
“No, actually she was quite gracious,” I replied. “She didn’t show up at sentencing, and she told the prosecutor that she didn’t want me to go to jail. They didn’t charge her with anything, so my guess is that she wanted to stay as far away from these people as possible. I can’t blame her, and I’m glad they didn’t go after her. She might have gone to prison if they had, and that would have been as wrong as this.”
“I know. This county has gone to hell.”
“It’s not just Andrew Thomas. This sort of abuse is growing all across America. People like Andrew Thomas are rising to power like weeds. It’s the damned mandatory sentencing that’s the problem. It provides a shield for political predators like him to hide behind. Almost everyone is afraid to go to trial. I know; I studied this shit for eighteen months while I was trying to figure out what happened to me. You and I are part of a bigger plan, my friend.”
“Speaking of plans, I have to go pick up the Lizard’s mail — Later.” William exited the tent to get the mail for the day.
‘Lizard’, I learned, is the male inmates’ affectionate term for women inmates. They call the women ‘Lizards’. Don’t ask me why. I can only guess what the women call the men — ‘Dumb Asses’ probably. The mail system in Tent City is clever. The mail is delivered each afternoon when the DO’s are changing shifts by tossing a sock filled with letters over the fenced barrier separating the men from the women. It starts off as a pen pal thing but often turns into a love affair between two lonely, desperate people who’ve never met, both of whom are saturated with feelings of helplessness.

William returned a few minutes later with a pink sock laden with tightly folded sheets of paper and some rocks for weight. Our tent was the mail tent, so there were plenty of visitors coming from across the yard to see if they had mail. Some of the men didn’t yet have a Lizard. They were hoping for a letter from a woman looking to hook-up or a reply to their inquiry tossed across the razor wire a few days earlier. It was an exciting time of day when William picked up the mail.

“Horne, get your gear and report to the bubble,” a guard’s voice boomed over the loud speaker.
“Dan, that’s you,” William said. “I guess you’re going to Work Furlough after all. Leave your blankets and sheets, okay?”
I gathered my few belongings to carry to the office. There wasn’t much. “William, I don’t know how to thank you enough. You guys saved my life. I owe you, but I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
“Don’t worry about it, man,” William said. “You’ll help other people too when you get oriented to this shit hole. We help each other, dude. It’s for sure no one else gives a rat’s ass if we live or die in here. You’ll get your chance to pay it forward. Now go, or the bus will leave without you.”

Click here for Part 3.

Click here for more information on Daniel’s book, Accidental Felons.

Click here for more on Tent City by Pearl Wilson whose son was murdered there.

Jail Survival tips.

Survival Tips Video. BBC Video.

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Shaun P. Attwood
From Iron Man (Letter 6)

Iron Man - A martial-arts expert and personal trainer whose crimes include smashing someone’s door down: "I didn’t hurt anyone. I just wanted my fuckin’ money." His workouts are brutal. "I’ll have you in the best shape of your life by the time you get out," he told me.


Hello, Brother!

I hope that things are going well for you, and you are seizing the day, every day.

That is exactly what I am doing. I’ve got a sweet gig here. I am the unit’s Personal Fitness Trainer, and I also teach a yoga class five days a week. The Iron Man Training program is in full swing here.

I’ve set up an Iron man Challenge, and it is scheduled for November 5th. It will be a timed event and quite intense.

The yard they have moved me to is located between some small mountains and large hills. Lots of saguaro cactus and desert foliage. It is a beautiful place.

I had my own room for a couple of weeks, and now I have a roommate who has a Master’s degree in Business Administration. We immediately worked out an exchange of knowledge, and now I am giving him intensive one-on-one physical fitness training, and he is giving me Business Management classes six hours a week.

All of my time is spent with extreme focus, and the pursuit of excellence in every area of my life.

Just a few more months and I will be breathing the free air once again.

So what is going on with you these days? Are you close to getting your book published? How is the martial arts training going?

My third grandson was born on September 17th. He entered the world at 9:30am and kept his eyes open most of the day, just looking around and taking in the world. He is growing steadily and is in perfect health. I can’t wait to stand holding him in my arms, a free man on February 17th.

It is going to be good to talk to you again. The Book of Proverbs teaches that “as iron sharpens iron, a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” The time you invested teaching me yoga was time well spent, and continues to benefit me and my students.

Take care of yourself, Brother.

Love and Respect,

Iron Man

Click here to read Iron Man’s previous letter.

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Shaun P. Attwood
Year of the Voodoo Bomb (by Polish Avenger)

Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were committing. In Arizona, if a burglar gets killed, the accomplices get 25-year sentences.

Obvious question number 1: What the hell is a voodoo bomb?

Glad you asked! It’s an individually wrapped single dose of instant coffee. To prepare one of these little gems, take one square of single-ply toilet paper (used here in prison) and place a generous scoop of freeze-dried java (bought from the commissary) in the center. Wrap like an egg roll, moisten with tongue to seal, and stash in a little baggie. Four of these generally suffice for one day. When the time for a voodoo break rolls around, quietly slip one out, pop it in, and chase with a swig of water. The bomb bursts in the stomach and the caffeine express rolls on!

Obvious question number 2: Why the hell go through all of that?

Why not just drink a normal cup o’ bean like everyone else? That part is a bit more complicated. The bombs arose out of unfortunate necessity. Here in our beloved prison, we have a particular tribe of lowlife affectionately referred to as the mooch. I’m sure you know one also! The person who, despite being at work alongside you and earning the same paycheck – in my case, 36 cents an hour as a hazards materials clerk – or earning even higher – yes, some prisoners have been known to make up to 50 cents an hour – never has his own coffee, and he just has to have some of yours. It’s even worse here in close quarters as fellows make an entire lifestyle out of mooching. Of course you can just say no, but that puts you on the blacklist, which means the next time the mooch gets in trouble, he’ll be quick to throw an accusation your way to get off the hook.

And so, having become thoroughly fed up with those who spend all they have on drugs, and yet rely on everyone else for coffee among other things, there came the year when I made a public declaration that I was committing the unspeakable sin of quitting. You could hear several mooch hearts shattering at the news that Polish Starbucks was closed. Yes, I had gone underground, and my coffee fix was now a matter of voodoo stealth and subterfuge.

Sadly, it really had come to that.

I stayed under nearly one year. Never once was I caught doing the ritualistic bomb swallow. The only concern was the amount of bizarre chemicals I was ingesting via the institutional toilet paper. Doing the math at four squares per day. That’s 120 a month, or about one giant industrial roll in a year. That just can’t be good for a person! Were the blinding headaches and spastic colon somehow related? Am I supposed to taste blood when urinating? Is that a toe-nail fungus shaped like the Virgin? Nagging issues, to be sure!

Happily, in a drug-user dragnet 90% of our mooches got shipped out. A joyous day it was when I came out of the java closet and could openly express my coffee sexuality. No more bombing, no more sneaking. I’m here, I’m wired, get used to it!

My question to you is: would you have done the same? Which is better, to systematically poison yourself and live a lie, or continue to shove you hard-earned prison paycheck down the bottomless mooch hole?

There are no easy answers…

Click here for Polish Avenger’s previous blog.

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City (Part 3 by Guest Blogger Daniel Horne)

Daniel Horne spent almost a year in Tent City. He is a business executive, husband, and father of two. Following a car accident, Daniel was not charged with drunk driving, but with aggravated assault – in Arizona’s legal system a car can be classified as a weapon you assault someone with. He is the author of the book, Accidental Felons and blog

Sheriff Arpaio is quick to point out that inmates living in the tent jail are happier than inmates living inside the buildings. In many respects he is telling the truth. Some of the jails are old, and even inside a new one like Lower Buckeye jail, filthy air-handling units fill the air with particles of dirt-laden lint. The tents are polluted too, but they not as bad as the indoor jails. It is during winter and summer that Tent City’s population suffers to the point of danger and death.

Inside, the jails have their own dangers year round. A prisoner’s movement is restricted inside, and employees can harass prisoners freely without worry of a news helicopter or a large number of other inmates viewing. In the tents, there is freedom of movement and public viewing to ward off an employee’s errant behavior. Except for the extremes of climate, life in the tents is safer with more relative freedom than the indoor jails. Of course, there is a price to pay for that privilege. Every resident of In-yard is a slave. Prisoners who refuse to work are evicted and returned to the indoor jails.

In-yard prisoners prepare the food, clean the jails, clean the ancillary facilities such as the animal stables, and provide chain gangs to harvest fruit from local residents which is given (fresh or rotten) to the prisoners to eat. Chain gangs even bury the county’s indigent dead. Inmates work seven days a week to provide free services to the county for the less than sixty cents a day in food that is given to them by the sheriff.

The hard-hearted reputation of Maricopa County’s penal system has reached as far away as Ireland, whose government refused to extradite an accused child molester because of the dangers he faced if returned to Arizona. There are, of course, those who benefit from a jail the size of a small town. Inmate clothing which is sewn in Central America and toiletry products purchased from China export much needed tax payer dollars abroad. It is commonly believed among prisoners inside the county jail that the sheriff’s friends and family receive lucrative contracts as commissary and clothing suppliers, but no one has filed charges that such corrupt nepotism exists. Still, because of the ferocity that the sheriff attacks anyone who delves into his secretive activities, it made me wonder.

By the following afternoon, I was meeting new people and adjusting to the In-yard routine. William was on the local Inmate Council and had coordinated the effort that had saved my life the night before. I was sitting on my bunk absorbing the sunshine entering the tent from the sinking sun. William was sitting on the bunk adjacent to mine.

“I would have died last night if it hadn’t been for you guys,” I said.
“I know,” William replied. “Some people do die. We look out after each other as best we can. Sometimes we hang out in the Day Room at night, but the third shift DOs usually run everyone out who doesn’t have to be there. They’re not supposed to lock it down, but they do it all the time.”
“William, if you don’t mind my asking, why are you here? You don’t seem like a hoodlum.”
William laughed. He lowered his head, found a pebble, picked it up, and flipped it thoughtfully through his fingers. “I’m here because I was screwing around on my fiancé.”
“Come on; nobody goes to jail for that,” I commented.
“Seriously, Andrew Thomas paid to have me extradited from Louisiana for a case that had been thrown out of court twice.”
“All right. I won’t pry.”
“It’s okay. Sort of funny really,” William admitted. “My fiancé and I swapped vehicles for a week. She needed my truck to move some things, so I used her car. She came into a shopping center near my house the next Saturday afternoon and saw her car parked there. She pulled up alongside to say she was finished with my truck and saw me making out with another woman, a damned hot woman, too.”
“Okay, that might be a reason to shoot you, but even Andrew Thomas can’t find a law to prosecute that,” I said.
“My fiancé reported her car stolen, and the police arrested me. I explained it all to the officers, but they said they had no choice. Two different judges threw the case out of court. After that, I moved to Louisiana to get out of this stinking county and got a job working on an oil platform. It’s shift work, on a week — off a week, because they have to ferry you out to the rig in a helicopter. Anyway, I was on my week off when I got pulled over for speeding. The cop ran a warrant check on me and said I had a warrant outstanding for car theft in Arizona. I explained everything to him, but there was nothing he could do. He didn’t even arrest me. He had me follow him to the police station. Andrew Thomas is a crafty character; I’ll give him that. Apparently, he has people dusting off old files and re-opening cases like mine to prosecute them. This time I was indicted for ‘Theft of Means’. The prosecutor told me I would get probation and wouldn’t do any time if I signed a guilty plea. I was sick of fighting this county. I didn’t have the money to spend on a third lawyer, plus, public defenders really suck.”
“What’s ‘Theft of Means’?” I asked.
“It’s a weird law. I’d never heard of it either. Basically, it means I told my fiancé I was going to use her car to go to work. Since I went somewhere besides work, I’m guilty of the crime ‘Theft of Means’. It’s something like that.”
“Yeah, I’m on probation and doing time, too,” I said.
“Oh, I didn’t get any jail time,” William said. “Their trick was for me to sign an agreement for Intense Probation Supervision. I didn’t know there were different kinds of probation, and IPS is the worst. The guys in here call it ‘In Prison Soon’ because almost everyone on IPS gets busted for something sooner or later and ends up in here or in prison for a probation violation.”
“So what happened?”
“My probation officer made a surprise visit to check up on me. They do that. Well, some friends were helping me unload my stuff from Louisiana at the time and I had bought a couple of six packs of beer for us to drink while we worked.”
“People do that all the time.”
“I know. I didn’t think much of it either, but the conditions of IPS call for no alcohol. The probation officer took a picture of me with a can of beer in my hand and busted me for a probation violation. Now I’m doing six months in Tent City.”
“You have be kidding! What does alcohol have to do with car theft?”
“Nothing, but it’s all part of their game, man. Almost everyone I’ve met in this place is here for using drugs, DUI, or a probation violation. So, what’s your story?”

Click here for Part 2.

Click here for more information on Daniel’s book, Accidental Felons.

Click here for more on Tent City by Pearl Wilson whose son was murdered there.

Jail Survival tips. Survival Tips Video. BBC Video.

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

Shaun P. Attwood
Obama v Arpaio: Despite Federal Orders, Sheriff Joe Arpaio Continues Roundups

PHOENIX, Ariz. News - Sheriff Joe Arpaio,known for cracking down on people who are in the country illegally launched a crime and immigration sweep in northwestern metro Phoenix on Friday. His new secret weapon unveiled today - cameras to record everything his deputies do. Andrew Hasbun reports.

Meantime, Arpaio, whose sweeps have led to allegations of racial profiling, said the recent rebuff from Washington won't stop him. He said he can still arrest immigrants under a state smuggling law and a federal law that gives all local police agencies more limited power to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

"It doesn't bother me, because we are going to do the same thing," Arpaio said. "I am the elected sheriff. I don't take orders from the federal government."

The officers were participating in a federal program that grants a limited number of local police departments special powers to make immigration arrests and speed up deportation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stripped Arpaio of his power to let 100 deputies make federal immigration arrests, but renewed another agreement that allows 60 jails officers to determine the immigration status of people in jail.

The sheriff's sweeps in some heavily Latino areas of metro Phoenix have drawn criticism that Arpaio's deputies racially profile people. Arpaio said people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes and that it was only afterward that deputies found many of them were illegal immigrants.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Arpaio's office over allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures.

"He is doing this to thumb his nose at the Obama administration," said Lydia Guzman, president of the Hispanic civil rights group Somos America.

The sweeps have discouraged some Hispanics who have witnessed or been victims of crime to refuse to call Arpaio's deputies, for fear of mistreatment, Guzman said.

Observers who are part of Guzman's group fanned out across the area of the sweeps with video cameras to record exchanges between deputies and motorists.

Kris Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and an advocate of expanding local immigration efforts, said Arpaio's office -- like every other local police agency -- can detain people suspected of immigration violations for a day or two until federal authorities come to pick them up.

In the past, Arpaio could have held such immigrants for longer than two days and conducted investigations of smuggling rings, Kobach said.

"It's really a slight narrowing, but it's not much," said Kobach, who worked as an immigration law adviser to then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft from 2001-2003.

Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing people who filed a lawsuit over the sweeps, said Arpaio still can't pull over motorists solely because they are suspected of being illegal immigrants.

"He can't do it under the terms he is claiming. He has indicated that he can stop people without the suspicion, based on what they look like, what they sound like," Pochoda said.

Arpaio said the Bush administration had no complaints about his use of the special federal powers, but all that has changed with the Obama administration.

"What's changed?" Arpaio asked. "Politics has changed, because they don't like us going on the streets to catch illegals."

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Shaun P. Attwood

Mass Demonstration and March Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio Today (by Stephen Lemons)

In case you haven't noticed, Maricopa County will be coming to a boil this Friday. Not only is it the day of Arpaio's announced anti-immigrant sweep -- his first without 287(g) field authority, but the Rev. Al Sharpton will be back in town for a civil rights forum in downtown Phoenix. And the world still awaits an announcement from the Department of Homeland Security as to whether or not Arpaio will keep his 287(g) agreement in his jails.
Now civil rights activist Salvador Reza has announced a march for Friday, beginning at the Wells Fargo building downtown, and stopping at the federal courthouse and the Fourth Avenue Jail, before heading back. Wonder if he could get Al Sharpton to join him? In any case, here's Reza's statement, sent out this morning. The march is sponsored by Reza's Puente movement, and is set to last from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. "End it, don't amend it," urges Reza of 287(g).
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has decided that he will enforce immigration law with or without 287(g) agreements with Homeland Security. He has also assured his followers publicly that he will "personally" drive any undocumented worker he finds during his sweep to the border if ICE refuses to take them. His 287 (g) Agreements with ICE expire on October 15th thus he has called for a massive anti-immigrant raid disguised as "Crime Suppression Sweep" for the following day, Friday October 16, 2009.
Ya Basta! We call for the repudiation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and invite you to join us on Friday October 16th in front of Arpaio's Headquarters at the Wells Fargo Bank located at 1st Ave and Washington. We will walk two blocks to the Federal Court House to send a message to the Federal Government, Homeland Security and the President that we will not be deterred. Afterwards we will walk to the Fourth Ave jail and finish back at Wells Fargo. We have protested daily against Arpaio's racial profiling sweeps under the 287 (g) for over one year. We will continue doing so until this social nightmare comes to a halt.
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Shaun P. Attwood
From Two Tonys (Letter 12)

Two Tonys - A whacker of men and Mafia associate serving multiple life sentences for murders and violent crimes. Left bodies from Tucson to Alaska, but claims all his victims "had it coming." Recently diagnosed with liver cancer, and is in chemotherapy fighting to prolong his life.

Hey Shaun,

What can I say? Let me start with sorry I haven’t written to you sooner.

Now let’s move on with an update on my condition. Obviously I’m still kicking and fighting this cancer. I had a real bad time a while back with that chemo and shit. It’s a bad motherfucker. But I didn’t lay down on it. I’m still battling. Like your Liverpool lads sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” And you’re one of those friends.

I received all your mail and always intended to answer, but I’m pretty whacked out on this morphine, so let me try to make up for it. I’m glad to see you are moving up in the literary world. I knew you would as long as you kept your head and heart on the prize. This is good and I’m very proud of you.

Hey mate, Frankie and me kick it a lot. You’re with us and it’s all good positive rap. No bad shit do I allow to come to me. I’ve got PMA, and this is 10 months I’ve been in the fight, which was supposed to be over 6 months in. I know I can’t cure this, but I can do my best to hang out. I don’t want to make this a snivel letter. Me and Frankie will keep in touch. No more long spells of silence.

I’m sure up about my dawg Frankie being here. I catch him trying to baby me like I’m an old broke-dick cancer patient. Well, he’s right on one of them. 1 out of 2 ain’t bad. I check him. I tell him I’ll kick his ass if he keeps it up. He’s to treat me as always. No pity. No empathy, or any of that bullshit.

Yeah, mate, I’ve got good memories of you. You came along and enriched my fucked up life. I’m grateful for that. I’ll write you more because I seem to be doing a lot better.

I never heard from Jim Hogg. He sent me a postcard saying he sent me some $, but I never got it. No big deal. I never asked for him to do that. I hope he’s OK. I’ve still got love for him.

Hey bro, I’ve got this funny feeling I’m holding this cancer at bay by keeping my spirit up and not giving up. There’s something to that. I visit my Dr. for the big C in December. I’ll keep you posted.

So allow me to give a big shout out to you, your fam, and all of our blog readers who thought to give an old fuck such as me a nice thought and a prayer.

I quit the chemo, bro. It was too much of a robber on quality days. I’d rather have quality than quantity. The Grim Reaper ain’t shit. Good friends and good thoughts and memories along with a few prayers, and who knows, shit does happen.

I haven’t been reading too much. But I get this magazine, Vanity Fair. My kid sends it to me. I told her, “Hey! That’s a broad’s mag.” She laughs and tells me a lot of men read it. So I don’t give a fuck. If my kid wants me to read it, I read it. Now I’m enjoying it. Good articles.
Her and my grand babies are doing good. She’s got a good solid decent old man, and I’ll die happy and relieved because they’re all good and safe.

Hey, I’ll cut this short. You give my Love & Respect to Mom, Pop’s and baby sis, and keep a big slice for yourself, me lad from over the pond. I’ll write more next time.

You stay strong and healthy.

Two Tonys

Click here to read Letter 11.

Two Tonys is dying, and really appreciates your comments.

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Two Tonys a book or a magazine subscription, then please email me for instructions on mailing literature to the prison.

Shaun P. Attwood
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City (Part 2 by Guest Blogger Daniel Horne)

Daniel Horne spent almost a year in Tent City. He is a business executive, husband, and father of two. Following a car accident, Daniel was not charged with drunk driving, but with aggravated assault – in Arizona’s legal system a car can be classified as a weapon you assault someone with. He is the author of the book, Accidental Felons and blog.

The men in my assigned tent, strangers I couldn’t recognize in the darkness, got out of their bunks and went to work after one of the prisoners realized my condition. Several of my new tent mates were dispatched to roam the tents for more clothing and blankets. While we waited, a young man showed me how to make a ‘Laurence of Arabia’ style head covering by ripping apart the thin, pink towel I had been issued. Its purpose, he explained, was to keep the body heat from escaping my bare head. Other inmates offered temporary blankets to protect me from the bite of the frigid air. They showed me how to make a bed for survival, tucking in the bedding in a fashion that minimized the escaping of body heat to create a makeshift igloo and encapsulate what warmth my body manufactured.

The bed sheet, more densely woven than the blankets, was used as a top cover. The flimsy foam mattress flattened under the weight of a prisoner’s body, allowing the steel frame to suck precious body heat from hips, knees, and shoulders. Two blankets were placed over the cold plastic-coated foam as a bottom sheet to partially insulate me from the danger of the steel frame beneath.

When the runners returned with four more blankets, three of them were placed beneath the foam, fully insulating it from the cold steel’s icy grip. Five more blankets, tucked in on three sides, were placed on top of the sheet. A plastic garbage bag was ripped open and draped across the foot of the bunk. Its purpose was to keep my feet from becoming frostbitten. Lying on my side, curled in a ball in my makeshift igloo, sleep was impossible. Shivering and in pain from my aching joints, I silently prayed — God, let me live until the sun comes up.

Thanks to the generosity of strangers, these young men who had been branded as less than human by the authorities of Maricopa County, I survived my first night in Tent City. The next day, two pair of tattered, but newly laundered and neatly folded, thermal underwear appeared magically on my bunk, the generosity of yet another prisoner working as slave labor for the sheriff.

Not long after sunrise, everyone was forced to roll-up and tie the tent’s sides so the DOs could see all activity inside each tent. Periodically throughout the day, DOs roamed the compound and stripped bunks of more than the standard issue six blankets, throwing the contraband bedding onto the rocks that covered the yard. Prisoners were randomly chosen for searches and patted down for contraband. Wearing more than the standard issue two pair of tattered cotton thermals was strictly forbidden. Prisoners were forced to strip on the spot, tossing the protective clothing onto the rocks. As punishment, some of these inmates were forced to walk the yard to clear it of contraband blankets and thermal underwear taken from other prisoners by the guards. By the next evening, new blankets and thermals had reappeared. Slave laborers work around the clock in Tent City, and when their shifts end, smuggle more survival gear back into the tents. Other inmates, transferred out of the tents, left their bedding behind for those remaining. This was a well-practiced ritual, and I suspected that some of the nightshift guards didn’t have their supervisor’s hard-hearted (and dangerous) approach to warehousing county residents.

Click here for Part 1.

Click here for more information on Daniel’s book, Accidental Felons.

Click here for more on Tent City by Pearl Wilson whose son was murdered there.

Click here for my video on surviving Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail system.

Click here for my jail survival tips.

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Shaun P. Attwood

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Stripped of ICE Agent Status
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff's department have had an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security since 2007 that allows his department to enforce federal immigration laws. But Arpaio says the federal agency is moving to revise the agreement to limit that power to checking the immigration status of inmates already in his Phoenix jail.
Arpaio has cultivated his image as "America's Toughest Sheriff," a nickname earned by his treatment of Maricopa County inmates. Many of his prisoners are housed in tents and forced to wear pink underwear, and he once boasted of feeding them on less than a dollar a day.
Now he faces a Justice Department investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona is suing the sheriff over immigration raids conducted by his department. The class-action lawsuit alleges that Arpaio has abused the power delegated to him under his agreement with Homeland Security, known as the 287(g) program.
"He's unconstitutionally acted to racially profile many persons in the community, persons who appear or are Latino," ACLU lawyer Dan Pochoda told CNN. Pochoda said the five-term sheriff has launched a series of high-profile raids to appeal to "his anti-immigration base."
Arpaio told CNN's "American Morning" the allegations were "garbage" and said he would continue to use state laws to crack down on undocumented immigrants in his county.
"We do not go on street corners and grab people that look like they're from another country," he said. "Pursuant to our duties, when we come across illegals, we take action."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was Arizona's governor before taking her Cabinet post, told CNN that Arpaio is reacting prematurely to decisions that have not yet been finalized. But Arpaio says he's now become the poster boy of the emotionally charged immigration debate and is losing authority for political reasons.
"They don't want to aggravate the Hispanic community, aggravate the businesspeople who hire the illegals, and they want amnesty," he said.
Arpaio said he planned to continue his operations "with no changes."
"We do enforce traffic violations. All law enforcement does that, and comes across some serious criminals, which we do in our crime suppression," he said. "We go into workplaces under the state law, and we arrest people in the workplace there illegally with identity theft situations and human smuggling."
But according to a 2008 policy report on effective law enforcement by the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian-leaning watchdog group based in Phoenix, Arpaio's department "falls seriously short of fulfilling its mission." The report found that Maricopa County has "diverted resources away from basic law-enforcement functions to highly publicized immigration sweeps, which are ineffective in policing illegal immigration."
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Shaun P. Attwood

Weird Al’s Memoir (Part 1)

Weird Al - The most unlikely bank robber you’re ever likely to meet. His true story of suicide by cop gives new meaning to the power of unchecked depression. He was released on 23rd June 08, and appears to have refrained from committing any more crimes.
He is working on his memoir, which begins:

Allan woke up that morning handcuffed to a dead man. The dead man attached to Allan's right hand was a dear friend, a Mexican citizen by the name of Joaquin Reyes Magalone. He was a good, honest man. A simple farmer who Allan had hired two years earlier to grow pot for him. Allan called him Jack. He called Allan, Gringo. The year was 1977. The place was a police compound in the small mountain town of Uruapan in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Allan had just turned 24.

When Allan went to sleep the previous night, after three days of torture at the hands of the Federales, Jack had seemed hurt, but not too badly. Jack's last words on this earth were, roughly translated into English, "Son of the one who got fucked. These Federales are real pieces of work, but don't worry, Gringo, in the morning all will be better." Didn't happen. Jack died in his sleep.

In the morning, Allan awoke to Jack's dead eyes, wide open and staring at the ceiling of their small adobe cell. Allan knew instantly that Jack was dead, but at first refused to believe it. He began to talk to Jack, hoping somehow it would bring him back to life. During the next two days, while Allan was handcuffed to Jack's dead body, they had many conversations. The dead, under the right circumstances, can be quite talkative.

Weird Al is hoping for constructive feedback on his writing by way of comments.

Click here for Weird Al At Large.

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Shaun P. Attwood
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City (Part 1 by Guest Blogger Daniel Horne)

Daniel Horne spent almost a year in Tent City. He is a business executive, husband, and father of two. Following a car accident, Daniel was not charged with drunk driving, but with aggravated assault – in Arizona’s legal system a car can be classified as a weapon you assault someone with. He is the author of the book, Accidental Felons and blog.

The van pulled into the entrance to Tent City; the entire compound was ringed with razor wire and video cameras. We exited the cramped confines of the van and were led to a holding cell not much larger than a department store dressing room. I thought that worse was impossible after the Matrix, but I was wrong. The small, cramped holding cell was already filled with prisoners when we arrived. The guards crowbarred us inside with the door pressing firmly against the bodies of the prisoners closest to it when it closed. This set a new standard for inhumane treatment by the Sheriff’s Office. On the single bench, long enough to seat three men comfortably, five men sat shoulder to shoulder. The rest of us stood, butt to penis; seventeen prisoners were crammed into one tiny concrete room. The smell of years of body odor and urine in the cell was overwhelming, and the tiny room was hot.

I began to feel claustrophobic. I couldn’t breathe. I was becoming dizzy, so I asked the men around me to catch me if I passed out. A small food tray door in the main door had been left open by the guard. It was our only source of fresh air, and the inmates began shuffling around so I could be near it. At the door, I knelt to breathe through the small opening and get away from the hot stale air. I knelt there for four hours. During that time I realized what was happening to me, the sudden claustrophobia, the difficulty catching my breath, the overwhelming fear — I was having an anxiety attack, a terror I had overcome more than forty years ago had returned.

BAM! The food tray slot in the door slammed shut in my face. The shadow of a guard passed by the door’s glass insert above my head. My peering out of the cell into the open area where the guards were milling about had upset one of them. I closed my eyes and quietly began to pray. I fought to control the feelings of helplessness and panic overtaking me.

It seemed an eternity by the time the holding cell door opened and we filed out to line up against the wall for handcuffs. The lot of us resembling the typical Happy Hour crowd more than a dangerous pack of felons. Our group was led outside the building onto a concrete pad under a large open tarp where laundry bins were filled with clothing stacked in neat piles. We were ordered to strip naked in the frigid air. I stood shivering in the pre-dawn morning of January wearing only my pink rubber bath slippers. The cold wind cut into my skin like microscopic shards of glass tearing at my flesh. My teeth clattered with the loud, rhythmic sound of deer antlers colliding in the mating season.

Two guards dressed in thick winter coats and black beanie hats stood at the end of the line of laundry bins talking and laughing. From their demeanor it appeared they were laughing at us. The humiliation I felt was that of a naked slave at the market. I walked down the line of clothing donning socks, boxer shorts, and another pair of striped pajamas as quickly as the slow-moving line of shivering men permitted. I was issued one sheet, one towel, and six paper thin blankets. (The normal issue in winter, I later learned, was two blankets, but sickness had forced the Sheriff’s Office to allot prisoners four more this year.) The bins that were supposed to contain sets of cotton thermal underwear were empty by the time I got to them. One other prisoner and I stood there, without the much needed protection, waiting to see what would happen next.

“You two guys will have to come back tomorrow afternoon when more clothing arrives from the laundry to request the additional clothing,” the DO said with a shrug, his gloved hands stuffed into the pockets of his heavy, thick coat and a wool beanie pulled down low over his ears to just above his eyebrows. I would need to make due as best I could to survive the night in a cold, arctic air mass blanketing Phoenix that January of 2007. Just two weeks earlier, the temperature had reached a record-breaking low of 14 degrees. Tonight it was 35 degrees and I stood in the night air holding my bedding dressed for the searing heat of summer. I was in trouble — serious trouble.

Part 2 coming next week.

As this is Daniel’s first post for Jon’s Jail Journal, your comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Shaun P. Attwood
DNA Evidence Clears Innocent Prisoner After 27 Years

(CBS) There's been some bitter soul searching going on in Dallas County, as one man after another is being released from prison after being convicted, years ago, of crimes they did not commit. As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, it happened again just last week with the release of a man who had been proclaiming his innocence, behind bars, for 27 years.

So far, 17 men have been cleared in Dallas - that's more than most states. All were put on trial by prosecutors who worked for the legendary District Attorney Henry Wade. Wade was Dallas' top prosecutor for more than 30 years. He never lost a case he handled personally. But it turns out the record of Wade's office was too good to be true. And now, a new Dallas district attorney is focusing on the Wade legacy - it's a search for innocent men waiting to be exonerated.

James Woodard went away in 1981, convicted in the murder of his girlfriend who had been raped and strangled. He was prosecuted by the office of District Attorney Henry Wade. For nearly 30 years, he never gave up writing letters, and filing motions. But no one was willing to grant him a hearing-until now.
60 Minutes was there last year when Woodard gave the DNA sample that would determine his true guilt or innocence. Since 2001, there has been a series of men in Dallas County who have walked from prison into freedom.

The exonerated include Eugene Henton, James Waller, who did almost 11 years, Greg Wallis, who was in for nearly 19, and James Giles, who did 10 years; Billy Smith was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and served nearly 20 years for a crime he didn't commit.

James Waller rejected a plea bargain for a rape he didn't commit. "They offered me three years. I turned it down. And I said, 'We go to trial.' And I came out with 30 years," he tells Pelley.

Asked why he turned down the deal, Waller says, "I know one day that I was gonna have to die, and I didn't want to go before God saying I did something that I didn't do."

"Greg, what did you lose in all that time?" Pelley asks."Well, I didn't get to see my boy growing up. He was two and a half when I left," Wallis says.

Wallis says his son is now 22 years old.
"To me, an apology, it won't do, because an apology can't bring back the time that I spent. It can't bring back my loved ones my loved ones. I lost ten family members while I was incarcerated. I never got to go to the funeral of any one of them. There are a lot of things that I could say that I lost. But then there's a lot of things that I could say that I can't tell you what I lost, 'cause I don't know," Billy Smith says.

"What do you mean you don't know what you lost?" Pelley asks.

"It's just like a part of me that's just gone. You know? I'm 20 years behind time. I was 35 when I got arrested. I'm 55 now," Smith explains. "But when I was ready for release, I wasn't excited about getting out. I still don't understand that today."

Asked how he could not be excited about getting out after all that time, Smith says, "Well, that's a part of me that I lost."

Michelle Moore and Jeff Blackburn are lawyers for The Innocence Project of Texas, a nonprofit group investigating wrongful prosecutions.

"What was the history of the Dallas County DA's office from, say, the 1950's to the 1990's," Pelley asks.

"Prosecute at all costs," Moore says. "It doesn't matter what they have as far as evidence. But if they've got anything that could tie this person into the case, then they were going to pursue the case against that person, even if it meant that they overlooked other suspects in a crime."

"Dallas got a reputation as the hardest, roughest county in the state. This was the one county that you did not wanna get accused of a crime in, because in this county, if you got charged with a crime you were likely gonna go to prison," Blackburn adds.

It was the late Henry Wade, a Texas legend, who ran the district attorney's office from 1951 to 1987.

Wade prosecuted Jack Ruby in the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. He's the Wade in "Roe v. Wade," the abortion case. His deputies played hardball, but Moore says they didn't always play by the rules.

"And we have found, in some of those cases, that there was evidence that was not given over to the defense. So, the defense could not adequately prepare," she tells Pelley.

"You're saying that prosecutors had evidence that suggested innocence, and they didn't pass that on to the defense attorneys?" Pelley asks.

"That's correct," Moore says.

"But that's the law, isn't it?" Pelley asks.

"It is the law, but there's no penalty for prosecutors who don't give over evidence. You get a slap on the hand but you still get promoted because you got the conviction," Moore says.

"Prosecutors break the law, pay no penalty," Blackburn says. "Men get wrongfully convicted, and they can't get out because the system conspires to cover up their case. That's a crooked system."

The investigation of the Wade legacy picked up speed last year when Craig Watkins became the district attorney in Dallas-the first black D.A. in the history of Texas. His office is now spending $400,000 a year looking back at old cases.

"We have a responsibility to go back and right the wrongs of the past and free the innocent," Watkins tells Pelley.

"You know, some people say that you're wasting time and money that you're looking back at these old cases when you're sitting in the middle of the city that has the highest crime rate in the nation," Pelley remarks.

"You know, I disagree with that," Watkins says. "The job of the district attorney is to seek justice. And when justice has failed, then we have to fix it."

"You know, we were sitting with some of these men who'd been in prison for 20 years, been in prison longer than that and as I was sitting there, it occurred to me that if these guys sat in prison that long, it's likely that somebody who didn't commit the crime was executed. Do you fear that that's the case?" Pelley asks.

"I fear that and that causes me to lose sleep every day," Watkins says.

In an almost revolutionary step, Watkins has teamed up with The Innocence Project of Texas, opening all of the prosecution files to the project's lawyers and law students. He's backing them with subpoena power so they can get a hold of witnesses and evidence. The students are opening files that have been closed, some since the 1970's.

"We take a lot for granted, I think. And we say, 'Oh, well, if the state, if the government said that he did it, he obviously did.' But that's not necessarily true," one of the students told Pelley.

The students said they don't get paid or college credit for their work.

Asked what they are getting out of the experience, one of the students said, "Well, the satisfaction that I'm doing something for people who can't do it themselves."

Law student Alexis Hoff selected James Woodard's file for review, almost three decades after he went to prison, convicted of killing his girlfriend.

60 Minutes was with them last November when Hoff started questioning Woodard, along with The Innocence Project's Michelle Moore.

"James, at any point in time during this process, did you ever admit to being guilty of this?" Moore asked.

"No, ma'am," Woodard replied.

"What is your ultimate goal?" Moore asked.

"To clear my name," he replied.

Woodard gave a DNA sample back in November; it was processed by the Orchid Cellmark lab in Dallas. In most places it wouldn't be possible to reach back years for a DNA match, but Dallas has an unusual policy of saving physical evidence from cases that are decades old.

This past Monday, Alexis Hoff and Jeff Blackburn brought James Woodard the results of his DNA test.

"The conclusion of the test was that there was not a match. It means that someone else raped Beverly Ann Jones," Hoff told Woodard. "It is my honor to be here today to tell you that after spending 27 years in jail for a crime that you did not commit you will walk out of this courthouse tomorrow, a free man."

"I'm speechless. That’s about it. You’ll have to give me a minute to gather myself, to sink this all in," Woodard reacted.

When Woodard went to prison in 1981, Alexis Hoff had not yet been born.

"I mean, don't crack jokes now," Woodard said.

"No. It’s really happening. I know," Hoff replied.

"Are you sure I get out tomorrow?" Woodard asked.

"Yep," Blackburn said.

The next day, last Tuesday, James Woodard went to court. In addition to the DNA, District Attorney Watkins' office discovered that the prosecutors, 27 years ago, failed to tell the defense and the jury that Woodard's girlfriend had been in the company of another man the night of her death, a man who was charged in another sexual assault.

"Mr. Woodard, we'd like to apologize to you. Not only on the part of the district attorney’s office for the state of Texas but for the failures of the criminal justice system throughout this country," Watkins told Woodard.

State District Judge Mark Stoltz set Woodard free. "Unfortunately, Mr. Woodard you're not getting justice today. You're just getting the end of injustice," the judge said.

"It seemed like I was looking at it from afar, like a movie," Woodard tells Pelley. "It was well worth the wait I mean just to hear that, you know. Just to hear someone admit that they were wrong, they did me wrong."

Asked why it was worth the wait, Woodard says, "For so many years everyone told me, 'Well hey, you’re guilty.' I mean well let me put it this way, they treated me as if I was guilty."

When he went in, Woodard had just turned 28; he is 55 years old now.

From the very beginning, Woodard wrote letters to District Attorney Henry Wade.

"I don't know your philosophy of life but I would assume that you wouldn't take a man's freedom just because you can. That's why I keep sending these letters to you," Woodard recalls.

Wade's office wrote back to say that the letter would be referred to an assistant. Woodard never heard anything from them again.

"I have to wonder after 27 years how did you stand it?" Pelley asks.

"You can only go one day at a time ever. I don’t really know myself. I just did the best I could. Just you know every day I have hope well maybe today will be a better day," Woodard says.

"You had hope?" Pelley asks.

"That’s all a man has," Woodard says. "I had hope for parole. I think I came up about 12 times."

"When you appeared before the parole board what did they say to you?" Pelley asks.

"They always told me, as long as you deny your guilt its saying something about you, you know you are not willing to own up to your deed. And we gonna deny you," Woodard says.

But Woodard refused to admit guilt. "I wasn't guilty," he says.

"You chose truth over freedom," Pelley remarks.

"I mean, a man has to stand for something," Woodard says.

James Woodard became the 17th prisoner in Dallas to be set free after a wrongful conviction. He walked from the courthouse into a hometown he could no longer recognize. At 27 years and four months, he became the longest serving inmate in the nation to be cleared with the help of DNA. The Dallas D.A.'s office and The Innocence Project of Texas are still investigating another 250 cases.

The case of James Woodard is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read. In 2006, I wrote about Ray Krone, an innocent man who spent 10 years on death row thanks in part to the corrupt prosecutor, Noel Levy. It was Levy who helped frame another innocent person, Debra Milke, to death row almost 20 years ago, where she still languishes to this day. Noel Levy qualifies as one of the most evil people working in Arizona’s justice system.

Email comments 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
Another Arpaio/Tent City Documentary

The title, "Chain Gang: Maricopa County," makes it seem as if the latest reality show to be shot in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails concentrates on the novelty of inmates chained together. But it's more about those inmates' stories, the producer says.

"Despite the fact they may have done something that's offensive, you may end up empathizing with them," Michael Hoff said. "Just a simple twist of fate, I might end up there as well."

The hour-long special, which airs on the Discovery Channel on Monday, Oct. 5, follows a group of inmates housed in Tent City as they join the infamous chain gang. The show was filmed in June.
The network will see how the audience receives the show before deciding whether to order more episodes, Hoff said.
"If the (jail) is agreeable, we'd be very agreeable," he said.

This is the second special Hoff has created by following inmates on the Maricopa County chain gangs. The first, "Chain Gang Girls" aired on the female-focused WEtv network and followed a group of women on the shackled work crew.

"Despite the provocative title, it was very informative about the lives of these women," Hoff said.
Hoff, who is based in Northern California, said he didn't set out to make the inmates the focus of the shows, but the women's stories were surprisingly compelling.

"It gave you a microcosm of the prison system . . . and what makes it hard for people to succeed," he said. "How people can fall into potholes in life and unexpectedly end up in places.”

Hoff saw that the men have great stories, too, and shopped this idea to Discovery.
"They're different, but equally interesting," he said.

Ashley Adams, the director of photography, said there was no trouble getting inmates to talk on camera.
"It's amazing how quickly they warm up," she said.

Adams led two crews that tracked inmates in the tents outside Durango Jail and followed them as they did roadside clean-ups on the chain gang. It was her third time at the jail, having worked on the previous two women inmate specials, and said county personnel worked well with her.

Earlier this year, the Fox Reality Channel aired the three-episode "Smile! You're Under Arrest" special, which featured sheriff's deputies luring low-level fugitives into handcuffs with actors and stunts.

Here, Adams said, all her crews needed from jail staff was access. She was after "the real deal."

Arpaio was interviewed, Hoff said, but "he's not the driver of the show."

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office did not return a request for comment on the show.
As for the tents themselves, Adams said they were hot, but not uncomfortable.
"Honestly," she said, "I thought I would rather be out in the tents than in a hot, humid jail cell."

My guest blogger next Monday is Daniel Horne, the author of Accidental Felons. He spent a year in Arpaio’s Tent City, and he’ll be taking us right in there with his writing.

Email comments 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
Question Time With A Blood (Part 5)

Bones of the South Side Posse Bloods is serving sixteen years for leading a gang, assisting a crime syndicate, kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Jose in San Diego wrote:

Good post ESE! Me being from Califas [California] I am foreign to how things are run in Arizas [Arizona]. I have heard tidbits here and there about the cars [gangs] in the pintas [prisons] in Arizona, and it is quite interesting how politics differ etc.

Bones replied:

Jose, yeah, you’re right, things were pretty much the same as Califas back in the days. Such as having to line up with your race regardless of which hood you represented. But, yeah, I know and you know that a black can be from a Hispanic gang, and a white can be accepted as Chicano if they are from the same barrio. But this is where I think we as Hispanics are being hypocritical. Because the above is ok for Hispanic, but if it's the other way around, a Hispanic being from a black or white gang, it is forbidden! And that does not sit right with me.

Back in the days my first time down when I hit the yard all was good. Back in 1990, I did 3 years. The Mexicans back then helped you out and it didn't matter what hood you were from.
I was one of the first from our hood to go to prison. I believe there were two others there before me. The Mexicans would give you hygiene, stamps, clothes, etc. when you hit the yard if you needed it. My first time down, the Mexicans in prison had never even heard of our hood. I had been down a little over a year before issues started to rise about my hood. Because other vatos my age started to hit the prison from other hoods, and I scrapped a few times with these vatos. But the older vatos told me and the others, whatever happen on the streets stays on the streets. Well that changed the second time down. I did 1½ years. If you were from Posse [South Side Posse Blood Gang] there was a green light on you. In other words it was ok to fuck up or take out a South Side Posse member without getting any repercussions for it. And as a member of South Side Posse, you had a choice to either cover up the tattoo S.S.P. or put hx after the P, So it would read South Side Phx [Phoenix]. Or if you chose not to, you would get beat down or even a helicopter ride to the hospital. I ran into homies that covered it up and some that put S. S. Phx. I also know a few homies that held on strong and made it through and back out to the streets and never covered or put S. S. Phx, and some that ended up where they ended up at. And I got much love for them too, “for not bowing down.”

Jose, in your comment you have pedo {problems] with Norteños [Northerners] who align themselves with the blacks. Well, you see back in my hard gang banging days we never aligned ourselves with blacks, or Mexicans, or whites, or paisas.
Back then we went to war with anyone, it didn't matter if you were from a Crip, Mexican, paisa, white or another blood gang. If you started pedo with us, we would come to your hood to handle it.

Shoot, nowadays there are all kinds of different Mexican Blood gangs in Arizona. There’s even a South Side Posse in Tucson now. There was one gang I remember that we used to have beef with called Brown Pride in South Phoenix. But then we ended up being cool with them, but I don't know how it is now. That was back in 1994.

Yes, there is or was two fractions of EME [Mexican Mafia] in Arizona, also you can't forget about the paisas {Mexican nationals] too. For a little while all Califas boys had their own yards as well as the paisas and the Arizona boys. But now they are all mixed into one yard again.

But nowadays it’s not the same as the old days. Now you have a guy in each yard or building that is called the mail man. Which means whether you are sending out personal letters to the streets or a kite, inmate letters, or Health Needs Request forms or any paperwork out, it has to go to the mail man in your building for inspection. Man, to me that’s crazy. It was never like that back in the days. Or if you’re Mexican and run a store on the yard, you have to give a % of your profits to the head honcho on the yard. It didn't used to be that way before. And if you’re doing the onda [drugs], the head honcho gets a quarter of whatever your bring in. And if you’re programming, getting your G.E.D., A.A. [Alcoholics Anonymous], N. A. [Narcotics Anonymous] or a college course etc., you have to go with another Mexican. You can't roll out on your own. No playing poker on another race's poker table because you’re making them a profit. You can play spades with white dude for fun, but if you’re playing with black dudes you have to be gambling.
And if you work in the kitchen you must cut off your mustache, they don't want hair in the food. And its mandatory everything: chow, recreation, and when you’re at rec you have to do something productive. Not just kicking it.

Now this is the only one I agree with, no talking to a C.O. [Corrections Officer] by yourself. Man, it’s just real crazy. It’s like being on probation or even house arrest. A lot of these rules didn't apply back in the days. To me, if you have to have a mail man or be escorted from one place to another, then the man in charge is paranoid or is not on top of his game. To me, if you’re on top of your game, you shouldn't have to worry about who's mailing what or going wherever. In other words, they need to check the people in their circle more than people outside of the circle.

Yeah, the Califa Guard and the New Arizona Guard are or where going at it. Well their may be several reasons why they go at it, but I believe the main reason is because the Califa Guard don't agree with the way the Arizona Guard are running things. And it’s like I told you, it’s real crazy over here. Not only do you have the new AZ [Arizona] guard, but they are even split between each other and now there’s a new, new AZ guard. In my opinion, I don't even think that the Mexican Mafia in AZ is recognized by other Mexican Mafia affiliations in other states. I hate to talk about my own state like that, but shit is really fucked up here.

Jose, you seem well educated. I will say that you have studied your gang history.
I think that is one of the problems with gangs anywhere. Gang members are not well educated. So they don't think thinks out. Their solution to a problem is, “Fuck it, smash him.” Also jealousy and envy, greed and dope are problems.

Hey, Jose, I have one question for you. (K) You say it’s interesting to see Mexicans claim Bloods. And that you, your hood, have pedo with Norteños, who align themselves with blacks. And if I'm not mistaken Norteños out there in Califas wear red clothing, right. You being a Sureño [Southerner] in Califas. I've asked this to several dudes here from southern Califas this question. And could not get a good and quick response. Why do Sureños in Califas wear blue clothing?

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