Madejski Students Hear Real Jail Tales (by Laura Herbert at Get Reading)
A former stockbroker who served time in one of America’s toughest jails spoke to John Madejski Academy students about his life.
Shaun Attwood was arrested in 2002 for money laundering and drug offences after emigrating to Arizona where he threw raves and became heavily involved in drugs.
While serving 26 months on remand he started one of the first prison blogs, Jon’s Jail Journal.
Last Wednesday he visited students at the Whitley school to talk to them about drugs and crime.
Of the visit, Mr Attwood, 41, said: “The students were slow to ask questions, but once they got going there was no stopping them, and a group of boys stayed behind to ask me extra questions.
“It feels good to have this opportunity to influence the lives of young people, and to get such reactions and feedback from the audience.”
During his 26 months on remand, Mr Attwood was imprisoned at Maricopa County jail in Phoenix, Arizona, run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
His journal detailed the conditions of the jail that sparked outrage among human rights campaigners.
In 2004 he was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years for money laundering and drug offences and served almost six years.
The Hartland Road school’s lead teacher in anthropology Katie Royle added: “The presentation was truthful, honest and really well received by our students.
“Shaun was able to talk openly and in detail about the effect drugs had on his life and his experiences as a consequence.
“Our students really engaged with his honest and frank approach, and when offered the opportunity to question him we couldn’t stop them.
“Students were so affected by Shaun’s talk they even stayed behind to talk to him more and many have gone on to read his blog and email him.
“Shaun’s approachable nature has meant students really listened and took in his message.
“We will definitely be having him back very soon.”
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Shaun P. Attwood