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.”

Click here for the article.

Click here for Dawn of a New Adventure Part 7

Click here for info about my talk to schools

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


Ginger said...

I think it is great that you were able to go to the school and talk, hopefully it will have a + impact on the students.
I've been reading your blog and just wanted to say great work and I can't wait read more.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Shaun!

-Linda Saville

Anonymous said...

Was the idea behind this talk to give the pupils something to aspire to?

One Who Knows

Anonymous said...

One who knows, don't be ridiculous. It's a well known fact that kids start experimenting with drugs as a way to have fun without thinking about the consequences. Hopefully this will help highlight the downside to taking drugs instead of just glamming it up.


Jon said...

It was a high-impact talk about the consequences of drug taking. I emphasised how choosing to do drugs put me further and further down the road to jail, and the conditions that shocked the audience. I showed how doing drugs opens you up to a range of unpleasant possibilities e.g.) Cody Bates, the head of my security team who hung himself in his 20's.

Shaun Attwood

syncopated eyeball said...

Good on you, Shaun!