Question Time and Other News

Corrie from Swanmore College of Technology emailed:

What was the worst thing that happened to you when you were in any of the prisons? And, on your card it says your name is Shaun, but then it says Jon’s Jail Journal. Did you change your name when you came out or did you change it on the blog to protect yourself and stuff?

The shock of going in, and all of the violence was scary, but one of the worst parts for me was getting used to sleeping in a cell infested with cockroaches at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Madison Street jail. You see these reality shows were people have bugs crawl on them for a few minutes or so. Imagine having to sleep locked in a tiny room with cockroaches crawling everywhere, including on your body, all night long. It takes some getting used to. I ended up getting put on medication, so I could get to sleep. Even after my release, I was seeing cockroaches that weren't there.

Here are some of my early blogs about the cockroaches:
Roach Attack
Easter Eggs

We used the name Jon for the blog because we didn't want the guards to find out I was writing it from the jail. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's guards are notorious for murdering inmates. You can read about some of the inmates they have murdered by clicking here.

Gregory sent this question via Facebook:

Is it your impression that the State of Arizona allows bestial conditions as some form of deterrent or further punishment? Or is the system overloaded and out of control? Or something else entirely?

I'd say the conditions are bestial for a number of reasons. Primarily, Sheriff Joe Arpaio likes to portray himself as being as tough on criminals as possible. Many of his PR stunts emphasize this, and have helped him gain political power. The fact that the majority of his inmates are unsentenced, on remand, and presumed innocent is often overlooked. The legal system in Arizona is a multi-million-dollar industry. It's conveyor-belt justice, whereby trials are rare and cost the state a lot of money. The conditions are designed to terrify people into signing plea bargains just to get out of there. This avoids costly trials for the state, and enables the jail system to transfer a steady stream of prisoners over to Arizona's state prison system, where more millions are made off the backs of the prisoners by contractors for stuff like phone calls, and by politicians by way of political contributions from the contractors. The system is overloaded, overcrowded and extremely dangerous by design. The tax payers foot the bill for the law suits, and the system remains a feeding trough of public money for the parasite professions.

Other News

Amazon UK is presently offering a 30% discount and free shipping on my book Hard Time. Click here for this pre-sale deal.

Amazon USA is now listing Hard Time. You can register to be notified when it becomes available by clicking here. The more people who register, perhaps the sooner they’ll get it in stock.

Here’s the link to a Hard Time Facebook site.

I recently did a talk to students at my high school, Saints Peter and Paul in Widnes. One of the students asked me about my mother’s reaction to my incarceration. As my mother was present, I referred the question to her. She got up, and told the audience about how it had traumatised her. Describing her nervous breakdown, she started shedding tears, and many students and teachers also started crying. It was the most crying I’ve ever seen at one of my talks. The students were really moved, especially by my mother’s impromptu answer, and they stayed behind for a long time asking questions.

The teacher who’d coordinated the talk sent me a nice email afterwards:

Your talk was utterly astounding. After you left so many staff emailed me and stopped me to say how much your testament had moved and shocked them. The way your Mother spoke also was so powerful, so honest and so brave.I have never seen the students as quiet in all my days with them. They were stunned by your story and have been talking about it since. I know that this experience will stay with them for a long time.

Pauline Ronan (Year 12 Progress Leader and Key Stage 5 Co-ordinator for RE)

Click here for the previous Question Time.

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 Attwood


Anonymous said...

Hey Shaun congradulations on the new book. We all need resonate the injustices of the correctional system no matter what medium we choose. Good luck have a great day


Cityboy said...

Hi Shaun,

Have you got any more talks planned for your home town ? Seems a little ironic you should be getting invites to Southern England when you begin your education in Widnes ??

I think your mother giving her version events in front of relative strangers is amazing, she is an amazing woman


Anonymous said...

Hi, I wanted to ask you a few questions about jail life that I didn't quite get from your presentation at our school. 1. How did the police find out about your drug addiction? 2. How come the murderers didn't kill you? 3. Why were the prisons so ridiculously dirty (cockcroaches)? thankyou for your time. p.s. How are you coping now?


sadi said...

You and your mom may have just saved at least one of those kids from trying drugs in the future.

I think it is great you are sharing your experience and helping to prevent others from going through the same.

God bless.

M2 said...

There was a 404 error on your link. It might be a permissions problem, or the index page was moved.

Jon said...

you're quite right M2, just got this message from my web designer:

A huge server farm crashed. You's was on one that died. I just got word from the vendor that the server has been replaced, but there has been a total loss of data. It's 4am here and I been working on this all night. Will keep you posted. I am having to rebuild your site from scratch. It may not look exactly the same.

Jon said...


The police first became aware of me from tip offs. Then they listened in on our phone calls.

I made friends with a lot of the murderers, and they actually stuck up for me when other prisoners tried to cause trouble.

That jail in particular was filthy because Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the boss of the jail, thinks it's right to be as tough as possible on prisoners.

I'm coping well now, with the book coming out, and getting great responses from my talks to schools.

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

I always appreciated your mum's posts. I'm not surprised she had such an effect on the students. I'm beginning to really understand what she was talking about.

I haven't talked much about our family situation in public. I did very briefly two years ago in our church as an intro to a song our worship band was doing. The band was practicing early before the service started and people were coming in. As soon as I started talking a hush fell over the room. I was a little embarrassed, but that's the power of a personal story.

Sue O.