T-Bone v Anonymous

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.

Anonymous wrote: 

Enough with the god nonsense. If a god existed that was even remotely merciful or loving, T-Bone wouldn't be in the situation he or those people are in. God has plans for T-Bone by ruining his life and making him caretaker over sexually abused criminals? I think T-Bone exaggerates his stories and relies on the god bit to garner support or sympathy for being a thug who still gets into trouble and can't keep his hands off people. This is what you get when you deal with irrational thinkers and people who believe in silliness like bronze age bible myths. Playing the god bit to justify violence and being in jail is sickening. If this is what is considered a hero to some readers, they need to get out more.

T-Bone responded:

Why be so negative because I trust in God? I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes, and I can look myself in the mirror and say I’ve changed. I don’t use people or pretend to be someone I’m not. God has gifted me with abilities, and I allow him to work through me.

Because of your attitude, I believe that you have either been pushed around or you have been pushing people around.

I make no excuses for my behavior, and I’ve made a conscious decision to never come back to being a prisoner. I am into working, finding a decent woman, and living life to its fullest.

Another thing: the guards and administration don’t do anything about rape. I am no hero. Jesus is. He gives me the ability to do right. If Christ wasn’t in my heart, I would just sit back and do nothing like the rest of the naysayers. God is love, and love is action. I believe people should stand up when God calls them to do so. He will protect you and guide you if you trust in him completely.

So whoever you are who doesn’t believe because you “get out a lot,” I’d like to meet you one day, and show you the scars on my body from standing up and being worldly. I hope that will show you that you can’t push the truth aside

Peace to you, Anonymous. I will pray for you.


Click here for T-Bone rearrested.

Links to the Kindle ebook: T-Bone:
Click here for the UK version. 
Click here for the US version. 
Or download to your PC or any other device from Lulu.com.
All proceeds going to help T-Bone in prison.

Shaun Attwood  
Attacked by Alan Kurtz

Last month my book, Hard Time, was reviewed at Blogcritics by Greg Barbrick. This week I received an invitation from Blogcritics to submit reviews, which I accepted.

With 1 in 100 adults in prison in America, interest is high in prison memoirs. Having read that genre extensively, I figured it would be in the public interest to write my first review about the prison memoir I enjoyed the most, which happens to be Mother California by Kenneth Hartman. I submitted my review last night, and went to bed.

I woke up this morning to an article written by Alan Kurtz who is banned from Blogcritics. He is accused of creating “a personal site solely to embarrass and diminish the reputation of our writers.” Which is exactly what he has tried to do to me.

By focussing on my crimes and the crimes of the author of Mother California, Alan hasn’t balanced his article out by stating how myself and Kenneth Hartman have and are still presently taking measures to redeem ourselves. Kenneth, who is never getting out of prison and takes full responsibility for his life sentence, is constantly campaigning for human rights. I’m getting emails all week long from students who have heard my talk to schools such as this one a few days ago:

You came into my school this week to talk about your life so far. Firstly your talk was amazing (and so was your life it would appear) it was the highlight of almost everyone’s day. Secondly I have also recently started taking some of the less hardcore drugs as a follow on from smoking. I didn't really see how a few highs here and there could cause a problem, but your story really spoke to me. Thanks for taking the time to come in to my school

Alan also seems surprised that my prison blog features stories about criminals. Well, duh! By focussing on BHF’s story as told by BHF, Alan implies that I somehow condone BHF’s acts of violence and torture, which is simply untrue. Alan even extends this implication to the reader comments following BHF’s story.

Alan this may be news to you but Jon’s Jail Journal is a platform for prisoners to share their stories, and for readers to make their own minds up and post their opinions.

Alan, you might stand a chance of getting reinstated as a Blogcritics writer if you stop diminishing the reputation of writers by painting biased pictures of people to suit your own purposes.

Shaun Attwood

Medical Issues (Part 1 by Lifer Renee)

Renee – Only a teenager, she received a 60-year sentence. Now 15 years in, Renee is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.

For the past nine months, I’ve had either an earache, headache, sore throat, light-headedness, or nausea. I’ve lost at least 20lbs. If it ends in ache, I’ve felt it. I thought I had a bug and it would pass, but it hasn’t.

I woke up one morning three weeks ago with an earache and a sore throat. Tired of not feeling well, I decided to report it to Medical. I got a Health Needs Request form (HNR), and sat down at the metal desk in my cell. It was silent and I was alone. I stared at the blank page, unsure what to say, where to start, how to describe what is wrong with me.

The pen hit the paper and my long list of symptoms poured onto the page. I asked to be tested for diabetes, thyroid, anemia, infections and cancer. When I read what I’d wrote, I felt a little like a hypochondriac.

Panic set in. My palms began to sweat. I rubbed my hands on my pants and walked the HNR to the drop box, telling myself, It is better to know you are a hypochondriac than really being sick. I dropped the HNR. My day ended with more questions and concerns than I’ve had in a long time.

Shaun Attwood
True Stories Told Live

These pics just came in from a story-telling event I did earlier this month in London called True Stories Told Live. I was one of six speakers. I only had ten minutes to talk, not easy to do as I'm used to speaking for one-hour. The event sold out. The audience was about 240 people.

 Impression of T-Bone

Impression of my former cellmate, BHF, a serial home invader torturer who would break into houses and take a hammer to people's kneecaps.
 Impression of Xena about to cut his man parts off.

Video of me high on the buzz of telling my story at TSTL. It was an amazing experience and any raconteurs who would like to give it a go should contact David Hepworth or Kerry Shale at TSTL. 

Shaun Attwood
Woking Waterstone's Book Signing

Even with the much appreciated help of my assistant Charlotte, we only sold three copies of Hard Time in the first hour.
“It’s going to be a long day,” Charlotte said.
“I’m praying for heavy rain, so they’ll come to the mall,” I said. “A lot of students from SJB have been sending me messages on Facebook saying they are going to show up, but students are so fickle, you never know.”

Earlier in the week, I spoke at Saint John the Baptist School (SJB) in Woking. Hundreds of students packed into a room with no seats. They ended up being one of the most responsive audiences yet, laughing riotously when I told them about Frankie sticking a love letter under my cell door, proposing we have a gay prison marriage. I departed with a big smile on my face.

Around lunch time, SJB students started to arrive. Followed by more students. Then even more students. Students with parents. SJB students with students from other schools. Students in gangs of four and five. And none of them left. They filled up half of the store. More and more students. So many that the customers had a hard time getting to the tills. Customers watched fascinated as Charlotte shot photos and videos. Some onlookers, infected by the buzz, bought the book. I was signing books solidly for an hour.

Video: talking to students.

Two students, including Kassia (centre) and Anna, dressed up in jail outfits and handed flyers out in the mall.

At least five different parents showed up to thank me for the influence the talk had had on their children.
“My son has being going on about your talk all week,” said a parent. “He never speaks to me right after school. I ask him how his day has been and he just grunts alright. The day of your talk, we couldn’t shut him up. He went on and on and on, and he’s still talking about it.”

Video: Feedback from eloquent SJB student on my talk.

With Daniel from my BodyCombat class.

After the incident with the mechanical cockroach and the security guards at the Watford mall, I was concerned that Kassia and Anna would get told off for handing flyers out by the security guards in the Woking mall. When these two security guards burst into Waterstone's wielding walkie-talkies that were crackling like crazy, I braced to be reprimanded. I was surprised and delighted that they had arrived on the scene to buy the Hard Time.

With Hannah (of the palindromic name).

A big thank you to the SJB parents and students who showed up at the signing, especially the students handing flyers out. The store had sold out of books by 2.30pm, almost 50 copies, and we got to leave early.

Click here for the previous signing blog.

The next four book signings are in August: Southport, Chester, Manchester and Guildford. Click here for full details.

Shaun Attwood   
Woking Waterstone's Book Signing This Saturday

I shall be signing copies of Hard Time on Saturday July 16th, 2011 - Waterstone's, Unit 44, The Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GD (01483 767 564) from 11am until 4pm. Map.

Click here for the previous book signing blog

Shaun Attwood
From Polish Avenger (Letter 4)

Polish Avenger - A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were both committing. Author of the classic "Shit Slinger" series.

Hello there, Old Bean!

Yes, believe it or not, you are indeed reading that most scarce of commodities, that superbly rare item, that additionally overdramatic superlative description – a letter from yours truly! Yes, contrary to rumours and myth, they do still exist. And I do apologize for the exceptional doldrums in my writing.

A number of things all collided and put my mind quite out of the literary mode for a while, no great crises or tragedies, more of a gradual slide into the tamasic realm of sloth, indolence and distraction. But I’m sloughing all that off now, and reinvigorating. It just may be time to re-emerge from out ’neath the proverbial rock I’ve been living under.

The fellows here carry on as they do. T-Bone dropped by to visit us for a short while. Jack’s chemo is coming along quite well. Stubborn old Marine. Foot wheels him out to the field where they park the wheelchair, then Jack proceeds to wear him out with various callisthenics, and walking laps with a cane. We joke that that’s the way they do chemo in the Corps! His spirits are pretty high, too, and we’ve even got him back to painting a little. Leukemia’s a real bastard to beat, but if anyone’s got a fighting chance, it’s our boy Jack.

Click here for Shit Slingers V.
Click here for Letter 3 from Polish Avenger.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Shaun Attwood  
Review of Hard Time by Greg Barbrick at Blogcritics

"English Shaun" Attwood was a British expatriate living the high life as a stockbroker by day, and an Ecstasy-dealing raver by night. The combination of big money and lots of drugs is always a bad one, but it became a nearly fatal one for him. You see, Attwood's crimes took place in Phoenix, Arizona - home of the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The abuses, graft, violent conflicts of interest, and other crimes committed in Arpaio's jails have been documented before. But never by someone who spent two years inside.

Attwood's new book, Hard Time: Life with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in America's Toughest Jail describes the conditions of the (then) young man's stint in these "temporary" holding facilities. The author was being housed in these jails before being actually sentenced to prison. The reason he was unable to bail out was that his was set at $1.5 million, a figure much higher than Arizona's finest murderers routinely receive. The result of his ordeal is this sickening account of absolute sadism under the guise of law and order.

The jail environment is not supposed to be a pleasant one. But how bad should it be allowed to get? It seems Sheriff Arpaio's mission is to find out just how far he can push things. The inmate death toll under his watch is the highest in the nation. In these jails, an integral part of the food supply is baloney sandwiches, made from moldy bread and a green baloney that is delivered in boxes stamped "Not Fit for Human Consumption."

There is no system of air-conditioning at all (remember, this is Arizona - where temperatures often top 100 degrees), and the medical care is non-existent. Evidently the cockroaches feed off the pus generated by the MRSA-infected sores of spider bites.

While reading Hard Time, I often cringed at some of the situations Attwood described. Some of these instances seem to come straight out of the old HBO series OZ. While the author admits his guilt right up front, and expects to do prison time, we need to remember where all of these deaths and other atrocities are occurring. Sherriff Arpaio's jails are holding people accused of crimes. Nobody there has been convicted or sentenced yet. Have we reached the point where the mere filing of a charge is enough to send someone to this type of hell hole?

Shaun Attwood was eventually sentenced to nine years in prison for his drug activities. He has since been released, and now speaks to teens as an anti-drug crusader. He also says that the two years he spent waiting to be sentenced in Arpaio's jails were far worse than the nine he spent in prison.

What makes Hard Time so readable is Attwood's obvious talent as a first time writer. There is no "woe is me" tone present, or prevarication about his being non-violent crimes. He takes his lumps, but he also shows just how ridiculous the whole situation there is. For example, he claims that he had never seen as much crystal meth on the outside as he did on the inside. Meth is a particularly nasty drug to have floating around in an already extremely dangerous environment. He is very lucky to have survived for two years.

There are also a number of humanizing moments, that he and his various cell mates share over time. These little glimpses of humanity in the midst of such squalor open up this tale to the rest of us. I certainly could not help wondering what I would do if faced with such a situation. Yes, of course, jail is intended as a deterrent, but this is like being thrown into the lion's den.

Hard Time is a fascinating first-time book, and an eye-opening look at what is going on in the Phoenix jail system. This trampling of basic human rights needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, it seems Arpaio has so much power as to be immune. Just ask the former publisher of Arizona's New Times newspaper, who was arrested in 2007 while investigating the abuses of the jail system. The investigation ended immediately.

Hopefully Shaun Attwood's new book will cast more light on this intolerable situation. It is a harrowing, and at times oddly humorous account of life in hell. I only wish it was a fictional tale, because things like this should not be going on in America today. Hard Time is eye-opening, to say the least.

Link to the previous review

From Warrior (Letter 11)

Warrior - Serving 14 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.

I apologize for the absence in writing. Geez, where should I begin? Well, after a few hospital emergency-room visits, a civil federal lawsuit, and a new prison yard later, here I am still fighting for my life, fighting the system in court.

They still have yet to figure out what is wrong with me i.e.) they still have yet to put forth serious effort to investigate what’s wrong.

There is something wrong with my stomach. I’m in pain daily and have dropped weight. When a lot of old faces saw me, they tripped out because I used to have some size on me. They thought I was strung out on dope. Hopefully, it is just ulcers and not tumours in the stomach. I’m pushing for a referral to a GI specialist.

After 11 months, they tested me for H. pylori, but when they finally decided to treat me, I was under-treated. Now my concern is that the H. pylori ran undiagnosed to such a degree that it has caused something more severe. I’m having stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.

In my head. I find it ironic that I have endured so much, that I am so close to going home, yet I may have developed something as serious as cancer.

Click here for Warrior's previous blog about an undiscovered dead body of a prisoner.

Links to more prison stories by Warrior:
Warrior v Big E.
Rapist on the Yard
Bucket of Blood
Central Unit 

Shaun Attwood
The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Jail Experience (by Will) 

I recently received this by email: 

I spent about two weeks in the Maricopa county jail back in 1985 long before Joe Arpaio was sheriff. I was in for drunk in public and they put me in the same holding cell downtown Shaun was in. This was before there were up to 60 men, there were "only" about 30 max in my time (but still too crowded).

There is a memory I'd like to forget, but I can't shake it, and I still wonder if it was real and this is the first I've ever told it. It was packed in there with nowhere to sit. I just stood as close to the door as I could, but there was this black guy sitting on the toilet with his pants down around his ankles, jerking off and singing "please release me let me go, I can't take in this jailhouse no-mo'" to the tune of Englebert Humperdinck's Release Me. When he came all over a bunch of guys sitting on the floor around him, they pummelled him good. As they beat him, he didn't put up any resistance, he just laughed and smiled and thanked them all like he had just put on the greatest show of his life. It still shocks me, thinking about it.