Jon’s Jail Journal Supports Mike Stauffer for Maricopa County Sheriff

Let's get Sheriff Joe Arpaio booted out by voting Mike in! With Arpaio up for re-election amid a firestorm of corruption allegations, we may just get rid of him this time around.

Mike's vision for Tent City: I will modernize the facility to include basic climate controls. Modern jail security tactics will also be put in place to prevent the current rate of "walk-away" escapes and protect the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, I will insure that the facility is fully staffed for public, employee, and inmate safety.

My Mum recently sent the letter below to Mike, and we are coordinating with his team: 

Dear Mr Stauffer,

My son, Shaun Attwood, spent 26 months in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail on drugs charges. He fully acknowledges that he committed a crime and deserved to be punished. So do I, his mother, but I was appalled by the inhumane conditions prevalent in Arpaio’s jails, and the lack of rehabilitation facilities.

Shaun once asked a guard how Sheriff Joe got away with such illegal jail conditions and was told that the world has no idea what goes on in here. Shaun decided he would let the world know. While still incarcerated he started to write a blog jonsjailjournal to highlight the atrocities in Arpaio’s jails. Fear of reprisals meant he had to smuggle his writing out of the jail with his legal papers. He sent it home to us, his parents, in the UK. We posted it anonomously on the Internet and it was only when the BBC and Guardian newspaper wrote  articles about it that the blog attracted international media attention and Shaun went public.

It documents prisoners in cells with temperatures of up to 138 degrees, with only swamp coolers as air conditioning, sitting in pools of sweat, resulting in skin serious infections.

‘The temperature outside is 114 degrees. The trickle of air into our cells feels like hot air blowing from a hair dryer. We are soaked in sweat all day and night. It is difficult to write on this sweat-moistened paper. The majority now have skin infections and rashes, which persistently itch. My skin is so soggy from perspiration that when I scratch it the skin detaches and I end up with clumps of it under my fingernails. Currently, it is hard to stay conscious because the swamp cooler is barely blowing. Inmates are dropping like flies. Here, filth, squalor and disease are the norm.’

The cells are infested with cockroaches. The guards come in and spray the prisoners with chemicals that merely intoxicate the cockroaches.

‘Mark and I have used six tubes of AmerFresh toothpaste and six ounces of Razorless Beard Remover cementing cracks in the walls. The cockroaches still flood our cell every night and I have awoken numerous times this week to observe my hair stood on end and cockroaches crawling on my body.’

His blog tells of food containing parts of dead rats, gang violence, drug taking and death, inflicted on inmates by Arpaio’s guards as well as other prisoners, resulting in millions being paid out in law suits by the tax payers of Phoenix, as you are already aware.

When Shaun started to write home about the conditions I could hardly believe that this was allowed to happen in America. If he had been arrested in a developing country it would have been unacceptable, but expected, not in America. Shaun spent all of his time in prison reading, writing and improving himself. He was self-motivated. Many of the inmates need a helping hand to motivate them to do something better with their lives, and to avoid criminal behaviour.

Appearing to be soft on crime is not popular, but I know that you are dedicated to making Maricopa County a better place for all its citizens, even those who may have broken the law, and I’m sure you will agree that treating inmates like animals, and keeping them in sub human conditions, will not make them better people. It is more likely to breed a hatred of authority and encourage anti-social behaviour, as the crime statistics in Phoenix prove. Tent City is a disgrace, and I agree with your plans to provide work and education for the inmates, rather than lying around where they are more likely to indulge in further criminal behaviour.

Since his release Shaun has written a book Hard Time which exposes human rights abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Arizona jail system. The pink boxer shorts, prison stripes and return of chain gangs are well known in the media circus that is Joe Arpaio, and he is proud of his ‘tough on crime’ image, but I feel that most Americans would be shamed by the treatment of the unsentenced inmates in Arpaio’s care.

America was good to Shaun. He went to America a penniless student, having graduated from Liverpool University with a business degree. He worked hard and became a stock market millionaire, but then lost it all through involvement with the Rave scene and Ectasy. He served 6 years in total. He has been home for 3 years and has completely changed his life, and now talks to teenagers in schools and colleges about the dangers of going down that path. His book is a cautionary tale for young people. A teacher at one of the schools where he did his talk said it should be on the national curriculum.

Although I am deeply ashamed of the crimes my son committed, I am proud of the way he has rehabilitated himself. He gets constant emails from the students he talks to telling him how his talk has changed their lives. Since his release he has worked tirelessly writing Hard Time which was published in the USA by Skyhorse Publishing in May 2011 and published in the UK by Mainstream a division of Random House. I am taking the liberty of enclosing a copy of the UK edition of Hard Time as I feel the contents may be of help to you.

We are an ordinary family from the north west of England. I am a retired teacher and my husband has a small insurance business. We were devastated when Shaun was arrested, and I had a nervous breakdown, but with the support of friends and family we got through it. It is a nightmare that could happen to any family. He has rehabilitated and redeemed himself through hard work, and if he can save other young people from getting involved in drugs our suffering will have been worth it.

I am a great admirer of your work, and what you are trying to achieve in Arizona, I hope you will help to stop the wrongs that are being purpetrated by Joe Arpaio and help to end this abuse. I wish you luck with your campaign, and although Shaun cannot return to America, if there is anything Shaun or I can do to help you in the pursuance of your election, please contact us.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Attwood


Rebecca said...

Your mum is awesome!

Anonymous said...

It is good to highlight the awful conditions in Arpaio's jails. It is beyond belief that such things can occur in our country. We are always ready to condemn practices and barbaric conditions in other parts of the world, but we are either unwilling or unable to address our own problems.

Anonymous said...

'Tent City' is a blight on Phoenix City, and we should be ashamed of Arpaio parading this death camp proudly around the world via his never-ending hunger for publicity. Vote this tyrannical old man out next time.

Zen said...

Shaun - the right man in the right place at the right time - willing and able to rise above his situation, develop himself, and give inspiration to others. Life deliberately creates situations in order to place the right man in the right place at the right time, so holding on to guilt of any sort is contrary to life, and therefore harmful. Shaun's steady progress over the years, without wallowing in self-pity or anger, speaks volumes for his basic character.

His pen has made a significant difference to many fellow inmates, who have found a means of expression through their writings. His pen is now poised to make a greater difference, by making the mainstream more aware that "America - The Land of The Free!" is in fact a nation shackled by hand and feet, and clothed in a way designed to diminish.

Whether a society is love or fear-based, prisons have a valid purpose. However, most prison systems have little interest in personal development, and act as profitable commercial enterprises for the many professionals who literally feed on fear. These range from police to courts, social workers to probation officers, lawyers and politicians, media and religion. So many gain from crime! And have no financial incentive to see it reduced.

Shaun was very fortunate to have in place a support team, each of whom learnt much from the experience. Again, this was no accident, because the darkness that America's evil legal and prison system represents must end, and the law that matters is The Law of Karma.

As more and more align themselves with Light, they will find that conflict is not required, because the system literally crumbles away, revealing itself naked in it's evil, making positive change a fait accompli.

I call this process (R)evolution.

(R)evolution - is simply keeping peaceful evolution in mind.

The system is rotten to the core, so when you keep peaceful evolution in your mind, this mindset keeps returning government bad energy back to source, with love, not hate, and because (R)evolution works on a higher karmic level, you can simply sit back, metaphorically put your feet up, and observe results.

A good message is worth repeating - (R)evolution - is simply keeping peaceful evolution in mind.

Best wishes to you all, Zen

19 AUG 2011

Random Girl said...


Good for you - great blog. I live in AZ, and have done time in the AZ DOC myself, but I'm lucky enough to be from a county other than Maricopa and fortunate enough to have never done time in that county. However, I know so many people though, who had to do time under Arpaio. And in comparison the jail I came from looked like a "princess jail." There hasn't been a year that's gone by where Arpaio hasn't been in the news for some atrocity or scandal. Yet he continues to face no repercussions (I don't count taxpayers having to pay his lawsuits as repercussions!) And the way everyone seems to stand by and watch this regime of corruption continue... it's both eery and appalling. (And even scarier was the fact that he was going to run for governor!) If I hadn't lost the right to vote - I'd be one of the first ones down at the ballots trying to vote him out of office... and I enthusiastically encourage anyone who CAN to do so...

Me and Meth; Diary of a Tweaker

Mr. "Euro Millions Lottery" Jackson said...

Can prisoners in America vote?

Jon said...

No vote in America.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why the people of Phoenix keep voting him in???

Jon said...


Because he's out doing PR stunts all the time, glossing over the fact that he's costing tens of millions in lawsuits.