The Sentence (by Guest Blogger Timothy Baker)

When I got out of prison in January 2002, I was hopeful that I’d be able to get my life back on track. While I was inside, I got my GED and plumbing trade certificate; I had worked for almost 10 years for free, so I figured getting a job and getting paid for it would be fun.

But as I searched for work, time after time, as soon as I mentioned my criminal record I could see in their eyes the answer before it even left their lips. They would always try and soften the blow, but it all came down to the same thing: “No!” All the places I went with my plumbing certificate all said the same thing too: “You have a burglary of a habitation conviction, my insurance wouldn’t even let me hire you if I wanted to.”

My GED wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. I had no credit history whatsoever and that’s worse than having bad credit. From January until the beginning of April I had no luck. Sure there were jobs, but they wouldn’t have paid my rent, let alone put food on the table. I was in need of something that I could live on.

Tired of the rejections, I decided I was going to rob one person to get $500, so I could buy a car to help me find work. I had called all my old friends from the church I went to, but they wouldn’t help me and my family didn’t have any money, so I did the only thing I could – or thought I could at the time. I robbed a couple and almost got caught. I didn’t even get any money, but a $10 bill the guy had in his wallet. But I got away and I promised myself from that moment on I’d never do anything like that again. I told God and every other higher power I could think of to please not let me get caught and for a while, I didn’t.

I met a girl, who let me live with her. I found a job working in a fast food restaurant and even though it wasn’t enough to survive on, I was OK because my girl had a job too. I even signed up for college and took micro computer applications because the college counsellor said it was in high demand.
From April until September I worked my butt off and went to school. Never did a thought cross my mind to break the law.

I wasn’t perfect and neither was my girl.  We both saw other people. I had another girl on the side that I was seeing. One day she saw a police artist sketch of a man suspected of robbing a couple and it looked like me. She confronted me on it and just the look on my face told her all she needed to know. She told me I had to turn myself in, and no matter what I told her, she wouldn’t back down. I threatened, I cursed, I yelled, and even pulled a knife on her, and she pretended to agree with what I said. But as soon as I left, she called the cops at her neighbours urging, who had heard us fighting the night before.

So, here I sit. I got 60 years for aggravated robbery and I will be 57 years old when I come up for my first parole. In 30 years, half of the 60 years. I doubt I’ll make parole… and the story goes but I’ll leave it there for now.


Shaun Attwood

313 comments:

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Anonymous said...

that guy is a damn idiot , sorry shaun but he is , christ what an awful idiot

Brendan

Anonymous said...

Desperation causes people to do desperate things Brendan! 60 years for stealing $10????? Is that justice?????

Charlotte

Jon said...

Irrespective of criminal idiocy, 60years? That's outrageous.

Anonymous said...

60 years is a helluva long time, but you I don't think the value of the crime is what's important here. Getting robbed in the street was probably no picnic for the couple involved (I'm guessing he didn't just ask nicely).

Also, if value (in cash terms) was the real key to sentencing, I think you (Shaun) might still be behind bars.

All that said, I can't condone the American judicial/penal system at all.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

it is outrageous , he would probably get 18 mths to 4 years here

Brendan

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the girl that begged him to turn himself in thinks about it.

Anonymous said...

We must also take into account if this guest blogger was a repeat offender in a multiple sense (prior prison convictions? Time done before?) as well as the circumstances surrounding the crime. Was anyone injured during the robbery? A gun, knife used?

I am sorry but as a former convict who walks straight and arrow now, I was homeless when I first got out, but managed to take advantage of every service available to me, and I wouldn't take NO for an answer, in the sense that I kept trying.

I went to a Sober Living Home that let me stay for a couple months and deferred rent (only $250.00 a month) until I got a job. I didn't jump right into a $700 a month apartment, and I lived on Ramen soups, bread, rice, and canned tuna and water along with food bank donations for the better part of a year. I worked odd jobs, fast food, construction, housework, anything I could find to make money to survive, becuase I'd be damned if I was ever going to return to prison again. After a year of doing well, I gained the trust of family to secure me a used beat up car with no A/C or radio that got me around for another year. I went to court, solicited an expungment, got it granted, and worked my tail off in school. I went to church and more importantly helped others, and COMPLETELY OSTRACIZED (sic) myself from all old friends and neighborhoods.

I admit the road from prison is a tough one, but one must hold themselves accountable and work hard to get what they want. Shaun and I, along with COUNTLESS others are successful where the recidivism rate I beleive is 50%. There is a laziness complex as well as a decompression period, but one must overcome. -Jose in San Diego

Anonymous said...

Well put, Jose!

Ghost

Anonymous said...

I think its the inconsistency though. He'll serve longer than some murderers and child molesters simply because he didn't get/was too stupid to take a plea bargain.

In no other country would this happen.

Anonymous said...

I'll send Tim your comments and he can answer for himself :)

Anonymous said...

Never trust, never get close. Keep to yourself. I'm sad to say that anything else always leads to hassle once you've been in the hands of the law, guilty or not. Your word means nothing and anything said of you is taken as fact. This is the same everywhere.
Shaun has been lucky, especially in being removed from the US. He'd be doing life by now if he'd stayed in Arizona.

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