Question Time

Mark Jago finished Hard Time, and emailed these questions.

How was prison after jail?

Although the prison conditions weren’t as extreme as in Arpaio’s jail, I still experienced plenty of ups and downs. I made friends with some interesting people – Two Tonys, Xena, T-Bone… – all main characters in Prison Time, the sequel to Hard time, the third book in the English Shaun Trilogy, which I hope to finish by year end.

What did you do after prison?

I spent the first year at my parents, readjusting to society. After that, I moved down south. Speaking and writing have become my full-time job.

Are you still in touch with any of the old crew? cellys? friends? family? loves?

Yes, quite a lot of them. They’ve been helping with the books, contributing to their parts.

What of your crusade for justice in the corrupt American system? or was it just the whining of someone in a bad spot and instantly forgotten once you were out of Dodge? Did you contact Congress? President Obama? Are you still campaigning with Human rights organisations?

The blog continues to expose injustice. Prisoners send me letters and I post them to Jon’s Jail Journal. The publication of Hard Time in the US is bringing the corruption to a wider audience. I get emails from outraged Americans who’ve read Hard Time. I’m working with Mike Stauffer, the politician running against Arpaio at the next election, to get Arpaio booted out. My Mum sent Hard Time to Obama and Oprah with a letter about the human rights abuses. I work with various organisations that help prisoners, including the Koestler Trust and Prisoners Abroad. Some of the proceeds from Hard Time went to them. I do regular interviews, speaking out about the conditions in Arpaio’s jail system. I’m sharing my story with tens of thousands of students yearly in the hope they won’t make the same mistakes I did. Every week, I get emails from students with positive feedback.

How have your experiences changed your outlook on life? Are you bitter? Forgiving? More or less optimistic for humanity?

It changed me completely, forever. It changed my value system, and sent my life in a whole new positive direction. I’m not a bitter person, nor do I blame anyone other than myself for my incarceration. Because of jail, I wake up with a smile on my face, knowing I’m free and in the west where we have it so good. I take full responsibility for everything I’ve ever done in my life. There's good and bad in most things, but I try to see the good in humanity.

Do you believe the system can be changed by you or me? or will those with power always use it to their advantage with complete disregard for low net worth individuals who, after all, are just flies on dog shit?

People in power have always used the masses to their advantage, but there are times when the unified masses can make changes and topple the people in power. There are many good people working to make changes in the system. From time to time, changes are made, like the closure of the maximum security Madison Street jail. But it’s a never-ending battle.

What are you up to these days? (note: my choice of words is deliberately ambiguous)

Resting with two broken fingers and bruised ribs from karate. I need to work on my blocking skills! I’m immersed in two major writing projects, Prison Time, and the life story of my friend T-Bone, a former Marine who used his fighting skills to prevent rape in prison. He served over 20 years and was released recently.

Claudia? (I was almost hopeful at the end there (in court) that you and she might get back together again? What became of her? Is she OK?)

She’s fine. She’s in the next book to be published, Party Time. Click her for an update on Claudia.

Wild Man?

Wild Man got married last year, and has calmed down a lot. His wife has worked wonders.

Your parents/sister?

My mum, dad and sister are fine. They’re happy that I’ve turned a negative into a positive, especially the talks to young people. My mum has talked at a few schools with me. Video 1. Video 2. My sister is pregnant with her second baby in two years.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

Up for re-election this year, Arpaio has moved further to the right politically. Accused of racial profiling, he’s more famous than ever in America, and at war with Obama. The abuses continue in his jail system, and I recently posted a video of his guards murdering an inmate.

Here's more of Mark's email:

You signed a copy of your book for my wife : "To Mark Happy Christmas 2011!" in a Guildford book shop. Remember?

You also gave her your business cards and said I should write and let you know what I thought of it.

So here goes ...

When anyone is asked for their opinion the temptation is to opinionate about EVERYTHING.

Like a monkey in a cage waiting for someone to take an interest, so he can fling all his saved up poo.

If you would like my views on everything I will be happy to tell you (let me know).

However, for now, I will try to stick to the point.

Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS and thankyou for AN INTERESTING BOOK. It was very claustrophobic and quite nerve racking.

HOWEVER, if there is one major criticism I must level it is that ... IT IS UNFINISHED.

A book is a work of art (infact so is everything we do in life).

There I was getting more and more emotionally invloved with all the characters (not to mention the politics of the justice system) and suddenly it stops !!!

Maybe I could find out more by doing an internet search; but I don't expect to have to do this after reading a book.

I think (just my opinion only) that a final page is required.

I need closure. I want to know what happened next.

The road goes ever ever on and I know one has to stop somewhere, sometime. I just feel this book ended too abruptly, with far too many lose ends. And for that (and no other reason) left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

I hope to hear from you maybe?

If not, no big deal. I know we all have busy lives.

I did my part, for what it's worth.

Wishing you good luck and a happy life Mr Attwood !

Mark Jago

From my response:


Thanks for taking the time to email so much. I'm working on the answers to all of your questions.

I'm glad that you found HT to beAN INTERESTING BOOK. It was very claustrophobic and quite nerve racking. The maximum security Madison St jail was shut down 2 years after I started the blog, but Sheriff Joe just opened a new high tech house of horrors down the street, and he is the boss of 6 jails in his system, so this stuff is still going on.

Here's a video of an Aryan Brother murdering another inmate at the jail:

Here's a video of guards murdering an inmate at the jail:

That you were left wanting more at the end of Hard Time was intentional. My life story is coming out as 3 books. Party Time, the prequel to Hard Time, will be published in late 2012. The sequel, Prison Time, will cover the time after Hard Time in the state penitentiary, and my return home.

If you want to read some of what happened in the prison system after Hard Time, here’s a link to some of the best stories at my blog:

Here are some blogs about my release:

2007 in England shortly after my release
My release December 2007 part 1
My release December 2007 part 2

Facebook page for Party Time:

All the best from Guildford!

Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

Hi Jon, It always great to see you are still hard at it and that I can read more about whats going on with your journal. Thanks for keeping us up to date looking forward to reading your second book when I can get hold of it. Take care.


Jon said...

thanks so much, Debby, hopefully Party Time will be out by Xmas

Androw said...

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