Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 12)

With my schools talks tapering off for exam time, I’m making fast progress on my third book, Prison Time, which picks up where Hard Time left off, and features my unforgettable friends such as Frankie, Two Tonys, Xena, T-Bone… I’m drawing on the blog, letters, memory and input from prisoners. I’m using stuff I wrote that I couldn’t post while in prison that range from fights to details of Frankie’s sex life. 

The prequel to Hard Time, Party Time, is going to be published by Mainstream Publishing (Random House). It’s slated for spring 2013 in the UK, not Christmas like I earlier thought.

If I finish Prison Time before the end of 2012, I can submit it for publication for Christmas 2013, thus completing the English Shaun Trilogy.

I’m also working on T-Bone’s life story, and I’m going to explore my parents’ attic for the draft of Two Tonys’ life story that he dictated to me in his cell.

I did my first talk to Rotarians at the Rotary Club of Sutton Nonsuch, Chipstead Golf Club, Coulsdon, where there was much ringing of bells and toasting Queen Elizabeth. I had an excellent veggie dinner with business gentlemen who help the community, and told them my story. It was all quite Masonic. I now know the secret handshake to get out of police trouble, and if that doesn’t work what to say to the judge, “Is there no help for the widow’s son?”

Thanks to the heat, I’ve discovered a correlation between the amount of words I write and my consumption of Nobbly Bobbly ice-lollies. My Polish dentist won’t be pleased.

The trick to not damaging your keyboard while typing furiously with a Nobbly Bobbly stuck in your gob is to lean backwards slightly, so the hundreds and thousands that the Nobbly sheds don’t get jammed in the tiny gaps at the sides of the keys.

This Saturday, I’m signing copies of Hard Time at the O2 Centre Waterstones, London from 2pm onwards. Click for further info.

Shaun Attwood

Question Time

A student emailed: 

I would like to ask you questions on your time in prison and how drugs got you there. In your DVD, it says that you were sent to prison for talking on the phone to someone about drugs. Is that 100% true?  Another thing, you said you went to prison and some of your bouncers went to the same one. What happened to them? You said you didn’t need their protection later on because you had people from the Mafia and others protecting you. Did your bouncers have a hard time or do bouncers immediately go straight up the prison ranks? You said you wrote your blog on a wall. How did you get it put onto paper without anyone knowing? My dad was in prison, and as soon as he went in he was in the higher ranks, and no one said anything to him. He said there were a couple of people trying to steal his back, but he sorted it by giving them turbo laxative and clean-filming the toilets. He had a couple of fights, but not like the violence you describe at the jail.

My school hasn’t watched your DVD yet, but I saw it when I was in inclusion because the ‘drugs and prison’ tittle caught my eye. I really enjoyed watching your DVD, and I’m ashamed to say that I have smoked drugs in the past, but now I’m completely clean. Thank you for bringing the video out to schools, and I’m now going to buy your book. 

My response:

I was convicted of talking about drugs on the phone. By the time they caught up with me, I had stopped the Ecstasy business. They didn’t have much evidence of the bigger deals, but I broke numerous drug laws over the years, so it was time to pay the price for my life of crime. Sooner or later it catches up with you.

For the first year of my incarceration, there were lots of people in Arpaio’s jail who were arrested with me, including a best friend from my hometown, Wild Man, who the gangs respected for his fighting skills. He looked out for me, and we all looked out for each other. I was split from my codefendants after the first year, so then I had to rely on my people skills, Englishness, education… to avoid trouble. Writing blogs about other prisoners enabled me to make some powerful alliances, including with Two Tonys, a Mafia mass murderer, and the mighty T-Bone. 

Bouncers have better fighting skills than most people, which makes it easier for them to move up the prison ranks.  

I started the blog by writing with a tiny pencil sharpened on the wall and door of the cell. Parts of the door usually worked best. I wrote on paper that my aunt smuggled out of the jail. Click here for how this blog started or watch this video.

Click here for the previous Question Time

Shaun Attwood

The sun finally came out in England. My bedroom feels like an Arizona jail cell. But without cockroaches, just occasional wasps. Insects are much friendlier here. Even the mosquitoes hardly bite. These days, I love “lights out” because I get a good night’s sleep with no guards shining flashlights in my face and prisoners arguing, snoring and singing Spanish love songs. No sound of water leaking from a shower shared by hundreds of men, its drains blocked up with pubic hair, and semen swirling around my feet in a puddle.

Shaun Attwood
New Pics

These were taken by the brilliant Libi Pedder after she read Hard Time. Libi works with many big names such as Keira Knighley as you can see at her website.

Shaun Attwood

Medical Issues (Part 12 by Lifer Renee)

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

Around 1pm, I was called back to Medical, where officer G gave me the story, “I have to write the disciplinary ticket because if I don’t write you up I have to let others off.”
I just ignored him.
I was weighed and had my blood pressure taken.  I waited, thoroughly frustrated.
Finally, I entered the cramped doctor’s office.
“Well, we have your MRI results. C1 vertebrae…”  He continued in medical jargon I couldn’t understand all the way down to C7.
I looked at him, “Can you give it to me in layman’s terms?”
The doctor turned and looked me dead in the eyes, “Your neck is fucked up!”
My jaw dropped. “Really. What’s wrong?”
“You have bone spurs growing on your spine and two permeated disks.  I need to send you for a surgery consult to see what your options are, but for the pain you’re having down your arm and the thinning of your nerves, I want to make sure there’s no nerve damage.”
I signed a release form and again waited for another medical appointment.
The next day the disciplinary officer came into work and gave me a verbal warning for my ticket.  Thank goodness there were no sanctions.

Shaun Attwood
St. Catherine's (Bexleyheath) School Visit

Had a fantastic reception from the girls at St Catherine's today. After the bell went, they stayed for their entire break, asking questions. They also signed up for almost 100 autographed copies of Hard Time, almost breaking the record set at Maricourt Catholic High, Liverpool of 120 copies. My two brilliant readers below are Simi and Pelumi.

Shaun Attwood

Gang Mayhem in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jail

The YouTube video is a call from a black inmate describing the present state of gang warfare in Arpaio's jail. The majority of the gangs, led by the Mexican Mafia controlled gang, have been instructed to kill any and all black inmates on sight, causing a two week lockdown of the jail to prevent mass murder.
The YouTube video was put out by Sheriff Joe Arpaio - the architect of one of the most gang-controlled and dangerous jails in America - in an attempt to take credit for saving the lives of the black inmates by ordering the lock-down. My question for Arpaio: how about running a safe humane jail where murder and mayhem and gang violence aren't going on in the first place?

Aryan Brotherhood murder video and book about the gangs in Arpaio's jail: http://shaunattwood.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=...

Jail survival tips: http://jonsjailjournal.blogspot.com/2006/02/31-jan-06-fish-survival-guide-fis...

Jail survival guide: http://jonsjailjournal.blogspot.com/2008/05/07-may-08-how-to-survive-sheriff-...

Shaun Attwood

Medical Issues (Part 11 by Lifer Renee)

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

Weeks pass by before I went to Medical again. I knew the results had to be bad. The saying on the yard is, “If you get a test and they do not call you back in, your test is negative. If they call you in before you request to go to Medical, there is something wrong.”
Today was testing that theory.

My appointment was for 9am. I went to work, and busied myself with the tasks at hand. Planning for an upcoming new hire. Finishing the first of many distance manuals I will create over the course of this year. Needless to say not much was accomplished. I thought the world was going to end when they called me for Medical at 9am. I rushed to lock my computer and get to Medical.

When I arrived there was already a line of 10 individuals. I really did not feel like waiting in line. All of my antisocialism came out. I entered the medical office, and asked Officer G, “Is there any way I can wait until the doctor is ready? I’m working right over at Televerde.”
“No. Who are you?” he barked. “Go sit on the bench. We’ll call you when we’re ready.”
Great, I thought. A whole 24 hours to sit and worry.

I noticed the pill call nurse was there, and I did not have my cup, so I walked to Televerde, not even three doors down, and grabbed my cup. I was gone for 45 seconds maximum.
Officer G saw me and screamed my name. “You’re getting a ticket for being out of area!” he barked.
“9:10am, you’re on report for being out of area!” he yelled even louder.
I hadn’t said anything and he was shoving my ID at me.
“Go back to work and you’re on report at 9:10am for being out of area!”
I wanted to get to the pill call window and get back to work before I exploded on this officer.
One more time he yelled, “9:10 am, you’re on report…”
I cut him off.  “I got it, but I have to get my medication.”
“You’re on report…”
Under my breath, I muttered, “God help me”
I took my medication, and returned to work with a disciplinary ticket.

Shaun Attwood
Meeting Zen

After the talk at Stoke Newington School with Mum, I met Zen in London. Long-term readers of Jon's Jail Journal may be familiar with Zen. He has been reading this blog since its inception 8 years ago, and posting regular comments. I found his profound advice inspirational while incarcerated.

With Mum and Zen at Indian Veg Bhelpoori House, London
 Shaun Attwood
Stoke Newington School Visit

After Mum's emotional talk and the Q&A, students rushed to the front to hug Mum. Never have I shook so many hands at a school.
At Stoke Newington School

Shaun Attwood

My Mum Cries at School's Talk

About once a year, my mum speaks at one of my talks. The video is at Stoke Newington School to almost 300 students. Some of the students started crying, and dozens gave my mum a hug at the end.

Shaun Attwood
World Book Night Guildford

About 150 people braved the rain to attend World Book Night at Guildford Library. Almost 30 Surrey authors were present, answering questions from the public. I met lots of interesting people, and the atmosphere was great. The hours flew by as I told jail stories, and answered questions such as why I started writing and how I managed to get published. One lady said she could see an aura around me, and asked if I did yoga and meditation. I answered yes, but the aura's probably just the gleam off my head. A big thank you to Kay Hadwick, Senior Team Officer at Surrey Libraries and all of the library staff for organizing such a successful event, and for working way past their bedtimes.  

With author, Felix Riley
Surrey Authors

Shaun Attwood
King Edward's School Visit (Witley, Godalming)

With Gemma and Nathan

Shaun Attwood