Jon's Jail Journal Supports Punk Feminists Pussy Riot

These women shouldn't be facing seven years for singing "Mother of God, cast Putin out!" inside Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February. These mothers of small children have been held for months on remand on hooliganism charges.

 Shaun Attwood
My Manchester Book Signing Saturday 28th July

Here's the info: Waterstone's, Trafford Centre, Barton Dock Road, Manchester, M17 8AA (0161 749 8623) from 11am until 4pm.

Click here for all of my 2012 signings

Shaun Attwood

From Frankie (Letter 17)

Frankie - A Mexican Mafia hit man and leader of prison “booty bandits,”  who saw me rubbing antifungal ointment on the bleeding bedsores on my buttocks at the Madison Street jail, and proposed we have a gay prison marriage.


I received your letter. As always, the pleasure is all mine. At the same time, I’m hoping this letter finds you in good health. As for me, I’m thinking when I get out of going to Mexico and buying a fake passport, and flying to England to show your hairy ass that Frankie ain’t no joke. Just cuz you’re in England don’t mean nada. “Frankie owns you!”

Well, my friend, let me tell you what happened two weeks ago. I’m in school, Rio Salado, and there’s this gay guy that works there. He’s an inmate and the porter. Anyway, every time I took a piss I caught him trying to take a peek. He was in the closet washing the mops when I walked in, and pulled my dick out. I told him, “Is this what you’re trying to see?”
His eyes got big, and he said, “That’s a good one.”
I kept teasing him, and he said, “I bet you have a lot of girls,” meaning gays in here.
I told him, “Only a couple.”
He said, “I like to keep everything on the down-low.”
I said, “I don’t care what anyone thinks. No one tells me to do nothing.” I told him to suck it, but he wouldn’t cuz he didn’t want to get busted by others.
Anyway, we didn’t do anything. The teacher went on vacation, and today the gay guy told me that he can’t sleep cuz all he’s been doing is thinking about my cock.
I left him like that, but today he wanted me bad, and I played hard to get cuz I gave him a chance and he blew it.
I’ll tell you when it happens in my next letter, but I’m thinking of just teasing him until he wants it real real bad.

Well, my friend, I had bad luck with the food package you sent me. The Mexican I had you send it to moved to another yard right across the street. I missed it by one week. I’m eligible for a food package this month, so if you’re up to it could you reorder me the same stuff. I thank you for looking out for me. I appreciate it very much.

Englandman, get your hairy butt to writing. As soon as I get out I will contact you.

Tell your Mom, Dad and Sister I send my love.

Much Love & Respect


Shaun Attwood

Visiting Death Row (by Charlotte)

Prisoners’ rights advocate, Charlotte, is a wonderful lady who helped me at several book signings. She recently flew from London to Florida to visit her boyfriend, Troy, on death row. In the last decade, DNA evidence has shown that hundreds of prisoners on death row were set up by prosecutors and detectives looking to appease the public and advance their careers. These men were freed but no charges were ever brought against the criminals working in the legal system. Most of the States fight against and won’t pay for DNA tests. They’d rather innocent people be executed than the legal system be proven wrong.  
I looked down the row of small round metal tables with the numbers scrawled on the sides in black marker pen. Some were already occupied by people on their own either sitting nervously or making themselves busy wiping the surface down with damp paper towels. As I walked down the aisle I noticed that each table had 4 metal stools joined to them. Well, that’s going to be comfortable, I thought. I located number 7 and sat down, placing my small see-through bag that contained all that I was allowed to have with me onto the table. And there I sat for what seemed like an eternity.
The events of the last 10 months had led to this day. I had started writing to Troy in July last year and we had become close very quickly. After looking into his case very thoroughly I soon came to the conclusion that he was innocent and I had to do all that I could to help him prove it. We had started discussing me going to see him in Florida at the end of last year and finally at the beginning of February I was allowed onto his visitor list and plans were made that I would go and see him. So after what seemed like a lifetime ago I had boarded the plane at the end of May from Heathrow airport that would take me across the Atlantic to meet him for the very first time.
I arrived at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford at 7.15am on the Saturday morning. There was a canopy with 4 benches outside the entrance where a crowd of people were already gathered. I spotted one of the women that I already knew and called her name. Petra came over to me and gave me a big hug. ‘Charlotte, you’re shaking’, she said in her thick German accent.  I was as nervous as I’d ever been in my life. I was going to be entering a maximum security prison for the very first time and I had no idea what to expect.
Shortly before 8.15am the people in the group started moving towards the door. Everyone lined up in the strict order as to how they arrived. After a little while the first five people at the front of the queue started entering the building, and then as they were processed we all followed in one by one. I stepped into the entrance hall and saw before me a lady behind a glass partition with a barred gate on the left and right side of her. I waited patiently as the people in front of me entered their ID numbers into a machine and had their palm prints electronically taken. I was told that a few years back an inmate and visitor had changed clothes whilst in the visiting room in another state and it had led to the inmate escaping. Now the palm prints are taken on the way in and on the way out before you are allowed to leave to make sure they match. Then they were given a piece of paper with their photo and that of the person they were visiting, once they had shown the lady behind the glass their IDs. When it was my turn I approached the glass.
‘It’s my first visit,’ I said quietly.
‘ID please Ma’am,’ she responded.
I passed my driving license through a slim slot at the bottom of the window and waited. She took the details from my ID and put them into the computer. What seemed like an eternity later she said ‘Go and stand by the wall to have your photo taken.’ I did as I was asked and went back to the window to wait for my piece of paper that would give me access to the place where I needed to go. She passed it back through the slot along with my ID and said ‘Next.’
I stood in front of the barred gate on the right hand side as I had seen others do. A couple of seconds later there was a loud buzz and the gate opened. I walked through, along with another lady that had been processed the same time as me. BANG! The gate slammed behind us. That’ll be where the word “slammer” comes from then, I thought to myself. A door on the right led through to the search room. It consisted of a long line of tables, a metal detector and a screened off area at the end. Firstly, after placing my bag on the table I walked through the metal detector and breathed a sigh of relief when it remained silent. Then I walked to the lady who was searching through the bags, and she made a note of everything that was in there. $50, car key, tissues, tampons, and then made a note of all the jewellery I was wearing. One ring, one watch, one necklace with 2 charms. Then I went into the search area. There was a female guard the other side of the partition.
‘Take your shoes off and show me the soles of your feet,’ she barked. I did as I was asked. She picked up my shoes and had a look inside and felt around them with the tips of her fingers.
‘Stand with you back to me with your legs spread and your arms outstretched at your side.’ Again I did as I was told and she very quickly and efficiently patted me down. I turned around to face her and put my shoes on. There was one last thing I had to do though. ‘Flick your bra out.’ I just had to hold the bottom and shake it so if there was anything hiding up there then it would fall out. Of course there wasn’t and I could go on my merry way. I walked out of the search room and towards another barred gate. Again it opened automatically, I walked through and again it slammed behind me. I turned to my right and walked down the corridor towards another set of guards sitting at a table. This time I had to hand over my driver’s license and they gave me an ID. Then I carried on towards a set of double doors and through into the outside again.
I remember my friend Giusi saying ‘Just keep to your left when you get outside,’ and there ahead of me was a gate with the words Death Row written on them. On the other side of the gate there was a long ‘corridor’ made out of fencing and razor wire that was to take me to my destination. Again I heard a buzz and I opened one of the last barriers that I had to pass to get there. The next thing I knew I was sat on that cold metal stool waiting for him.
The men started coming through the door one by one, all of them dressed in an orange top and white threadbare trousers. I kept looking at my watch as the minutes ticked by. At 9.15 the door opened and in walked the man that I knew so well but had only seen in photographs. He walked down to the sergeant’s table to let him know he was there and then approached  the table where I was sitting with a huge smile on his face. I stood up and he gave me a bear hug that I will never ever forget….
I’m not going to go into the details of our 3 visits that weekend, but what I will say is that it was the probably the happiest places I have ever been. There was so much love and laughter in that one small area that you would never believe that you were in the visit park of death row.  And the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do in my life was leaving on that last day. How it felt to leave him in that hellhole defies any words, but I felt as if someone had thrust their hand into my chest and ripped my heart out, the physical pain was immense. But it’s made me determined to go back, and I will!
My blog about Ray Krone, an innocent man my attorney, Alan Simpson, saved from death row

Shaun Attwood

Question Time

Timmie, a student at Herts & Essex High, wrote:
You came to my school today, and when I got home I visited your sites and saw some of the videos. I have a couple of questions. Firstly, I wanted to know how you took the pictures of yourself within the prison?
Secondly, apart from what you're doing now and people protesting isn't there another way in which we can help these people? I've just finished watching the video of the man being killed

become quite angry that nothing was done especially the one about the war veteran. After today, I've released that it's not a race thing and it happens to anyone. What is affecting me the most is the fact that the prisoners (hope I don’t hurt your feelings for saying this) are there to serve time for what they've done, which I think should entail them doing something profitable like doing things for the community rather than just sitting and doing nothing. Also is the fact that the prisons are run by people who don't really understand how to bring justice to the people who've been hurt, so there has to be some other way to get Sheriff Arpaio out and bring someone who's going to affect these prisoners lives effectively. Other than that I wanted to say well done as you have gone through this to be an example and I can say you've certainly put me off wanting to go to prison for sure and you have a really cool accent! Thank you!
My response:

Prisoners are allowed to pay for pictures to be taken. I paid $10 for 5 pics. An inmate photographer takes them usually at Visitation, where family member can also be in the pics. Sometimes individual pics are taken in a room on the prison yard. I had one picture taken doing a headstand with my parents on either side, and the prison wouldn’t allow me to have the picture. It was classified as contraband. 

With Sheriff Joe Arpaio still in power and his regime continuing to commit atrocities on prisoners, like the murder of the Hispanic war hero Marty Atencio in the video you watched – an unsentenced inmate whose crime was allegedly kicking a door – it’s difficult to find ways to help the prisoners. Arpaio is up for re-election this year, and the man running against him, Mike Stauffer, told me he has read Hard Time and wants to get the conditions changed, so they are not in violation of human rights as is presently the case. Let's hope the citizens of Phoenix vote for Mike. It is my hope that by exposing what is going on via my book, blog and talks, public awareness is raised, and pressure increases to get the jail conditions changed. 

The corporations and politicians running America’s prisons have no interest in spending money on education and rehabilitation as they get $40,000 a year per prisoner, so they want prisoners coming right back to keep their profits going. That’s why 1 in 100 adults in the US is in prison right now, and the UK public is being softened up for US style justice, so our politicians and various corporations can make money from the situation. 

Shaun Attwood       

Schools Pics

With Luke and Fran at SJB, Woking
Towers School, Ashford, Kent

Click on image to read full size
Shaun Attwood

Organization seeking stories from the children of parents incarcerated in the US to be published into a book:

Are you an adult who experienced the incarceration of a parent as a child? Are you interested in sharing your story, in your own words, with others?

We are editing a book of life stories by adults who had a parent in jail and/or prison when they were growing up. The book will describe adult perspectives on parental incarceration. This will not be a book ABOUT children of incarcerated parents, it will be a book BY adults who experienced the incarceration of a parent as children.

There is no requirement that you have ever lived with your incarcerated parent.

There is no requirement that you have had an active relationship with your parent who has been in jail or prison.

We are also interested in those who are the second generation of incarcerated people.

We will provide you with editorial assistance to help you write the story you want to tell. You can send us your written work electronically or by mail.

If you are interested in sharing your story and participating in this important project, please email or write to us at: or

Denise Johnston Box 41-286, Eagle Rock, California 90041

Woking Book Signing

A big thank you to all of the SJB students and parents of SJB students who showed up at my Woking book signing today, making it a sell out. More copies of Hard Time were sold than Fifty Shades of Grey. I arrived to a gang of parents, not students like I expected. The first mum bought three copies for all of her kids.

Woking Waterstone's Book Signing

I'm booksigning at Woking, Waterstone's this Saturday July 14th, 2012 - Waterstone's, Unit 44, The Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GD (01483 767 564) from noon until 4pm.

T-Bone on Not Hating People Including Addicts (Part 1)

T-Bone on Not Hating People Including Addicts (Part 2)

Hard Time Song

Reading Hard Time inspired Daniel Talbot to compose this song. It starts with red death and ends with the love I felt for Claudia. The video is on YouTube and here are the lyrics:

dawn breaks and the earth quakes roll call day after day

... red death but this is no Wells text my life just landed this way

I want to be free…

panic ensues and turf wars fighting for a piece of respect

wake me up in 10 years time, my life's not over yet

but there's no reprieve from this life I lead

I want to be free…

I have spent too much time counting money courting respect

but I've learned my lesson in time no need to drown in regret

I want to be free
I want to be free

I want to be free

but will you love me?
Shaun Attwood

How I Came to Read Hard Time (by Michael)

In Phoenix, Arizona I was recently detained for suspicion of DUI (drunk driving) and was shuffled around the 4th Avenue jail holding-cell circuit. What a nightmare. Like you, I had never been arrested before. Wearing the dress clothes I wore to work at my office job earlier that day, and then to happy hour, I was thrown in a crowded cell full of people in stripes. Some resting their heads on toilet paper rolls they'd stashed in their pants, others tweaking about in corners. I found myself an uncomfortable seat on the cement bench along the room's perimeter. I sat directly across from a poorly-groomed Mexican who was grinning, showing off his mouthful of gold teeth. His eyes focused on my collared shirt and pleated dress plants. He looked up to my eyes and asked, "What you in here for, dawg? Some insider-trading bullshit?"

Much later, when our group appeared before the judge, I learned his charges included 18 counts of kidnapping and multiple gang-related murder charges. He was a real comedian. Anyway, the 24 hour stint was an eye-opener and it got me to thinking about my old friends who were capitalizing on the reemerging rave scene and making ignorant decisions. As I sipped my 2 ounce sugar water in that holding cell I began to think about the downfall of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano in his Arizona days, which prompted a Google search the following day ultimately leading me to your book and now this email.

I just finished Hard Time and am shocked by how easy it is to relate to your story. I'm 23 and I live in the Phoenix area. I'm a New Yorker born and raised but, like you, moved to this strange place where I've been for the past 6 years. Your comeback is remarkable and you have a tremendous family. Part of the reason I think your story is so relevant now more than ever has a lot to do with the resurgence of the rave scene here in the States. During my senior year of college the rave/electronica scene exploded. Clubs in Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix ditched hip hop and started booking DJs playing house and trance. I found myself accidentally in circles of good people taking stupid risks... "servants to the scene," as they would say. Finishing your book was like waking up from a dream in which my future self came to me and told me how the next few years would unfold. Luckily, I made some wise decisions before things got out of hand and now I keep the scene, and those friends, at arms length. The scene is there when I want to visit for a night, but it doesn't consume me.

As I notice old friends post pictures of their new BMW's to Facebook allegedly paid for by their minimum wage club-promoting jobs, I can't help but feel like doom is headed their way. Let's hope not. Strangely enough, they don't know anything about Sheriff Joe Arpaio. When the prison guard told you, "the world has no idea what goes on in here," referring to the MCSO Jail System, he couldn't have been more right. People in Phoenix don't even know what goes on in there.

I want to thank you for sharing your story. Naturally, it works as a reminder to avoid destructive lifestyle choices. But your story is not one limited to a message only about prevention. I found a great deal of promotion in admiring your writing ability and it inspired me to begin writing a story of my own. It has nothing to do with jail, but it certainly has elements of conviction as all good stories do. It's set in the modern day rave scene and it's about how I met the love of my life.

Shaun Attwood

Question Time

Amy wrote: 

You need to be speaking to Arizona schools!!! Those would be the kids directly affected by Joe Arpaio. I'm disgusted to admit I voted for him. Few questions,

1. Have you sold the rights to Hard Time for a movie?

2. When is Party Time coming out?

3. What can I do as an Arizona citizen to help?

4. Can you come back to the US? Would you even want to?

5. What makes me sick is that I work for a chemical company that sells 40 different products for insect control.... including packets that you mix to mop water to kill roaches, how can I get these "inside".

6 Last question for you.... can you get two Tonys story on iBooks? 

I'm going to a retirement party for my neighbor (Scottsdale prosecutor) oh how I wish I could bring signed copies of your book to pass out to all the cops, judges, and other prosecutors. 

You are such an inspiration!!

All the best

Amy in AZ


Thanks for the questions.

1 No movie rights have been sold. I’ve been approached by Hollywood movie people in the past, but no offer came about. The professional advice I’ve had is that Hard Time alone is insufficient for a movie plot because the bulk of the back story is in Party Time. My literary agent thinks a movie may follow the publication of Party Time. 

2 Party Time is scheduled for publication in spring 2013. 

3 A guard once told me that the world has no idea about what goes on in Arpaio’s jail system. As an Arizona citizen who does know, I think it’s important that you tell other people, especially if you are rubbing shoulders with cops, judges and prosecutors. There is a US website selling my book at a massive discount ($5.95 per copy) if you wanted to circulate some books to the right people.  

If you have any contacts at schools, I’d be happy to mail you DVD’s of my talk to donate to schools. 

4 I’m banned from the US for life by the Department of Homeland Security. The only way around this is if I get a presidential pardon. Do you know Obama? I would like to come to America to do talks to schools, and to see my friend T-Bone who is struggling right now after getting released from prison. 

5 Getting roach products inside the jail would probably require a political contribution to Arpaio bigger than the kickback he’s probably getting from the existing roach-spray company. Aren’t contracts up for sale to the highest bidder like legislation in Arizona?  

6 I just retrieved the draft of Two Tonys’ life story from my parents’ attic. I’ll get it typed up after I finish Prison Time, the third book from The English Shaun Trilogy. T-Bone’s life story is also a work in progress. Incredible how he risked his life over and over to stop prison rape. Both stories will be available in ebook form for devices. 

Shaun Attwood