Eating Prison Food

An excerpt from my jail memoir, Hard Time, which Banged-Up Abroad Raving Arizona was based on.

An inmate worker handed me a large brown plastic tray. The slop – red death – looked like carroty vomit blended with blood. Meat and gristle in assorted shapes, shades and  sizes were protruding from it. Gagging on the smell, I placed the tray on the nearest table, and sat down. Because I was one of the first to get served, the prisoners hadn’t mobbed the tables yet, so I’d forgotten about the racial segregation.
Seconds later, a cannonball of a Mexican tapped me on the shoulder. “You can’t sit here!” He had a shaved head, deep-set eyes and long eyelashes.
Dozens of men focussed on us. I maintained eye contact.
The Mexican put his hands on his hips. Raising his voice, he said, “This table paisas’ table!”
Mexicans surrounded me. None smiling. Where are all of these Mexicans coming from? I thought. I’ve got to get out of here, but not in a cowardly way. “No problem,” I said in a deep voice, trying to sound tough. Standing up, I looked around.
My cellmate, Troll, flew down the stairs. “England, you can’t sit there!” Turning to the Mexican who’d tapped me on the shoulder, he said, “Hey, Carlo, this is England, your new neighbour. England say hello to Carlo, the head of the Mexicans.”
The atmosphere turned friendly as fast as it had soured. I bumped fists with Carlo, greeting him with the limited Spanish I knew. He seemed to appreciate my effort.
“Come over here!” a white prisoner yelled.
The whites were laughing at what I saw as a potentially life-threatening situation. Had I blown it out of proportion? I thought of Rob the skinhead’s words in Tower 2: You’ve gotta lot to learn, dawg. It was standing room only at the whites’ table.
“Give him some room on the corner,” said Outlaw, the head of the whites prisoners.
The whites were shovelling down slop, chatting, gnawing on the mystery meat. Some of them eyeballed my tray.
With my stomach cramping as if it were trying to digest its own walls, I was in a hurry to eat. I dunked my plastic Spork into the red death, fished out a chunk of potato, and scraped most of the slop off. I raised my Spork – salivating in the way Englishmen are conditioned to do at the prospect of a good spud – and was just about to devour it when I spotted the lesions. Large. Brown. Deeply engrained. My Spork stopped short of my lower lip. Devastated, I returned the potato to the slop. Eating the two slices of bread that didn’t have any mould on them dried my mouth up.

by Shaun Attwood author of Hard Time and Party Time

Links to some of most popular entries over the years:
Rapist on the Yard by Warrior


Anonymous said...

Sounds terrible! When will you post some entries from the guys inside?! Whats the status with Warrior, or Xena, or Polish Avenger? This is my all-time favorite blog but I have missed the suspenseful stories that you used to post!

Jon said...

Unfortunately, the prison has warned several of the inmates including Polish Avenger not to write to me or they will extend their stays in prison.

Warrior was released and I have no way to contact him. Xena very rarely writes.

In my book, Prison Time, coming out in Feb 2014 there will be lots of the blog favourites. New material on Two Tonys, Xena, T-Bone etc.

I will be posting a letter from Jack soon.

Stewart Farrall said...

Just watched Raving Arizona Banged Up A broad first time I seen it good watch good to see u got out jail going to have to buy your book can u get it in Australia

Jon said...

Thanks Stewart. Here’s the link for party time and hard time the books the episode was based on with free delivery worldwide including Australia:

Anonymous said...

Hey, just watched banged up abroad. Im currently going through a. Similar situation as yours. Well the first part at least. Got mixed up in some serious trouble and turned to my parents for help. I will never forgive myself for putting them through this. But i thank you for sharing your story.

Flump Nugget said...

Hey Shaun, love your blog and loved it that much I started one of my own.. I've spent time in Sheriff Joe's Prisons but thought the food was good.. I liked the random meat stew we used to have.. Why didn't you like it ? Can you send me a copy of your book to read ? I haven't got any money to pay for it at the moment but you seem a very generous person and I'm sure you would like to help me out ??

Flump Nugget said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flump Nugget said...

Hey Shaun, here's my link for you to help out !!

Thanks x

Flump Nugget said...

Hey Shaun, still waiting for your reply Old Dude !!

Flump Nugget said...

Hey Shaun, you getting my posts ? Wanted to know what didn't you like about the meat stew we used to have !!

Flump Nugget said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flump Nugget said...

You ignoring me Shaun ?? :(

Unknown said...

Came here from you tube to find out what "red deayh" was. Also I aleays wondered what they called you in prison. Good luck shaun