27 Feb 08

Radio Interview On Friday

I'm on the radio this Friday. The station is City Talk 105.9 out of Liverpool. I expect to be on at about 9:20am British time (2:20am Arizona time). Here's the link for anyone who wants to listen to it online:


This Friday Duncan Barkes is joined by Shaun Attwood, a man from Widnes who has spent time in one of the US' most notorious jails.
Having spent two years in Maricopa County Jail awaiting sentence on charges of money laundering and drug offences, Shaun has seen inmates starved, attempt suicide and be subjected to repeated humiliation. But more than having just seen them, he's also documented his experiences in his online blog.
Shaun’s blog was initially named Jon’s Jail Journal so that he could maintain his anonymity while inside back in 2004.
But his blog has proved so popular he’s been writing it ever since, documenting his experiences of staying in an American jail run by one of America’s most notorious law enforcement officers.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is renowned for his tough tactics in his jail, humiliating inmates by forcing them to wear pink underwear and eat rotten food. As if that wasn’t bad enough his jails are also known to be so badly infested with cockroaches that the inmates –Shaun included – save their toothpaste to block up the insects’ entry points.
A few weeks ago Duncan asked you whether you thought English prisons are too soft, so this Friday Dunc will be asking Shaun about his experiences in an American jail and whether we should introduce these tougher US style jails.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2007-2008 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

Yes, export the gulag-techniques to the UK so that your country, too, may experience our excellent recidivism rates. Oh, wait...

sparrow said...

Shaun, will you be posting a plug in player with a recording of this interview?

Anonymous said...

Will this University educated drug dealer be returning to crime? It certainly doesn't sound like it so it looks like Joe's techniques may have some merit.

Anonymous said...

Instead of relying upon the narrative of ONE PERSON, notliberal, you might want to look at the overall recidivism rates for Maricopa County. They're among the worst in the nation.

Jon said...

I did benefit from incarceration in certain ways, but from what I've seen, for the vast majority of prisoners, these jails and prisons in America have revolving doors.

Anonymous said...

The prison system in the US isn't designed to rehabilitate anyone. If it happens occasionally, it's accidental.

Shaun's lucky to have escaped anywhere near intact. I've seen the autopsy photos of people who were beaten to death in the jails while awaiting charges on minor infractions. Most people don't have their confidence bolstered or job skills honed by the fear that they could be murdered or allowed to perish in their cells for lack of insulin or other necessary medication. In fact, it could make a lot of people lose their minds. That's what makes Shaun's narrative so captivating--the fact that he was able to report the conditions inside the jails and not completely lose hope is exceptional and he should be commended for it.

I'm so, so happy and so relieved that you're doing well, Shaun. I would hate to see people try to prop you up as an example of how Arpaio's jails work to rehabilitate people.

sparrow said...

I agree 100% with everything jenny dreadful has stated, and then some.

Shaun is unique.

There is NO rehabilitation in the jails here and the effort to provide it is minimal. What programs ARE offered are archaic and redundant at best... to the tune of millions of dollars. Basic medical care is horrible and/or negligent if not entirely non-existent.

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

It seems like one thing prison does allow for is a period of forced isolation. It is merely the nature of the beast, nothing more. For some inmates, this is what is needed-I've heard some say it is life-saving, not because of any policies or lack thereof, but because in the case of addiction or alcoholism compounded by mental illness, trying to function in society becomes a losing game.

It seems like the success stories have a powerful motivation to change from within themselves, a good support system inside and out of prison and a realization that they've been given a second chance.

Anonymous said...

How many "University educated drug dealers" are in US prisons? You can bet it's highly probable that less than 1% of the prisoners in the US prisons (that are drug dealers) are "University educated". How likely is it that they even have high school diplomas or GEDs before going to prison? At the cost of millions of dollars and unnecessary multitude of lost lives, it certainly does NOT sound like Joe's techniques has ANY merit after all. People who support these types of conditions claim to be tough on crime and think they know what they are talking about but end up making fools of themselves. The true criminals do not care and will continue. The rest suffer unjustifiably and any change in attitude after release comes from them and those who support them.

P.S. I support the right to bear arms.