The Royo Romance (Part 27)

Royo Girl - An intelligent and attractive criminology graduate who used to visit me in prison. Whether her interest is based on love or she is writing a thesis on my criminality is an open question. She's presently visiting me in England.
1 Royo Girl outside of St. Paul's Cathedral
2 Trying to get my "mack on"
3 About to bite off Mike Hotwheelz's nose
4 Hotel-room yoga
Here's Royo Girl's version of the weekend:
As requested, I am writing my own account of my weekend in London with Shaun. In fact, readers should bear in mind that the level of accuracy will be much higher in the paragraphs following this one than in the "other version." And as all great stories do, I will start at the beginning.

My first day began very early for me (given that I am usually eight hours behind the UK) when I got off the plane and made my way to the hotel. As Shaun couldn’t bother to get up before 10am, I had to linger around the hotel until he arrived in the late afternoon. I have to admit that it was worth the wait, though. Seeing Shaun in the lobby felt incredibly natural, as though we hadn’t missed a beat in the year we hadn’t seen each other let alone been on the same continent.

Shaun and I walked about central London taking pictures of all the typical touristy places. We took a few together and even held hands. Awww… On the way back to our room, some crazy Englishman decided it would be a great idea to get some champagne at the local Tesco for the night. And the rest of the night would follow with similarly intelligent, well-thought-out ideas.

A night of pub hopping seemed to be in order. My counterpart didn’t seem to have the same stamina for caffeine and alcohol on par with myself, allowing the stimulants to go straight to his head and providing me with seemingly endless hours of entertainment. When I would do a shot of tequila, Shaun would do a "shot" of Apple Pucker. You can only imagine what other girly drinks were ordered and by who! We went from pub to pub for five hours. It was quite a bit of walking I must admit, but I didn’t mind so much. The amount of whinging that came out of Shaun’s mouth, one would have thought he was wearing the heels. Bloody hell! It was a fantastic night out, though.

Day two was equally as exciting with my introduction to Mike Hotwheelz. Without a doubt, Mike is one of the wittiest, funniest, and cheekiest little sods I’ve ever met. He made walking down to Soho the experience of a lifetime. I will never forget his description of Shaun: “… the sketchiest little sissy I’ve ever met.” HAHAHAHAHA! I will probably laugh about that for months to come.

The three of us sat down for a nice Italian meal in Soho whilst we watched punks and drag queens meander around the streets. I listened to tales of wildness and deviancy and days gone by. The boys ate their pizzas and I my pasta before we made our way back to the tube station to meet my friend Astro.

The streets of Soho on a Saturday night are pure madness. After collecting Astro, the gang of now four miscreants travelled back to the pubs, clubs, and wackadoos. Along the way, we watched the narrow pathways become so overcrowded with countless bodies that a man toppled over the construction fence. Rest assured that the man saved his beer, just not himself or the fence.

Mr. Hotwheelz led us down a back alleyway to what would normally have been a nice, quiet little pub. However, on this night, it was overrun by loud, American NFL fans. To think that I flew halfway round the world to find myself surrounded by Americans. What are the odds? Our gang of four quickly became five as we picked up a 6’5”, deep-voiced American with an extremely large build originally from New Orleans now living in Prague. Needless almost to say, he was interesting and highly entertaining. Although he dwarfed everyone, it was pure comedy to watch the ginormous American chat with five-foot Astro.

The night ensued with banter, beer, and whatever fruity ciders Shaun could find. After the second pub, the American rejoined his NFL hooligan troops and we made our way to a quiet pub with cheap booze. More laughter and wild tales from the boys as Astro and I watched from across the table. Around eleven, we all separated and called it a night.

Our Sunday was what any Sunday should be, relaxing and wholesome. We took more touristy pictures and even sat in for part of a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Shaun and I hung around Piccadilly Circus waiting for my friend Genevieve to arrive from work. We sat at the footsteps of the fountain, watching people as they went by doing all the peculiar things that they do.

Genevieve finally arrived at Piccadilly and we made our way to the northeast of London. Shaun rode his first double-decker bus in two decades. It’s moments like that when it feels like I am part of Shaun rediscovering the world after his incarceration. I’m glad that I’m able to be part of something so completely innocuous at face value and yet so meaningful when you put it all into the bigger picture. People take too many of the little things for granted until it is all ripped away one day.

Shaun and I enjoyed a fantastic Indian meal with my friend and her husband of Mauritius descent. There was discussion of foreign films and cultural differences between the East and West and between the English and Americans. The night ended with us all feeling as full and happy as water buffalos, and Shaun and I travelling back to the hotel, where I desperately struggled to fall asleep before 3am. I look forward to continuing the story now from Widnes, which I swear sounds like weirdness when Shaun says it.
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Shaun P. Attwood

26 Oct 08

The Royo Romance (Part 26)
Royo Girl - An intelligent and attractive criminology graduate who used to visit me in prison. Whether her interest is based on love or she is writing a thesis on my criminality is an open question. She's presently visiting me in England.
Click here for Part 25.

It’s midnight, October 26th and I’m hunched over a desk in Room 606 at Club Quarters. Vacant skyscrapers in London’s financial district surround the hotel.
On the double bed is Royo Girl. She is writing her own account of the time we have spent together in London so far, and giggling impishly.

Royo Girl flew from Tucson, Arizona two days ago. On Friday afternoon, before alcohol had entered into the equation, we engaged in typical tourist activity. Holding hands along the River Thames. Asking foreigners to take pictures of us standing by Tower Bridge. Stopping for pizzas opposite St Paul’s Cathedral.

But as the night sky enveloped London, Royo Girl’s darker side began to emerge. She suggested a pub crawl. The rules: walk for twenty minutes then have a drink in the first pub we come across. I agreed. This worked well for a while. Walking. Relaxing over a glass of dry white. Walking some more.
Then Royo Girl changed the rules: walk for twenty minutes, enter a bar, chug a shot, and keep walking. In the face of severe protests from my calf muscles – we’d been walking for close to five hours – I agreed.
I rarely do shots, so to lighten my throat’s burden, I ordered fruity shots, such as Apple Pucker. Royo Girl ordered Hornitos, and ridiculed my “sissy” drinking habits.

Other than brief shot-chugging stops, we power-walked Central London until my legs almost gave out. We breezed through Leicester Square, Covent Gardens, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. We passed many a tube station, rickshaw, and bus stop, all of which I looked at longingly, but Royo Girl insisted we keep walking.

We didn’t get back to the hotel room until 2am. Despite all of the wine and shots, we’d walked so much we could barely feel the alcohol – a situation we decided to remedy in a hurry. We downed a few bottles of fizzy wine from the local Tesco’s.
I finally passed out at around 6am. But I was only asleep for a few hours. Unable to sleep, Royo Girl had turned the TV on, and was watching SpongeBob SquarePants with the volume raised to a level only surpassed by her drunken cackles.
Annoyed but lacking the energy to throw the TV off the sixth-floor balcony, I feigned sleep and waited for an opportune moment to make my move. I didn’t have to wait long. Hearing Royo Girl breathing softly in the manner of a sleeping person, I tiptoed to the TV.
No sooner had I turned SpongeBob SquarePants off than Royo Girl’s eyes sprung open like a vampire’s. “What are you doing to SpongeBob SquarePants?”
“Bugger SpongeBob SquarePants! I’ve turned the TV off so I can sleep.”
“But I need the TV on to fall asleep. You shouldn’t be angry at funny Spongebob ’cause you’ve got issues.”
“Got issues! Like the rest of the world, I can’t sleep with the TV on.”
“I always fall asleep with the TV on.”
“That’s not normal. It’s staying off if you want me to function tomorrow.”
It stayed off and we slept until 2pm.

On Saturday night we were joined in publand by a college friend of Royo Girl’s, Astro, a Caribbean French woman living in London, and my friend, Mike Hotwheelz, another Brit expelled from America after imprisonment for drug charges. We were probably the only two ex-criminals out on the town with two criminologists that night.
Pleasant and mild-mannered Astro contrasted with hyperactive sharp-witted Hotwheelz who regaled us with various amusing anecdotes.
On the subject of my propensity for fruity alcohol, Hotwheelz said, “Shaun you’re the sketchiest sissy I’ve ever met.”
Laughing hard, Royo Girl managed to add, “That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.”

A few pubs later we were joined by Jeremy, a New Orleans Saint’s fan, six-six, and built big. Jeremy spoke with military loudness and was wreathed in Mardi Gras necklaces. He tagged along until his crew of equally drunken and loud football fans sent out a search party for him.

We returned to our hotel earlier that night. In Room 606, watching horror movies made us peckish, so we ordered a delivery of burgers and Pinot Grigio.

Other than the SpongeBob SquarePants incident, Royo Girl has and continues to be lovely company. Being around her feels perfectly natural. I appreciate her intelligence, sense of humour and her random outbursts of feistiness when her blood alcohol level rises.

Coming next: Royo Girl’s version of our weekend in London, and more pictures

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Shaun P. Attwood
26 Oct 08

Greetings from the Abyss by Jack (Part 3)

Before leaving Tucson prison, I asked Jack (a 49-year-old lifer whose encouragement led to my foray into short-story writing) if he would be willing to write for Jon’s Jail Journal. Sadly, Jack has been sick and suffering from depression. This is his first letter since March. Click here for his previous blog.


Dear Shaun,

And like a bolt of lightening out of a clear blue sky, there he was. Just when you were beginning to wonder if you would ever hear from me again, a letter appears as if by magic. Whether this anomaly is something to rejoice in, or cringe in fear, I will leave to your nimble mind to discern.

Although I haven’t mentioned it yet, let me say congratulations on winning 1st prize in the Koestler/Hamish Hamilton short story category. I never had a doubt that you would eventually get recognized for your work. I am proud of you because you are an example to the world that we prisoners aren’t all a bunch of bloodthirsty thugs. Your determination and ability will carry you to the top of the writing world. I am looking forward to one day ordering your first book.

As for me, what a sad little tale. I have been back and forth to the hospital several times since June. Nothing to worry about, just a gauntlet of invasive tests designed to make one question whether the cure isn’t worse than the disease. The hubris that the doctors exuded when I began this little journey seems to have waned considerably. Although it does occasionally re-emerge when I have the unmitigated audacity to question their treatment plan, or ask whether there could be interactions between the various drugs they are prescribing for me. Regardless, I am still up and about and I intend to stay that way.

I haven’t written anything in quite a while now. Most of my “creative talents” have been directed toward my paintings. I find the actual act of creating something visual to be uplifting. One could say it is cathartic (yes, I know it sounds like a cliché, so sue me), at least I am not despondent when I paint.

I recently found out that I will be a grandfather, again. This will be my fifth grandchild, and I still have another daughter that wants children when she graduates college. The numbers continue to climb, along with my gray hair and age.

I realise it’s not your kind of music, but I recently got my hands on a group called Wicked Tinkers. I guess the best way to describe them is a cross Celtic folk songs and Scottish Highland pipes. I can see you screwing up your face as if you’ve just tasted something foul. I really can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but this music stirs something in me. Maybe it’s the Scottish side of my genes, but I like it.

What do you think of the financial bootndoogle we’ve gotten ourselves into? There are so many people pointing fingers and laying blame that no one is facing the reality of just how devastating this fiasco will eventually be. Not only are fortunes being lost but the average family in this country is looking at losing their retirement accounts and foreclosure of their mortgages. One of my ex-wives invested her whole retirement account in General Electric, those shares were trading at $36 a month ago, they closed at $21 last Friday. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ve bottomed out yet. We could easily be looking at a devastating depression that will have far reaching consequences. What a wonderful system capitalism is.

Well, my friend, it’s time for me to close for now. Once again, I am very pleased with your success, but not surprised. I have every confidence that you will rise to the top of the publishing world, and well deserved that rise will be. Take care of yourself in that indomitable way only you can muster.



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Shaun P. Attwood
23 Oct 08

Reading in London and Mentor

My recent reading in London was a success.
New to public speaking, I arrived at the Royal Festival Hall so nervous I went straight to the men’s room. Passing the bar, I was tempted to order a glass of wine to assuage my anxiety. Instead, I reassured myself by recollecting how the chaplain at Towers jail, an Anglophile who delighted in my accent, used to insist I read passages from the Bible during mass. Audiences don’t get more unruly than that.

Standing behind the microphone, I managed to only tremble from the waist down as I read an abbreviated version of my short story “Amazing Grace.” Reading the dialogue was the most fun. The main characters in the story are a youngster, an Aryan Brother and a “shit slinger,” who constantly exchange obscene words and threats.

The audience (including Chris-H who bought me the glass of wine I'd wished for earlier – cheers Chris!) applauded, and some people complimented me on my oratory. When all of the readings were over, I stayed and answered questions until the room was closed.
The reading was videoed and I hope to have footage online soon.

Present at the reading was Sally Hinchcliffe, a published author who is now my mentor. I’ll be meeting her once a month for one year. I’ve asked her for help improving my writing and getting published. I like to work with tough no-nonsense people and she seems to fall into that category.

Here’s a link to her website:

The next day in London, I lunched with a friend from university, the Fair Surrah, at a delicious Indian buffet. Later that day, I stopped in Wolverhampton to visit Sarah, an ardent reader of Jon’s Jail Journal and a crime-story aficionado. Sarah rustled up a spicy vegetable curry. I could get used to travelling around the country being spoiled by the hospitality of people. Thanks Sarah and Surrah!

I also met the staff of Prisoners Abroad at their office in London. I had no idea of the scope of their activities. Their office is the first stop for prisoners returning to England who have no family, friends or means of support. They offer them a shower and help finding lodgings and employment. Without this help, many of these English citizens just out of foreign prisons would be back on the streets committing crimes to survive. Prisoners Abroad are doing a great job and I hope to be returning to London in November to help them with their fund-raising activity.

Tomorrow, I’m back to London for Royo Girl’s arrival. Yes, I will be blogging how things progress between us. And no, I don't think she's up for steamy hotel video footage.

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Shaun P. Attwood
22 Oct 08

From Frankie (Letter 10)

Frankie - A Mexican Mafia hitman and leader of prison "booty bandits" who has been proposing our gay marriage ever since he saw me rubbing antifungal ointment on my bedsored buttocks at the Madison Street jail. He was there on murder charges he subsequently beat. Now incarcerated in the super-maximum prison housing Arizona's death row.

Sept 28 2008


How are you doing? I hope in the best of whatever you wish and all of that good stuff…

As for me, I’ve been back here from Pima County jail since Sept 17 and everything in court went alright. They gave me an additional sentence of 4 ½ years with 387 days back time. Take nine months from that because I only have to serve 85%, which leaves me a little over 2 ½ years to serve. Thank God! I thought I was finished when they told me I was facing 40 years, and that I’d die here in prison. It’s over and it’s about me not messing about no more.

By the way, have you heard from Noelle and did you send her them cards? It’s been a couple of months since I heard from her. Oh well!

Guess what? I got my lawyer putting pressure on D.O.C. [Department Of Corrections] cuz these people don’t want to let me go back to a regular yard. I shouldn’t even be in super max.

Well, my friend, get back at me and don’t forget that Xmas is coming so save a little money so that you can help me out cuz I do want to order Xmas food.

Also, I have an Englandman next door to me. His name is Goff.

Well, I’m going to close for now. Take care and as always give my best to your Mom, Dad and Sister.

Much Love & Respect

You know!

Mr. Frankie

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Shaun P. Attwood
19 Oct 08

Fighting to Survive (by Shane)

Shane - After being denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs he financed with burglaries. The medication in prison caused him to suffer a period of spontaneous ejaculations. Shane is the author of the blog Persevering Prison Pages.

Sometimes even the most nonviolent and levelheaded person has to fight in prison. A fight-or-die situation will inevitably arise if you spend any length of time locked up. Oftentimes it’s not even your fight but a fight caused by STG’s [Security Threat Groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood] and their politics forced upon you.

I’ve worked in the kitchen numerous times over the years. At one point, I was with 13 other convicts working to prepare dinner for a yard of 450. The racial make up of the crew was six vatos, two blacks and five white boys. The whites and Latinos got along good. The blacks and whites or blacks and Latinos, not so much.

Oscar was a Latino shotcaller on the yard for La Emme [the Mexican Mafia]. Tommy Guns and Knuckles were torpedoes for the Aryan Brotherhood. The rest of us weren’t in the mix on the yard and simply did our own thing.

“Listen up, woods. Watch your back today, the toads are plannin’ something today,” Knuckles whispered to each of the white boys as we entered the kitchen at the start of the shift. There had been racial tension between the blacks and whites on the yard because of Motown, a new black on the yard.

Apparently, Motown ripped off an Aryan Brother for a pound of crystal meth in a drug deal on the streets. Now, the Aryan Brotherhood wanted Motown off of the yard and definitely out of the kitchen. Yeah, Motown was one of the two blacks working that day.

A couple of hours later, while I was washing pots, I watched Motown talking with the other black convict, then they both walked over to the tilt grill and began tending to the slop cooking.

Keeping a cautious eye on them, I noticed Motown’ grip tighten around the heavy handle of the stainless steel paddle used for mixing as Tommy Guns and Knuckles walked in their vicinity and headed towards the guards control room.

Looking back down at the pot I was washing, I missed Oscar and another Latino inmate quickly approach the two black guys.

In an instant, Oscar threw a barrage of punches, hitting Motown in the face and head while the other tow squared off with each other.

Motown absorbed the punches, staggered to the left, released the mixing paddle and ran directly towards my work area. With Oscar in pursuit.

Pot in hand, I stood as Motown rapidly approached and wildly swung a punch at me, which missed me altogether. Running into me, he began to wrestle with me. Suddenly, I felt a fist land on my left ear, causing stars to explode in my vision. Then I felt the two of us falling to the kitchen floor.

For what seemed like a few minutes, I wrestled with Motown on the floor. I ended up on top of him, and to my surprise, Oscar too. Somehow, Oscar had ended up entwined with us.

Now completely disoriented as to what was happening, I began throwing hard punches downward at Motown, whom I knew had punched me. Occasionally, a stray punch hit Oscar.

Rolling away from them toward the pot I had dropped at the onslaught of this melee, I grabbed it, swung it once at Motown as they both got to their feet. I could see the other black guy trading wild punches with the other Latino over Oscar’s shoulder.

Lunging at me, Motown tried to reengage me, but I swung the pot again, narrowly missing the top of his head.

Seizing the opportunity, Oscar swung a brutal punch, which landed flush on Motown’s jaw. Down he went.

Oscar kicked him at least ten times before turning towards the other black guy and heading to join that fight.

Looking down, I saw blood pooling around Motown’s head and took a step back. I dropped the pot in the sink as the guards flooded into the kitchen and pepper-sprayed Oscar and the other two fighters, who wouldn’t quit when the guards ordered them to stop fighting. I surrendered.

A few minutes after the fight had been stopped and all the inmates were zip-tied, each of us was seen by a nurse. Only Oscar and Motown needed medical care. Both of them had cuts and bruises on their face and head.

It turned out that the Aryan Brotherhood had asked for La Emme’s help instead of doing their own dirty work.

Tommy Guns and Knuckles conveniently located themselves with the guard, while the rest of the crew was unattended. They had known something would go down, but rather than the two blacks being up to something that day, it was them.

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Copyright © 2008 Shaun P. Attwood
20 Oct 08


I’m about to get the train from Runcorn to London, a two-and-a-quarter hour journey, because I am reading to an audience tonight at the Royal Festival Hall. Beginning at 7:55pm, I have 15 minutes to read “Amazing Grace,” my short story that won a first prize in the Koestler/Hamish Hamilton awards. Problem is, “Amazing Grace” is 16 pages long and takes over half an hour to read. So I’ve spent this week condensing the story down to 8 pages. According to my Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, my last practice reading came in at 14 minutes 23 seconds. And that includes a few things I want to say before I start. Like explaining that “wood” is what white prisoners call each other. And reading the story’s disclaimer, as it’s about a “shit slinger,” and is somewhat grotesque and obscene.

If you’re in London tonight, and that includes you Chris-H, you are welcome to join me for the reading. Further information is here:

Coincidentally, today, the day of my first reading, has seen the site meter at Jon’s Jail Journal rise above 500,000. I’d like to thank you all for continuing to read Jon’s Jail Journal and for supporting my friends inside.

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Shaun P. Attwood
19 Oct 08

When Everybody Wants You Dead

I was mentioned briefly in this recent article in The Guardian Weekly.
Oddly enough, the article also mentions Ray Krone, an innocent man who my attorney, Alan Simpson, helped save from death row.

Grisly tales of prison this week as we mark International Day Against the Death Penalty, writes website editor Anna Bruce-Lockhart

October 10 was International Day Against the Death Penalty, and to mark this significant event I thought I would point you towards a host of relevantly themed stories right here on this website.

But first, some news: only this week an appeal was rejected by the US supreme court to save the life of death row inmate Troy Davis. He was charged with the murder of a police officer more than 20 years ago, and a date is now being scheduled for his execution. This is going ahead in spite of there being no DNA evidence to link him to the killing, no murder weapon, and seven of the nine witnesses who originally testified against him having since recanted. I'm having trouble working out why this man absolutely must be killed.

One person who knows all about cruel twists of fate is Ray Krone. Arrested one night as he pulled up outside his home and charged with a murder he didn’t commit, he spent 10 years on death row. You can read an interview with him here. When I spoke to Krone over the phone what really struck me as he told his story was his lack of bitterness – he didn’t even seem angry with the man who got him wrongly convicted, a prosecutor who knew there was evidence to prove him innocent but called for his execution anyway.

For a taste of what it’s like to do time in an Arizona prison, and for those of you with a strong stomach, why not take a look at the harrowing story of Shaun Attwood, a British stockbroker charged with drug offences while in the US. He spent two years in an especially rough county jail being crawled over by cockroaches and venomous spiders, and fed a red-hued slop whose only easily identifiable ingredients were human and animal hair. Well worth a read. Honestly.

The US ranks fifth in the whole world for the number of executions it carries out, but the vast majority of sanctioned deaths take place on the other side of the Pacific. China executes more people each year than all other countries in the world combined. Iran isn’t far behind. In a country where sodomy is punishable by death, homosexual men make up a significant portion of those put to death each year. Here you can read our interview with an Iranian man who narrowly escaped execution for being gay.

Anti-death penalty campaigners are great, aren’t they? And none more so than the heroic Clive Stafford Smith, who is also a human rights lawyer who provides free legal aid to prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. He, in a cheering conclusion to this collection of grisly death stories, gives an account of what it’s like to ‘kick the asses’ of corrupt justice systems and defend death row inmates who can’t afford to pay for legal aid.

Here’s the link to the article:

To read what I wrote about Ray Krone’s case and how the State of Arizona purposefully set up an innocent man to be executed click here:

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Shaun P. Attwood
18 Oct 08

Royo Girl Responds To Your Comments

Royo Girl - An intelligent and attractive criminology graduate who used to visit me in prison. Whether her interest is based on love or she is writing a thesis on my criminality is an open question. She's flying from Tucson to visit me for my birthday week in October.

From today’s phone conversation with Royo Girl:

“You did get some adverse comments last week,” I said. “Especially from Zqwerty who recognises you as a user.”
“Zqwerty doesn’t recognise anything at all,” Royo Girl said. “He doesn’t know me. He’s just speculating from the side. He should not be such a bitter man. Anything else he says isn’t worthy of a response from me.”
“That’s a bit harsh isn’t it? I don’t think I should blog your last two sentences.”
“He called me a cock-teasing bitch! I think you should leave it in.”
“Jessica Lynn defended you at least.”
“She did, and I thanked her in my comment.”
“What about the person who asked if you’d been to Melbourne?”
“No. I have not, but I have done research into Australia and I think it’s a good fit for me.”
“Sue from Hull defended you, and wishes you a great time in England.”
“She’s obviously a very intelligent woman. That’s very apparent in what she said about Zqwerty.”
“Jason thinks you’re using me for career purposes, you’re noncommittal, but I shouldn’t necessarily stay away from you.”
“Given that I haven’t used you to further my career should speak volumes about myself and my honourable intentions with you. I am noncommittal due to the massive distance between us. If we were in the same country, we may find ourselves in an entirely different situation.”
“Then Zqwerty added a later comment saying you have ulterior motives and you’re doing things for your own reasons.”
“You don’t just do things to do them. You do them because it’s part of a greater scheme. Because you want something.”
“Now we’re entering into an area of philosophy. Do we all act selfishly? Even Mother Teresa, when she helped people, did she do so because she enjoyed helping them so much, thus giving herself what she wanted?”
“It’s the same with you. If you didn’t want something, you wouldn’t be entertaining the thought of seeing me either.”
“That covers the comments. Anything you’d like to add?”
“I thank the readers for their input – at least most of them. I think the world could do without the name calling and negativity.”
“Didn’t you just add to the negativity with what you said about Zqwerty?”
“It’s only fair for me to defend myself. There’s no need for his nasty remarks.”

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Shaun P. Attwood
Video: Aryan Brother Slays Inmate In Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Jail

Here’s a video of inmate, Robert Cotton, getting murdered by Aryan Brother, Pete Van Winkle, at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Fourth Avenue jail. The day after the murder, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release, including this statement, "Nothing out of the ordinary appeared to be happening in or around that cell."
This lie was obviously fabricated to protect the guards asleep at the surveillance screens. It took twenty minutes after the attack began for the guards to respond.
Aryan Brother, Pete Van Winkle, was at the jail on a murder charge. He’d come from a supermaximim prison and should never have been housed in the same custody level as Robert Cotton. This is yet another example of how the gangs are running Arpaio’s jail, and certainly not the staff.

Click here for my jail survival tips
15 Oct 08

Real Prison Fight: Warrior v Big E. (by Warrior Part 2)

Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce.Part 1 left off with Warrior arriving at Buckeye prison and Big E. taking an immediate dislike to him.

I was on the push-up station doing some sets with a guy named Gangster. Just then Big E. and Ghost walked up. They started small talk with Gangster and asked to join in a couple of sets. Then the hostility talk began:“I can’t stand fuckin’ chumps on this yard,” Big E. said, glancing at me.
I was watching him out of the corner of my eye as I did my set. I could tell it was directed at me.
“I hear ya, dawg,” Gangster said, unaware I was the target of Big E.’s hostility. “But that’s a part of doing time.”
“A lot of dudes think they can hold their own or fight,” Big E. said. “Chumps just wrestle and can’t scrap. There are very few dudes here that can fuck me up.”

Later, I found out that a few other faces that knew me from other yards had spread the word that I knew some martial arts and I was a good fighter. These faces saw me before I ran into them. This is where the wrestling comment from Big E. came from.

“What’s up Big E.,” I said.
“Nothing,” he said, shaking his head and scowling, still giving the air of, I don’t like you. Big E. turned to Gangster: “You think you can take me?”
Unsure whether Big E. was serious or not, Gangster laughed the question off.
“Ghost can’t take me,” Big E. said. When he glanced at me everyone became silent.
I knew what was coming next so I decided to beat him to the punch. “Well, I guess that only leaves me, right? I can take you,” I said calmly and with the utmost confidence.
I could tell by the look on his face he was surprised. Right then, I knew Big E. wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of being called out. I’d removed him from his comfort zone. Part of the battle was already won, I thought.
Gangster and Ghost looked at each other curiously, aware and alert that the situation had just escalated. They just weren’t sure whether the event would explode right then and there or elsewhere.
“Is this vato fuckin’ serious?” Big E. asked the question as if he were in shock that someone would challenge him.
“Hell yeah, I’m serious,” I said firmly.
“Alright then. I never turn down a challenge. But what are we gonna fight for?”
“We’re gonna fight for bragging rights and fun. Just general purposes, baby. You know: GP,” I answered in a cold detached tone, my mindset switching into battle mode.
“Where we gonna do this?” he asked.
“Gangster chimed in, “Not in the cells. Roberts’ working the control tower today. He watches everything.”
“In the Octagon. Take it there,” Ghost said.
“Yeah, we’ll do it in the Octagon after rec,” Big E. said and walked away with Ghost.

We called the handicap shower (Shower 1) the Octagon. It was in a blind spot the control-tower officers couldn’t see. It was 15 by 15 feet and designed to accommodate wheelchair-bound inmates. The population called it the Octagon because everyone went there to handle their problems with each other. It’s anyone’s guess as to how much blood was spilt there, or rather, mopped up.

“What the fuck was all that about?” Gangster asked.
“Fuck that motherfucker! He’s been eye-fucking me all rec.”
“Man…that shit just came outta nowhere.”
“Hey, I’m gonna walk a few laps. I don’t wanna burn up all my energy. Can you handle the details to get us out of our cells to fight?” I asked,
“I’ve got you covered, dawg. I’m gonna get at JJ.”

Gangster went to talk with JJ, the building barber. JJ's job gave him the privilege to let the C.O. know which cell he needed open to let whomever’s hair he was cutting come out. He was one of a few guys you’d go and talk to if you needed your cell door open for whatever reason.

Rec was over, so I headed inside to lock-down.
I was in my cell when JJ came to my window. He already knew what was up. “Hey, homeboy. I heard. Gangster got at me. This is what we’re gonna do. I’ll pop your door. Go down and sit in the chair and I’ll pretend to clean your hair up. Take your towel, then pretend to hit the showers, but hide in Shower 5. I’ll get the Octagon open, and pop out Big E.. Give me a few minutes. When I say it’s cool, come down and go in and handle your business. He’ll be in there. I’ll keep point to make sure no cops come. If you hear me whistle, be cool ’cause the cops are comin’. I’ll be back in ten minutes.”
“Alright, I got it,” I replied.

Fights are dangerous in prison, especially in cells. Steel lockers, desks, beds, all with sharp edges that you could trip and hit. You don’t know whether the dude will pull out a piece of steel (shank) on you – or afterwards because he couldn’t stand losing. Back in the days, you’d win some and lose some but hold no grudges. These days, too much ego never lets anything die down. Even prison isn’t immune from narcissism.
If I was glad for one thing about the Octagon, it was to be fighting in an open space.

I got ready in my own way. Took my shirt off, so I couldn’t get grabbed by the shirt, have it pulled over my head, or get blood on it. Put my rec shorts on; long enough to protect my legs but short enough so as not to restrict my movement like pants would. Tied my shoelaces tight, so my shoes had no possibility of falling off through all the tussling. Then drank a thick shot of coffee for the boost.
Just then my door popped…

Does Warrior have the skills to smash Big E. in the Octagon?

Click here for Warrior v Big E. Part 3

Email comments to or post them below
Shaun Attwood
Free Mike Hunter: John McCain Letter Writing Campaign

14 Oct 08

So far no media help has been forthcoming for Mike Hunter, so I am starting a letter writing campaign in the hope that John McCain, the senior United States Senator from Arizona, will attend to the plight of this mentally-ill Vietnam vet stuck in Arizona’s prison system beyond his release date.

If you wish to help Mike, then please send a postcard, fax or a short letter to John McCain demanding he address the issue of Mike Hunter:

John McCain
United States Senate
241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-2235
Fax: 202-228-2862

Or if you’d prefer to send John McCain an email, here’s the link:

And don’t forget to include Mike’s full information:

Michael Hunter 044273
ASPC-Tucson, Manzanita Unit
PO. Box 24401
Tucson, AZ 85734-4401

For more information about Mike’s plight, and his written requests for help to John McCain click here for what I posted last week.

Thank you for helping Mike!

Email comments to or post them below

Shaun P. Attwood
11 Oct 08

The Royo Romance (Part 25)

Royo Girl - An intelligent and attractive criminology graduate who used to visit me in prison. Whether her interest is based on love or she is writing a thesis on my criminality is an open question. She's flying from Tucson to visit me for my birthday week in October.
Click here for Part 24.

From yesterday’s phone conversation with Royo Girl:

“You caused quite a stir in the comments section last week,” I said.
“I’m just glad none of your readers made cutting remarks,” Royo Girl said, “like some of them have in the past.”
“I think it’s a love-hate relationship.”
“Yes, depending upon the angle you put on me.”
“And what angle would you like?”
“Are you getting sexual, Shaun?”
“Oh God no, that just came out funny. Your comment last week about us not leaving the hotel room must be on my mind.”
“I’m gonna make you leave the hotel room with me! It’ll be nice to walk around London with you.”
“Which parts of London do you fancy us walking around?” I asked.
“Central London. By Tower Bridge. Millennium Bridge. The River Thames. I want you to untaint my view about London.”
“I was down there last week. I really want to move down there. There’s such a great atmosphere. Perhaps you should do your master’s degree down there.”
“I’m gonna do my master’s in Australia.”
“In what?”
“You still want to be an FBI agent like Clarice Starling?”
“I want to do analytical research involving crime syndicates.”
“Oh boy!”
“I’d be investigating people like you.”
“Arresting people like me!” I said. “Bring some handcuffs and we can practice.”
“You’re so naughty, Shaun.”
“What uni in Australia will you go?”
“Melbourne. I have the application and I’ve contacted an old professor for a reference.”
“Are you still finding the Australian accent sexier than the British?”
“Oh yeah,” Royo Girl said slowly, as if under the influence of an Australian accent.
“Oh yeah! Where does that leave me?”
“I like you as a person, Shaun, so the British accent is a mute point. Although it is better than the American accent.”
“So I’m still in the running then?”
“Say I fall madly in love with you when you come to England and I want to run off to Australia with you?”
“Then we’ll make lots of little Shauns.”
I giggled. “Are you broody?”
“Just the other week my friend had a baby.”
“How did that make you feel?”
“I know I’m not ready, but I do want one.”
“Won’t that affect this power career in criminology you’ve got planned?”
“I can do both. Especially if I have a good husband.”

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Shaun P. Attwood
09 Oct 08

Women in Prison: From Andrea (Letter 1)

Andrea is a 28-year-old Scottish woman. After suffering years of domestic violence, Andrea was arrested for attempting to murder her partner. The attempted murder charge was subsequently dropped to wounding and she is due to be sentenced next Monday.
Andrea is writing from a women’s prison in England. It is my hope that she will become a regular contributor to Jon’s Jail Journal

As a first time prisoner I was really frightened, as I didn’t have a clue as to how the system worked, or how to work the system. My first steps inside my new home were scary, especially the looks of all of those women. I was wondering if I would fit in or not. I had to figure out who was the leader of the pack.

Living with all sorts of women is far from easy. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, ages, nationalities and mental states.
The so-called lesbians – really all they are are swingers – try their luck as soon as you walk through the gates for the first time. I never even got time to unpack my things and it had started. I am just so lucky to be as strong-willed as I am to brush them off. They soon got the hint, but they still like to try their luck as time goes on “just in case.”

Finally, you get settled into your cold cell, then all you hear are door knocks and, “How are you? What are you in for?”
All you want is peace is quiet. But you have to talk because you just don’t know what’s around the corner! It isn’t long before you get the gist of it, you don’t have a choice.

In my case it was easy as I got along with everyone, and I will never get involved in any backstabbing as that’s what causes trouble. Women are the world’s worst at that. Men fight their problems out, whereas women bitch and it never stops no matter what the situation.
There’s always the one woman with the big hard mouth, the gift of the gab. But I sussed her out from day one. She's like that because she's scared and lives in fear. Sad really.

I sit and watch all of them – “checking them out” as I say – to see who is really who. Mostly drug addicts. Loud and full of it! Thinking they are big and nobody will question them. They forget that there is always somebody who will do just that.
From what I’ve seen so far the older generation are the dangerous ones. Devious, malicious old women who hunt for the young vulnerable prisoners and bully them into giving them tobacco, etc. It’s funny in a way watching a woman old enough to be your grandmother getting banged up for 28 days for being a bully.

Meal times. It’s like sitting at a table full of animals. It’s disgusting! Food falling from their mouths. Talking while eating, which leads to getting sprayed with food. I choose to eat in my cell, with manners at that. If I did sit at the table, I think I would be sick.

Personal hygiene. I know we are all in prison, but that doesn’t mean to say that you have to stop having a wash! Some of the prisoners seem to have forgotten how it’s done. As for the state of the shower rooms, I wouldn’t let a dog in them! Dirty used sanitary wear lying on the floor. Blood all over the toilet. Unflushed toilets. I just feel for the cleaners.

Thanks for reading my first blog!


As this is Andrea’s first letter for Jon’s Jail Journal, your comments and questions would be appreciated. If you wish to write to Andrea then email me your name and address. She does not have Internet access, so I will mail your comments and emails to her.

Also, I am starting a letter writing campaign for Mike Hunter (Slingblade). I'll be posting more about that with John McCain's address in Washington to Jon's Jail Journal on Monday.

Email comments to or post them below

Shaun P. Attwood
07 Oct 08

John McCain Snubs Mentally Ill Vietnam Veteran In Home State Of Arizona
Two years ago, presidential nominee John McCain started receiving pleas for help from Mike Hunter, a mentally ill Vietnam vet eligible for parole who didn’t have the competency or outside help of family and friends to facilitate his release from Tucson prison.
In 2007, Mike Hunter received a response from John McCain acknowledging his office was investigating the matter, requesting more information and pledging to do whatever he could for Mike Hunter. Mike Hunter showed me the letter. Mike was unusually cheerful that day and sure that John McCain, a fellow Vietnam veteran and a former prisoner of war, would cut through the red tape to facilitate his release.
Mike Hunter waited patiently but no help from John McCain ever arrived. Mike Hunter has now been in prison for almost 2½ years past his release date of April 12 2006. Here is the link to Mike Hunter’s information at the Arizona Department of Corrections showing his parole release eligibility:

Mike Hunter suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder (as a consequence of his military service in Vietnam) and schizophrenia. John McCain’s status as prisoner of war made news headlines, whereas the public is oblivious to the plight of Mike Hunter. With no family or resources to help facilitate his release, Mike Hunter is trapped in the prison system. He risked his life in Vietnam out of love for America and was honourably discharged. Back in America, he got in an altercation with his father-in-law who died. Up against the vast resources of the State of Arizona and railroaded by a promotion-hungry prosecutor, Mike didn’t stand a chance in court. He was convicted of 1st Degree Murder and served twenty years for this crime in a prison system notorious for neglecting the needs of the mentally ill.

Staff at the Arizona Department of Corrections who were supposed to have prepared and processed Mike Hunter’s release package have failed to do so every year since 2006, showing not only their incompetence but also a complete disregard for Mike Hunter’s freedom.
Mike Hunter has paid his debt back to society, and it’s time for someone in society who cares more about the plight of Vietnam vets than John McCain apparently does to help him obtain the freedom that should have been his on April 12 2006.
Shame on you, John McCain.

“The mentally ill are some of the most tragic cases inhabiting the U.S. prison system.”
– Alan Elsner Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons

If you are in a position to help Mike Hunter then please email me at the address below. If you know a person or organisation that may be able to help Mike Hunter then please forward the link to this blog entry to them. There must be someone out there who can help remedy this injustice.
Email comments to or post them below

Shaun Attwood
04 Oct 08

Job & Reading

I just returned from Harley Street, London where I met the owner of a counselling and education services company. He offered me a job travelling around England speaking to thousands of young people about my life experiences in the hope of alerting them to the dangers of drug use. This is a good karma thing to do, so I am going for it.
He said the average age of the audience is 17 (almost at the age when I popped my first Ecstasy pill), and the average audience size is 150. I will be speaking for an hour total per presentation, divided into 40 minutes about my life, and then a 20-minute question and answer session. He wants the 40 minutes about my life divided into three sections: the events that led up to my crimes, what I actually did, and what the consequences were.
So if all goes well, the youth of England will soon be hearing about Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s red death, green bologna, pink boxer shorts, and las cucarachas. Having this blog will help because they’ll be able to check out Jon’s Jail Journal for themselves, which should further hammer the message home.

I shall be returning to London on the 20th of October to do my first reading. I am a guest at the Koestler Exhibition in the Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall. I shall be reading some of my story “Amazing Grace,” which won first prize in the Koestler/Hamish Hamilton awards short story fiction category.
Admission is free. Here’s the specific information:

Monday 20 October 7:30 – 9:30pm
Blue Room, Spirit Level
Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX
Switchboard: +44 (0)871 663 2501
Ticket Office: +44 (0)871 663 2500

Poetry and fiction by offenders. Reading by Koestler Award judges and Not Shut Up, a magazine of writing from London prisons. Admission free. No ticket required.

I don’t yet know the exact time I’ll be doing my reading, but I will post further information when it becomes available.

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Shaun P. Attwood