Wild Man's Hooch Causes Chaos

Wild Man - My large and fearless raving partner from my hometown. He looked out for me after we were arrested, and is one of the main characters in my jail memoir. His first day at Buckeye prison, he knocked out the head of the whites in his dorm, so the Aryan Brotherhood put him in charge, and authorised him to brew hooch.

“So how did your first batch of hooch almost cause a race riot?” I asked.

“In prison, you’re supposed to stick with your own race,” Wild Man said. “The gang leaders tell you you can’t break bread with the other races.”

“Explain that a bit for the public.”

“You can’t share food with the other races. You can’t buy drugs from them. But everyone does, especially once you meet some alright guys from the other races. The Chicanos always back up the whites if there’s a race riot against the blacks, and the paisas back up the blacks.”

In Arizona, the four main racial categories are blacks, whites, Chicanos and paisas. The Chicanos are descended from Mexico, but born in America. The paisas are Mexicans born in Mexico. For a more in-depth account of the history of these gangs, including the ongoing war between the paisas and Chicanos, click here to read Warrior’s blog.

“A member of another race can’t sit on my bed under any circumstances,” Wild Man said. “I’m not supposed to sit with the other races and get drunk. But I have a friend who’s a Chicano, Casper, who was getting drunk with me, mind you he’s not sat on my bunk. He’s sat on a chair by my bunk. A white guy, Adam, is sat on my bunk. Me and Adam are messing around, stabbing one other in the arm with a pen. The deal was to see if you could get the pen in just enough to make it stand up, but obviously not get half the pen in. We were just drunk, you know.”

“Yes, sounds about right for you, Wild Man.”

“The youngsters were getting rowdy, all kinds of horseplay among themselves, getting drunk on my hooch. A Chicano youngster threw his mate on the floor, and a white youngster said, ‘Fuck that! I wouldn’t have anyone do that to me!’
The other Chicano lad said to the white youngster, ‘Shut the fuck up, you little punk. You know where the baño is. It’s chingaso time.’
The white youngster stood up, and looks at me ’cause I’m the head of the whites.
I said to him, ‘Go handle your business, and next time don’t even wait for approval. If anyone ever calls you a punk, you hit on sight.’
The youngster goes to handle his business in the bathroom.
Now Casper, the Chicano who’s getting drunk with me, is the head of the Chicanos. And Adam, the white guy stabbing me with the pen, says to Casper, ‘Fuck you, wetback!’ completely out of the blue.”

“Are these pretty big guys?”

“Adam’s about my size. Works out a lot. Has WHITE PRIDE on his chest in German. Doing time for hate crimes. Casper’s small, but stocky. Works out a lot. Has BROWN PRIDE on his belly. Casper jumped up, and hit Adam where he was sat on my bed. Adam fell back, and hit his head on the metal bunk. They were fighting in my house, so I got out of the way. I grabbed my TV, so it didn’t get knocked off the shelf.
Meanwhile, the two youngsters have finished fighting in the bathroom. They’re leaving, so Casper and Adam go to the bathroom to fight. But the Chicano youngster who’s leaving walks towards them as if he’s gonna do something, so I grab him, and throw him up against a wall. The white youngsters see this, and automatically want to fight. They’re taught to protect their head. That’s how they earn their ink. If there’s a confrontation like this, the ones who show heart will get tattoos. The Chicano youngsters are getting ready as well, so it looks like a riot is going to go off.
I say to the white youngsters, ‘Don’t boot up! It’s cool.’”

“Please explain that for the public.”

“No matter where you are or what you’re doing, if the head of a race shouts ‘Boot up!’ then the work boots go on ’cause they’ve got a rubber grip, and the sneakers are too slippy for fighting. They get their stash of shanks out, and it’s out-and-out war. They strap National Geographic magazines on their stomach and arms for body armour.
So it’s all going pear-shaped in the dorm. The cops are looking. There’s peeps stood at the window trying to block the cops’ view, but you can’t block it completely. I’m telling the youngsters, ‘Boot down!’
The Chicano youngsters are still booting up. Casper’s telling them, ‘There’s no problem. Leave it.’
One of their youngsters says, ‘Fuck that! The woods are booting up, so are we.’
Both me and Casper are yelling, ‘Everything’s alright. Boot down.’
The blacks are tripping now. They’re grouped up in a corner.
The white youngsters are drunk and looking for trouble. One says, ‘What’s the blacks fucking problem?’
Then all the youngsters who’ve booted up, whites and Chicanos, start getting ready to go and smash the blacks.
Casper says, ‘No go!’
I yell, ‘No go unless they say anything!’
Then everything settles down. The blacks are OK. The paisas are OK. The chiefs are cool. Everything’s OK, except the dorm has drunk so much hooch, I don’t have enough to pay the Aryan Brotherhood.”

“How much did you owe them?”

“They’d approved me to brew the hooch provided I paid them twenty percent, which in this case was five bottles out of twenty-five. Only I didn’t have five, I only had three left.”

“Uh oh.”

In Wild Man's next blog, he has to answer to the Aryan Brotherhood for the missing hooch.

Click here for Wild Man's previous blog.

Post comments for Wild Man below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood
Book News, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Xmas Antics and More Nonsense From Germany

It's the two-year anniversary of my release, and I've been in Germany for over a week. I just received the best possible Xmas present from my literary agent. His email began: "The good news is that you will be a published writer." Not only has he found a publisher for my jail memoir, the publisher belongs to the biggest publishing company in the world, which is, incidentally, owned by Germans.

With this publisher behind me, I can really rip the roof off Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail system. It also opens the door for the stories of the prisoners I write about. I'd like to do them as seperate books.

My agent said the earliest my jail memoir will be in the bookstores is September.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is up to his usual Xmas antics. He's forcing 8000 inmates in the Maricopa County jail system to listen to Xmas songs all day long for the duration of the holiday season. Arpaio claims to have chosen music from all faiths, and for agnostics he has selected songs by the Chipmunks.
Citing the music as cruel and unusual punishment, inmates have filed six lawsuits against it. A reporter for the Phoenix New Times pointed out that the practice of forcing people to listen to "crappy music" is used by the military for interrogation purposes. "For example, the U.S. military blared Metallica music at detainees in Guantanamo Bay with the intention of breaking them down psychologically."

Yet another pregnant woman has suffered abuse by Arpaio's guards. The woman was arrested while nine months pregnant. She gave birth while shackled to a bed, and wasn't allowed to hold her baby. She was told that if no one came to collect the child within 72 hours, the baby would be turned over to state custody.

Before I get into my adventure in Germany, I'd like to post a quote from Iron Man's latest letter that I found inspirational: "I am glad to hear about the progress you are making on all fronts. Perseverence and single-minded determination will carry the day. Remember that all great battles are won in the general's tent. So stick to your plan, dwell deeply in the present moment, and live life in every breath."

I wrote the nonsense that follows especially for those of you in a cold part of the world this Xmas.

20th December 09

I'm sat next to Kathi on the Deutsche Bahn train back to Halle. We just spent the weekend at her parents' house in a 1075-year-old village in the state of Thüringen, population 5500, where no English people have dared to tread since World War II. The village is in a mountainous region, and the temperature low was minus 18°C. Kathi is wearing five pairs of socks. A sense of feeling is returning to my feet, but I still can't feel my toes.
Kathi is sipping Holunderlikör – a liquor brewed by her friend, Netti, who shares a house in the village with numerous ferrits. Kathi's recommending I take a drink to put some warmth back into my body. Mmmm, it tastes sweet.

Upon arrival, I demanded to take a good look around the village. Venturing out in my Russian hat and thermals, the cold sent my exposed facial skin into shock. It took about ten minutes to lose all feeling in my feet, and a bit longer for my gloved hands to start to go. So we ended up hiding from the cold in the house occupied by Netti and her ferrits, with names such as Maya and Katis, who repeatedly tried to sneak up the inside of my jeans, no doubt aiming to steal that last store of heat between my legs.

Unlike most Germans I've met, Kathi's dad, Eberhard, actually smiles a lot. Her mum, Jördis, cooked some wonderful food. They live in a hundred-year-old building formerly occupied by priests. There is a Catholic church to one side, and a Protestant church to the other whose bell rang every fifteen minutes, including all night long.

Many years ago, one church was occupied by monks and the other by nuns. Village folklore has it that a tunnel running under Kathi's parents' house joins the two. That a nun and a priest, Lioba and Bertram to be precise, used the tunnel to consummate their love until a rival for Lioba, Urban, caught them in the act and stabbed them to death. Fleeing the crime scene, Urban fell off a mountain and perished. And deservedly so. Now the threesome haunt a local forest at midnight, Lioba and Bertram making all kinds of ghostly wails as Urban continues to keep them apart.

Kathi's parents speak only German, so our conversations were mostly translated by Kathi's brother, Jürgen – a 27-year-old computer genius who shows no signs of facial hair and resembles a 15-year-old Bill Gates: a youthful appearance that will undoubtedly come in handy when he's older but is presently preventing him from losing his virginity. The parents took good care of me, ensured my vegetarian needs were catered for, and Eberhard kindly insisted on us venturing out into the white yonder so he could buy Kathi and me additional layers of clothes from the outlet in the neighbouring village.
The evening meal was a dry one. Cheese with big holes in it like you see in cartoons. Brown bread, and I mean dark-brown bread that takes a serious amount of time to chew, real bread, bread for real men, bread liable to put hairs on the chest of a food softie like me. Chewing the bread, meditating on its taste, gave me flashbacks to the brewers yeast tablets I loved as a child. Tablets that no other children liked. The German mouth must be well adapted to this bread, as I was still masticating long after the others had stopped. Almost twice as long. Or perhaps it just felt like that.

The German foodstuffs combined with Karamalz Malzbier (a tasty non-alcoholic malt beer) had a strange and immediate effect on my digestive system. I found myself in the awkward position of having to hold a fart in for the duration of the first meal. The toilet was right next to the dining room, so close to where we were sat in fact that I didn't dare go in to remedy the situation as I feared the fart would be heard. For the entire after-dinner chatting that stretched to over an hour, my ability to clench the muscle between my legs was constantly tested by rising internal pressure. When it got to the point where I actually thought I could feel my midsection inflating, I had to risk slipping some out before I had an accident. Thankfully, it emerged when Eberhard was saying something particulary guttural - as Germans are prone to do - and at a volume that only I perceived.

Last night, I had my first sleep walking experience. Apparently, I got up around 3am and started searching my tiny bed and the floor. When the commotion woke Kathi up on her seperate tiny bed, I demanded the flashlight from her, yanked up my mattress, and illuminated below it.
"What are you doing?" Kathi asked, rubbing her eyes.
"I dropped my email."
"I must find my email."
"Are you dreaming?"
"Do you have my email?" I yelled in such a nasty voice Kathi was afraid.
"Shaun, you dream."
On the floor I found a piece of wood the size of an ID card, scrutinized it for a few seconds, turned to Kathi and said, "Is this my email?"
"No, Shaun. It is a little wood."
"Why did you give me this shit!" I yelled in an even nastier voice than earlier. "You have my email!"
"You are dreaming, Shaun. Wake up."
"I must go the toilet."
"Please leave the door open," Kathi said, fearing I'd invade her parents' bedroom on my quest for the email.
Sat on the toilet – Kathi had previously instructed me to never stand and pee into this particular toilet, to sit only, or as she put it: "You pee like that is no nice for my mum. You sit or clean the toilet with your tongue!" – I realised who and where I was. I came back, apologised, and Kathi went and reheated my hot-water bottle.
My behaviour in the night armed Kathi with enough material to regale her family members with the story several times. They all had a good laugh at it, and seemed to overlook that their daughter's boyfriend is starting to show signs of the onset of insanity.

My final meal in the village was a Sunday dinner that stretched my stomach well beyond capacity. We ate potatoes grown in the garden I couldn't see due to all of the snow. They were a golden colour, and served with parsley on them. Absolutely delicious, and a credit to the boiling skills of Jördis. There was a veg medley heavy on peas (my favourite). And veggie burgers Kathi brought from Halle that raised a few eyebrows from the devourers of meatballs and bratwurst. But saying that, I must give them their due: Jürgen and Eberhard did actually try the veggie burgers, and when questioned as to whether they liked them, they nodded in that expressionless way unique to Germans that comes in handy at the poker table.

Anyway, bye for now. I can finally feel my toes again. I'm wondering whether the heater in the carriage or the Holunderlikor got there first.
"The likor has given me warm feets," Kathi just said, resting my mind.

Merry Xmas from Halle, Leipzig (where Xmas begins on the 24th and is the day presents are exchanged)! Thank you for supporting our friends inside! I wish you all a wonderful New Year! With the book coming out, it certainly should be an interesting year for Jon's Jail Journal.  

Click here for The Christmas Spirit of Two Tonys

Click here to read about my last Christmas in prison

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.
Shaun P. Attwood
The Joe Arpaio Jail Experience (by Guest Blogger Michael)

Michael served in the United States Marine Corps for four years, and then went through the San Diego Police Academy. 

This is just a tale of a 24-hour stint. Luckily for me the prosecution lacked intelligent organization and I had one of the state’s best attorneys, Jeffrey Mehrens.

First off, I was arrested in my front yard for drunk driving. The police report was one big construed lie from the initial arrest, and then, after I lost my cool, and called the arresting officer a "candy ass," and said that he was too fat to be a cop, I ended up at the Madison Street jail, lost in the system

It took thirteen hours to process me. I was bounced to twelve different cells. From extreme cold to heat. From sitting room to standing room only.

Then there was a bus ride over to the tent side. From the tent side, it took about four hours of more processing. I was transferred to two cells and to finally make it to Tent City at 3am. The temperature was about 47 to 43 degrees for the three and half hour stay. They gave us one sheet, because they were out and we literally froze our asses off. The tents were well equipped with the Arpaio vending machines - use at your own risk of course - and a restroom facility that was soaked in urine. There was a hill, and for some reason the female guard had to say, “Get off the hill! It is not a hang out!” for what seemed like ever half hour.

As   The sun was coming up, they transferred us to Lower Buckeye jail with a nice little nature walk. I was inserted into the we-are-kicking-you-out-of-Tent-City process. Here we - a team of six of us that traveled the entire process and for the most part landed in the same cells - eventually made it out, after being put in four more cells, with again only standing room or sitting room depending on the cell.  

        We received one meal and no drinks. Two pieces of bread, a chunk of sandwich meet, some cookies and a fruit that wasn’t even close to being ripe. The water was broken in one of our cells that we ended up staying in for four hours in, however the hot water worked, but again it was too hot! I had one thin sheet for 45 degree weather.

        Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies for the most part were rejects of the military, for they all lacked social skills and humane manners with the exception of one female that I encountered.

·       I paid good money for that tour, $500 to be exact, and saw how living conditions in the United States could be so inhumane. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made it clear that the only way to educate our society is through negative reinforcement.

On another note, this is big business for Arizona. Take for example, there were two teams that went in, the 8am and 10am teams with a combined number of eleven people. I estimate that the jail received $20,900 in a one day period for us eleven, and on the weekends you can quadruple that amount, let's say $83,600. So, the DUI revenue [revenue from drunk drivers] for the Arpaio Jail Experience is about $271,700 dollars for one week, or $14,128,400 a year roughly!

$14 million for one year plus all the mandotary interlock devices and the large sums of money these companies make. Perhaps these companies are owned by one larger company? Does Arpaio own stock in them, or is he a private partner that is rewarded? 

So, my final word regarding the Arpaio Jail Experience: is it really a wonder that there are DUI check points all over our city, and almost every vehicle after midnight is tagged a potential DUI? I have had five friends in five months get a DUI this year. There are billboards all over the city, of drinking advertisements, yet there is no positive transportation assistance to help prevent the DUI experience, none that are reasonable in price that I am aware of.

My wishes go out to all of those that are stuck in the cycle of this corrupt system of illegitimate punishment, to all those who are not fortunate to have attorneys or any insight in representation and civil rights—for you truly suffer from this system of deception.

I spent time in jails around the country for raising a little hell, and I must say Arizona is the worst system! If you want a fair trial, I bid you luck! 

Click here for CCTV footage of an Aryan Brother slaying an inmate who’d crossed the white prison gang at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail.

Click here for more on Tent City by Pearl Wilson whose son was murdered there by the Aryan Brotherhood.

Click here for my jail survival tips. 

And here for the survival tips video.

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood

From Warrior (Letter 6)

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. He writes some of the best prison-fight stories on the Internet.


Ello my brotha from anotha motha. How you doing today? I hope the week is treating you and your loved ones well.

Dude, I'm so excited for you and the book! I can't wait to see it in print! Believe me, I'm gonna pre-order my copy! Imagine if it gets turned into a movie! I believe it's going to happen for you. You have that drive and passion, two key ingredients in the law of attraction that brings forth that which you seek: success. Believe me when I tell you that momentum in what you're doing is going to pick up and start moving fast for you. I feel it, and my feelings are rarely off - having dodged several prison shankings [stabbings] as proof. A little prison humor there. I'm rooting for ya 100% and sending positive vibes your way.

On CNN today there was a segment on a guy who was in prison, read a lot, learned to write, and turned his life around through his published poetry. He had two books published and is on his third. Dude, your writing blows this guy's out of the water. I immediately thought of you and took what I viewed as a sign that it's your time. It's your time to shine, bro.

I'm glad that Two Tonys is OK. I recently received word from someone that came from his direction. He's not looking too good physically, however, as always, his spirit is strong. I haven't seen anyone else over here that knows you. T-Bone was the last one.

I was pretty impressed to hear about the event at the Royal Festival Hall you did. Dude, arts for prisoners in America, yeah, when hell freezes over. America's definition of 'prison arts' is creating the worst prison facility and titling it rehabilitation. Concentration camps for the 21st Century.

I've read a little about incarceration in other countries. Some countries have embraced the idea, recognizing that incarcerated people will be out again in society. The U.K. seems to embrace this philosophy. It also seems the U.K. has a well functioning court system that's not congested with ambiguous laws like in the U.S.

I bet it was a little surreal for you to hear that female prisoner cry and feel a sense of accomplishment over being an arts curator. I would have been thinking how only a short time ago I was in her shoes - locked up.

You're doing great things, bro, and I find it motivating. Very motivating. I've been here 9 years, and you are one of only a handful of people from here I've seen succeed. I think I can count them all on one hand. Sad really, as there should be more trying to succeed.You've set the bar very high. I appreciate that. Success like emotion is also contagious. 

As for the property officer, she wouldn't let me have the two books you sent me. They were considered contraband because they didn't have receipts with them. 

Lately, this place has been doing outrageous things. With the holidays added, frustration is common. So I'm laying low, but not laying down and getting screwed. Thank you for the card by the way. I would have sent one sooner, but we've had freakin cell searches all week. Damn, I hate searches.

L & R

In the Xmas card, Warrior wrote:

May all the best come to us this New Year. Thank you for all the guidance with my writing. Most importantly, thank you for exemplifying that life, a good life even, is possible after prison. I shall follow the footsteps of success that you have left for those of us aware enough to perceive them.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Post comments and questions for Warrior below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood
Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City (Part 8 by Guest Blogger Daniel Horne)

Daniel Horne spent almost a year in Tent City. He is a business executive, husband, and father of two. Following a car accident, Daniel was not charged with drunk driving, but with aggravated assault – in Arizona’s legal system a car can be classified as a weapon you assault someone with. He is the author of the book, Accidental Felons and blog.

I spoke to one of the third shift guards when a bunk in Tent 57 became available. It wasn’t a problem for me to move. Staying with my odd luck of always getting an end bunk, the bunk I moved to in Tent 57 was exceptional. It faced the east, so I didn’t get the stifling afternoon sun. It was also away from the roads, traffic, and, most of all, the loudspeakers. It was my best move yet. I wasn’t in Work Release a month, and I was already living in the best tent in the yard. Life was improving.

Ted, William, and I stood by the entrance to the tent and were talking the morning after I moved in to the bunk next to them. It was almost seven o’clock and time to walk toward the gate, but all of us were exhausted and we were not in a hurry this morning. A group of new DO recruits were coming toward us outside the dog run on their morning jog. Dressed in white T-shirts, black shorts, black tennis shoes, and white socks, they looked like twenty clones approaching. The cadence of the drill sergeant was the next thing we heard as he called out to his troops, “Say good morning to the convicts, DOs.”
“Good morning, convicts!” all twenty of them shouted in unison to the three of us as they passed.
“What did you say?” the sergeant asked with a loud bark.
“Good morning, convicts!” the troops shouted at the top of their lungs, making sure everyone on the yard heard their greeting.
“What a joke,” Ted said. “These men pretend they’re soldiers, and look at them. Most of them are so fat they can barely run. I don’t know what to call a fat, lazy, twenty-five year old wanna be a man. There weren’t that many of them around when I was in my twenties.”
“Yeah,” William said, “They’re a funny sight. And they think they’re such tough guys, too.”
“Luckily for them, there aren’t many tough guys in this place,” I said with a laugh. “They’d be up shit’s creek if there were.”
“Come on, men. I see Mertlow going to the gate,” Ted said.
The three of us began the walk up the forty yards between the rows of tents, the gravel crunching beneath our shoes. A porta-potty door slammed to my right, catching my attention. There was a group of six porta-potties over in the Work-Furlough-yard and three at the front gate. That made ten in all.
“Ten toilets for five hundred prisoners,” I said. “I sure hope they dump these things every day, or it’s going to stink to high heaven in here.”
“Actually, they’re scheduled to be cleaned every two days,” Ted said. “I read the label on the inside.”
“Holidays ought to be interesting,” William said, as we stood on the fringe of the group of men gathered about the gate waiting for names to be called.

Ted had discovered the details of the porta-potty mystery. An inspector from the Health Department had spent ten days in jail for a DUI on the female side of the yard. She had been released and promptly came back with an order condemning the toilet facilities. The women were moved to Estrella Jail, and the women’s side of the yard was opened to male access for construction. Word was, that as bad and disgusting as the men’s facilities were, the women’s side was worse. The filth of the jail wasn’t exactly news to anyone living in Maricopa County, so the press was dutifully disinterested.

Click here for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City Part 7 

Click here for details of Daniel’s website and book

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood
Talk Radio Show - My Experience Of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jail System

On Saturday 12th of December, I was the guest on a one-hour American talk radio show. To listen to a replay of the show click on either of the two links:

Click here to listen to the show

Click here to listen to the show

Bobby Cummines is an ex-prisoner who needs our help. As a reformed bank robber – he served 13 years – he now heads a charity that helps ex-prisoners get restarted in society, shares his story with young people, and advises the government on prison issues.

His story was submitted to the BBC. Bobby needs our help by way of votes. So if you feel like I do that Bobby’s cause is a good one, please click over to the following link, where you can give Bobby a vote by clicking on the thumbs-up icon. It’s as easy as that.

Click here to give Bobby the thumbs up

Thank you for your support!

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood

Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 6)

Just did my third talk on drugs and prison to a school. In the previous talk, several female students started crying during excerpts from my upcoming book. So after the success of that one and the first talk, I swaggered into Ashford School in Kent expecting more of the same, but the beginning didn't work out as planned. I introduced myself, and started the jail story. I asked for a volunteer to read the first of the excerpts from my blog and upcoming book. In previous talks, many hands went up at this point from eager students willing to read. But on this occasion, I was met by a wall of silence. Many of them looked skeptical. Others seemed to be drifting off elsewhere. For a few seconds, I wondered what to do. Is it all about to go wrong? I thought. Then I asked the teacher who'd booked me to select someone to read. That stirred them up a bit, and each subsequent jail anecdote captured more of their attention, until I had them all on-board. In the Q&A session, endless hands went up, and as usual there wasn't enough time to answer all of the questions.

The teacher congratulated me at the end. A group of students kindly invited me to eat with them in the canteen, where they bombarded me with more questions. I told them I'd worried about how the talk was going at first. They explained that they get talks every two weeks. Mostly stuff that doesn't interest them. So they arrive at the talks ready to zone out. That was the atmosphere I'd detected at the beginning, but hadn't understood why. They said having the teacher pick readers had forced them to pay attention, and they'd quickly got hooked on my story after that. They said it was like something from a movie - The Shawshank Redemption was mentioned - but my presence made it real to them. One student said she'd seen Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Tent City on TV. I could see the impact of my story in the eyes of the students I was sat with, and that gave me a good feeling.

So what started out with resistance that led me to worry I was doing something wrong ended up a success. Today, I learned that every audience has its own character, and there may be forces at work on an audience that I shouldn't take personally.

I'm still buzzing from it all, and looking forward to my next talks in January.

I've got three radio interviews coming up, and details will be posted here soon.

Click here for Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 5)

Click here for details of my talk

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood
Welcome New Readers!

I started Jon's Jail Journal back in 2004 to expose the conditions in the maximum-security Madison Street jail, Phoenix, Arizona, run by the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I wrote with a golf pencil sharpened on a cement-block wall or metal door, and my aunt Ann, who visited every weekend, smuggled my writing out of the jail. My parents in England posted my writing to the Internet. The blog went on to attract international media attention, and the Madison Street jail was shut down a few years later.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is still in charge of the Maricopa County jail system and its various facilities. His detractors call him the Angel of Death, not just because of the abnormally high amount of murder and death in his jails, but also because he actually promoted guards that the federal court had found responsible for murdering inmates.

Where I was housed, there were only two guards supervising hundreds of inmates, so gangs like the Mexican Mafia had more control over the inmates than the guards. I got used to the sound of heads getting smashed against steel toilets and bodies getting thrown around. Here's a video of an Aryan Brother murdering another inmate in the jail:

On the right hand side of this blog below the banner is an archive menu you can click on. If you click back to March 2004 you can read the early blog entries.

Here are excerpts from the first two blogs I wrote:

19 Feb 04

The toilet I sleep next to is full of sewage. We’ve had no running water for three days. Yesterday, I knew we were in trouble when the mound in our steel throne peaked above sea level.
Inmates often display remarkable ingenuity during difficult occasions and this crisis has resulted in a number of my neighbours defecating in the plastic bags the mouldy breakfast bread is served in. For hours they kept those bags in their cells, then disposed of them downstairs when allowed out for showers. As I write, inmates brandishing plastic bags are going from cell door to door proudly displaying their accomplishments.
The whole building reeks like a giant Portaloo. Putting a towel over the toilet in our tiny cell offers little reprieve. My neighbour, Eduardo, is suffering diarrhoea. I can’t imagine how bad his cell stinks.
I am hearing that the local Health Department has been contacted. Hopefully they will come to our rescue soon.

20 Feb 04

My cellmate couldn’t hold his in any longer. He pinched his nose and lifted the towel from the toilet. Repulsed by the mound, he said, “There’s way too much crap to crap on, dawg. I’m gonna use a bag.” So as jail etiquette demands in these situations, I rolled over on my bunk and faced the wall. I heard something hit the rim of the seatless toilet, and him say, “Damn! I missed some!” When he was done, he put the finished product by the door and the stink doubled. He had no water to clean where the errant piece had fallen on the toilet, so it remained forming a crustation on the rim. We were hoping to be allowed out to dispose of the bag, until a guard announced, “There will be no one coming out for showers and phone calls, as we have to get one-hundred-and-twenty inmates water from an emergency container!”

The water came back on in stages. In our toilet, its level slowly rose.

“Oh no,” I said. “It’s about to overflow, and we’ll be stuck in here with sewage all over the floor.”

“One of us needs to stick his hand in the crap to let the water through,” my cellmate said. “And you’re the closest.”

The brown soup was threatening to spill from the bowl, so I put a sandwich bag on my hand. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” I said, plunging my hand into the mound. The mound took the bag from my hand. Almost up to my elbow in sewage, I dug until the water level sank.

“I owe you one, dawg,” my cellmate said.

“It’s your turn next time,” I said.

Because the tap water hadn’t come back on, I couldn’t wash my arm. Not wanting to contaminate anything in the cell, I sat on the stool until a guard let us out for showers hours later.

Jon’s Jail Journal was set up anonymously to avoid retaliation from guards notorious for murdering inmates. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has paid tens of millions of dollars to the family members of dead inmates. After I was sentenced and moved to the Arizona Department of Corrections, The Guardian ran blog excerpts featuring my cockroach companions, and the BBC and other media picked up on the blog.

In the state prison system, I focussed more on the characters I lived with. I’ve always been fascinated by extremes of human behaviour and in prison such behaviour is common. If you look to the top right of this blog, you’ll see some links. If you click on the top link, MEET THE PRISONERS, or click here, you’ll end up with a list of prisoners I chose to write about. They range from a Mafia mass muderer, Two Tonys who left the corpses of rival gangsters from Tucson to Alaska, to men who think they’re women, such as Xena, a six-and-a-half foot transsexual who almost bled to death attempting to cut “her” man parts off and was helicoptered to a hospital where doctors saved Xena’s life. To read the blog entries on any of these characters, just type the name of the prisoner you’re most interested in into the Blogger search box at the top left hand side of the blog. All of their stories should come up.

The prisoners I wrote about started to receive mail from fascinated people around the world, and the blog became a bridge to the outside for all of us. The highlight of the week was during mail call when we’d receive printouts of the blogs and public comments sent by my parents. Some of my friends would even spy on the pile of mail in the guard tower looking for UK postage stamps, so they could announce that the blogs had arrived.

When my sentence was almost up, I promised to keep the blog going so that my prison friends’ voices would continue to be heard. Prisoners in Arizona do not have Internet access, so they mail their stories, and I print out their blogs and the comments readers post.

Keeping Jon’s Jail Journal going has not been without its challenges from the powers that be and prison-gang members. Click here for an article on the issues I’ve faced over the years. Here's a video of my first live TV appearance, just out of prison and rather nervous, after the Arizona Department of Corrections tried to stop the prisoners from writing to me in order to sabotage Jon’s Jail Journal:

As for me, incarceration sent my life in a whole new direction. I put myself in jail by dealing Ecstasy and needed to mature as a person.

I got out in December 2007, and moved in with my parents, without whose support I don’t know how I would have survived. In February 2009, I moved near London, and now speak to schools across the UK and Europe about my jail experience and the consequences of choosing the drugs and crime lifestyles. The feedback from students, teachers and even parents of students keeps me motivated. My jail memoir, Hard Time was published by a division of Random House, and the prequel, Party Time, is expected in 2012. I'll end this with my final blog from the Madison Street jail:

13 Jul 04

A sudden spate of tragedies has compelled me to write this entry. At the weekend, two inmates on my floor attempted to commit suicide. One threw himself off the balcony and survived. The other was discovered trying to hang himself. Sadder still, an inmate housed in a medium-security pod was found dead in the shower. Inmates are often "smashed" in the shower area because it is out of view of the cameras. The jail has refused to release the cause of his death.

The temperature outside is 114 degrees Fahrenheit. The trickle of air into our cells feels like hot air blowing from a hairdryer. We are soaked in sweat all day and night. It is difficult to write on this sweat-moistened paper. The majority now have skin infections and rashes, which persistently itch. My skin is so soggy from perspiration that when I scratch it the skin detaches and I end up with clumps of it under my fingernails. Between the sweat trickling down my body and the cockroaches tickling my limbs, it is impossible to sleep properly. Last night, while sleeping on my side, my ear filled up with sweat, and when I moved my head, the sweat spilled onto my face. I woke up, startled. It felt like someone was touching my cheek.

I once asked a guard how the jail’s administration gets away with this and his response was, “The world has no idea what really goes on in here.”

When I was a small child, I imagined hell consisted of caves in which the damned were trapped, tortured and burnt. I imagined serpents and indescribable creepy crawlies tormenting the captives. I never imagined man's nature could be so hateful as to recreate these conditions on earth.

Tips for surviving Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail system:

Click here for my jail survival tips.

On Jailhouse cockroaches:

If you know a prisoner who would like to write a story for Jon's Jail Journal then click here.  
Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun Attwood
Wild Man Makes Prison Hooch

Wild Man – My large and fearless raving partner from my hometown. One of the main characters in my jail memoir. He looked out for me in the jail when we first went in. Sentenced before me, he ended up having various adventures in the prison system.

In Wild Man’s previous story, he arrived in the prison system from the jail system, and immediately smashed the head of the whites in his dorm. The Aryan Brotherhood made Wild Man the new head of the dorm, and authorised him to brew hooch.

“What are the ingredients for hooch?” I asked Wild Man.
“You get fifty oranges, five pounds of sugar, and yeast from the kitchen,” Wild Man said.
“Of course.”
“Can you tell the public how that is all stolen from the prison kitchen?”
“For the oranges, I had youngsters use socks. You get a sock, put a hole in it, get a four-inch-long piece of string and tie the sock to your boxer shorts. You put five oranges in each sock. One in five youngsters will get stopped coming out of the chow hall, but that’s a necessary sacrifice. The most the guards do is say, ‘Throw those oranges away, and stop being stupid.’”
“How about the sugar?”
“The baker in the kitchen has access to a good amount of sugar. I tell him I’ll give him five bottles of hooch for five pounds of sugar, two big bags basically. He puts it all in cling-film, which he makes the size of sausage rolls. Before the chow hall opens, he tapes it under the tables where the heads of the whites and their torpedoes [goons] sit. If you look under the tables, you’ll see it, but for the naked eye there’s nothing there. When the heads walk in, the white boys give the heads hugs, and generally creep up their arses, meanwhile the torpedoes are grabbing the sugar and passing it to the youngsters. The youngsters have on really baggy pants. Now nine times out of ten, the guards will pat you down for weapons going into the chow hall, but not when you’re walking out. It takes a week to get all the stolen stuff together.”
“Then what?”
“Back in the dorm, I get a couple of watchouts. These are guys who go to the toilet and back pretending to piss while really watching what the guards are watching. If it’s all safe, the youngsters start peeling the oranges. They rip the peel into little tiny shreds and flush it. You can’t put the peel in the trash because the nightshift go through it with little torches looking for drug paraphernalia and shit. They flush four oranges worth of peel at a time, otherwise it blocks the toilet up.”
“So when it’s all peeled?”
“You put one plastic trash bag inside a laundry bag and that laundry bag inside another trash bag. You also need a storage box. You can get one from the store for $1.50 for legal papers and shit. The best is the plastic box you get only if you’re on a top bunk. The bottom bunk has shelves, but the top has a plastic box. You put all the oranges in the bag you’ve made from the three bags. You have youngsters heating water with stingers.”
“Explain to the public what a stinger is.”
“It’s a piece of metal with an electric element that heats water up. Campers use them. For fifty oranges, you need twenty-five bottles of water to make twenty-five bottles of hooch. You put sugar in with the oranges. People come with water and pour it in the bag. You give it a good mix. For yeast, you put two cinnamon rolls in hot water and rub them. They flake into nothing, and you can extract the yeast from the dough. Then you get a pen, take the ink out, so you’re left with a hollow tube, which is the breather basically. You ruffle the top of the trash bag, put the pen tube in, and someone ties the bag while you hold the breather. Then you slowly push the bag down in the box, so its deflating through the breather, and put the lid on the box. You put some legal pads and clothes on top of the box, shove it under the bunk bed, and leave it.”
“How does it turn to alcohol?”
“It’s so warm, where the bunk beds are situated, the wall actually sweats. You put the box near the wall, but you have to be careful not to put it up against the wall or else it gets the box wet, it deteriorates, the bag hangs out, and the cops see it. One-and-a-half days later, you check on it. There’s a reaction of yeast, sugar and oranges. It foams up, smelly, and the bag expands. The breather stops the bag from blowing up. Every half hour it blows up so you have to burp it. You undo the string, take the pen out, and push the bag down. Someone walks round spraying hair gel or the whole dorm stinks of hooch. You pop the inside trash bag. All the pulp and shit gets caught in the laundry bag, and the hooch flows through to the outside trash bag. You can actually keep the pulp in a jar to kick your next brew off, then you don’t need yeast.”
“It’s amazing how organized it all is.”
“You wait for 10pm headcount, and lights out. Then the youngsters come round with empty soda bottles, which they fill from the batch. They wipe the bottles down, and only fill them to the label, as every three hours they have to burp the bottles or else they blow up. It’s still cooking, so the youngsters have got to wake up every three hours to burp the bottles. To do this, they slowly undo the cap. It rises up fizzy, and lets the gas out. It takes three more days. Once you can’t burp it no more, then you’ve got hooch and it’s really good.”

Coming soon: The story of how Wild Man’s first batch of hooch got the whole dorm drunk, and almost triggered a race riot. And how Wild Man failed to pay the Aryan Brotherhood their full share of the hooch they’d authorized, and was summoned once again to explain himself to the head of the yard.
Women in Prison: From Lifer Helen (Letter 1)

The voices of women prisoners are seldom heard. You may be familiar with Andrea and Renee who write for Jon’s Jail Journal, and now I’d like to introduce you to Helen by way of her first letter.

My name is Helen and I’m housed in a Georgia State prison. First off, in Georgia some people go to prison for crimes someone else committed. I fall under that category. I dated a guy who killed my only son. It was hard enough losing my son, but then I was sentenced to 20 years.

The past 9 years have been the worst of my life. I have seen prisoners get sick and beg for help, only to be turned away. I’ve seen three women die because of this. I’ve seen a woman get her head bashed against the concrete floor over an argument about a TV program.

Back in 2005, the guards moved us to this prison. I have been moved from one dorm to another 34 times.

I was moved from a woman who wanted a relationship with me. When I refused her attempt in 2007, she choked me. The guards took me and put me in lockdown.

Then in June 2008, they put her back in as my roommate. I flipped out. They moved me again. I’ve had a few problems out of her since, but nothing major.

Now in 2009, this prison decided they can’t afford to give us but one roll of toilet tissue and one bar of soap per week. We have to get sanitary items from family. They only feed us two meals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The amount is not enough to say you even ate. If they can’t afford to take care of us, why are they keeping us in prison? If you don’t have family helping you, you are out of luck.
Between my meds for being sick and seeing the doctor, I owe the State of Georgia $116.50. I have no family support, so I haven’t even been able to go to commissary since 2006.

It’s not easy being locked up. I read a lot of books and stay in my 8 foot by 12 foot cell all of the time.

Your friend,


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

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood

Will Sheriff Joe Arpaio Run For Governor Of Arizona?

From the news stories, it looks like Sheriff Joe is likely to run. The polls indicate he’d win by a landslide. As governor, he’d no longer be in charge of the jail system, but he’d be the most powerful political figure in Arizona. What next? The presidency?

Here’s one story from Fox:

There's a new name being thrown into the hat for Arizona's Governor race.  We know the current Governor, Jan Brewer, wants to keep her job for another four years, but she'll have some competition.
How about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio?  It's not the first time Arpaio's name has come up for Governor, but a new poll shows he could win.

The first Rasmussen Reports telephone poll of next year's GOP Primary in Arizona shows Arpaio attracting 47% of the vote while four other candidates split another 44%.
In second place, with 22% of the overall vote, is state Treasurer Dean Martin. Brewer is third at 10%. Former state GOP Chairman John Munger and Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker each attract six percent (6%) of the vote.
In another example of his potential to dominate the race early, 58% of likely Republican Primary voters have a favorable opinion of Arpaio. Just 16% say the same about Martin, while only nine percent (9%) are that upbeat about Brewer. The comparable numbers for Munger and Parker are two percent (2%) and (1%) respectively.

So will he run for office?

Here's what the Sheriff is saying on his Twitter page:

"If there ever was a time to consider a run, now may be the time.  I continue to be asked by my supporters to step up and fill a leadership void."

"I can not ignore the results of this latest Rasmussen poll about the possibility of me entering the AZ governor's race for 2010."

Sheriff Arpaio has a high profile not only in Maricopa County, but across the country as well.  He's famous for cracking down on illegal immigration, raiding businesses suspected of hiring illegals and his crime sweeps.  Currently, Arpaio is in a battle with the Feds - the Justice Department is investigating him and some of his powers to arrest illegals have been taken away.  All of this has only made him stronger in Arizona.

Click here to check the news video out:.Could Sheriff Joe Arpaio be Arizona's Next Governor?

Click here for my video on surviving Sheriff Joe Arpaios jail system.

Click here for my jail survival tips.

Click here for a video of an Aryan Brother slaying another inmate at Sheriff Joe Arpaios jail.

By popular demand, I shall be posting Wild Mans next prison story soon.

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood

Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 5)

Well, I’m going on nine months in London, and my pie in the sky keeps getting bigger and bigger. Pleasingly so. I’ve been doing what Dr. O advised back at Tucson prison: make haste slowly.
I’ve been getting out and about in London doing presentations and attending fund raisers for two charities that help prisoners, Koestler and Prisoners Abroad. They both helped me over the years, and have played significant roles in supporting me as a writer.

On November 19th, I attended a pledge dinner for Prisoners Aboard at a restaurant called The Orangery in Holland Park. There was an ex-prisoner at each table of guests and donors. I shared my story to give the attendees a better understanding of the ways in which Prisoners Abroad helped me and my family.
When I was a prisoner, Prisoners Abroad provided me with literature, including their own newsletter, and English newspapers the other prisoners fought over to be next in line to read. Literature is golden in prison, even old newspapers. They provided me with freepost envelopes, which I used to get some of my blogs out. They entered my short story in the competition that ended up getting me on Koestler’s mentor program, which has transformed my prospects as an author. They also offered massive psychological support to my parents, especially my mother who had a nervous breakdown after my arrest. Hearing how Prisoners Aboard provide food and medication in prisons such as Panama where you don’t eat or see a doctor unless you have money, or how they’re helping English citizens on death row in Thailand where they’re chained to a wall, reinforces how lucky I was, and what a great job Prisoners Aboard do.
The key speaker was Harriet Walter, a Tony Award-nominated British actress. Her uncle is Sir Christopher Lee, the actor perhaps most famous for playing Dracula. His vampire movies had such an influence on my childhood, I can only wonder if the comparisons of me and Nosferatu by a certain American newspaper stem back to them.          

On November 18th, I spoke twice at a conference put on by the Arts Alliance (a network of arts organisations working in social justice settings). Each member organisation had its own room to present its work. I was in Koestler’s room, sharing my story with an emphasis on how Koestler’s mentoring scheme has played a major role in helping launch me as a writer.
In our room, Ben from Koestler started with a general presentation of what the mentoring project involves and why and how Koestler is running it. I explained my story, and talked about my mentoring relationship with Sally Hinchcliffe, and then answered questions. As most of the attendees work in prisons it was a captive crowd of interested and sympathetic parties. The room filled up so much for the afternoon talk, we had a second audience outside of the door.

In October, I attended the opening of the Koestler Art Exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall. This is where last year I got to read my short story that won first prize and first meet the Koestler people. I was a judge this year, and ended up reading out some of the winning poetry.
There were six female prisoner curators there on day release. One of them started crying when she was being interviewed. She said being a curator at such a big event had put meaning into her life. Even a prison governor got on the stage and commended Koestler. Can you imagine Sheriff Joe Arpaio doing that in America? Arts for prisoners. To hell with that!      
Koestler is one of the rare organisations supporting prisoners in the arts. The mentoring scheme I’m so fortunate to be on provides the most intensive help for prisoners in the arts that I’m aware of. It’s a pity America has little to offer like that.

Also last month, I attended a Prisoners Abroad function at Lambeth Palace, where I got to mingle with an audience that included the Archbishop of Canterbury. According to a Quaker couple there, the ABC (as I like to call him, and why not if Two Tonys can call Arthur Schopenhaur the Schop?) is the guy who sits down after the Queen at dinner functions. He spoke eloquently about the work Prisoners Abroad does, and struck me as man of great intelligence.

Regarding my presentations to schools, I only managed to squeeze one in at the end of the last school year, but six bookings have come in so far for this school year. The next one is at Guildford High School for Girls, just a ten-minute walk from where I live. When the book comes out, I expect these bookings will surge.

Media attention seems to be heating up again. The Guardian was the first newspaper to write about Jon’s Jail Journal, and they’re about to run a story about my prison experience. As is, la Repubblica, the second largest newspaper in Italy. I’ve also got an interview going in Not Shut Up Magazine, read by prisoners in the London region.

My jail memoir, Green Bologna and Pink Boxers, was sent to publishers a few weeks ago. It takes them a few months to read it and to express interest, so I’m hoping to report a breakthrough on that front soon.

Gym classes are my latest addiction and pretty much the extent of my social life. I’m doing up to thirteen a week, ranging from yoga to karate. My favourite is BodyCombat. It’s the closest thing to raving for adults who don’t want to do drugs. I’m basically jumping around to dance music for one hour, kicking, punching, getting hyper-hyper with up to sixty other workout freaks, mostly women, in a massive room facing a mirrored wall. It makes me sweat so much I drink up to two litres of water. If you give it your all, you can burn 1000 calories in one hour. I brought my friend and the man I live with, Mike Hotwheelz, and now he’s addicted too. I’m also working my way up the belts of karate. I go in for the blue one next month.

And finally, my sister has her own website now. Click here for it.

Post comments below or email them to writeinside@hotmail.com To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood