Shit Slingers III (The Early Years Part 4 by Polish Avenger)

Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were committing. In Arizona, if a burglar gets killed, the accomplices can get 25-year sentences.

Before I introduce you to Magnum (our alpha male-slinger) we’ll address a question submitted by Leigh about the behavioral mindset of those who fling poo: Do people only do it “inside”?

I’m sure formal psychological studies exist on this, although I haven’t personally read any. From stories by readers about befouled public areas (the fitting room scene made me choke with laughter!), it seems more common than we would like to think about.
At SMU [a supermaximum prison] an entire wing is dedicated to the criminally insane, and they’re among the highest percentage of those who sling “recreationally,” as opposed to malicious carpet bombing. I suspect that there’s a perverse delight in breaking such a basic hygiene and social taboo.

As a child, I recall being in a classy hotel’s men room and being seized with an incontrollable urge to dispense about a quart of liquid soap using the squirt nozzle. It flowed like amber lava down the marble counter and pooled on the floor. When the deed was done, I fetched my dad who was waiting outside.
I pointed at the mess, and exclaimed, “Look what someone did!”
He replied, “Some people are pigs!”
And indeed, I had a primal and animalistic joy at what I’d done. But I was about 7 at the time and grew out of that phase.

So yes, insofar as slinging is just being messy and/or leaving poo behind for someone else, that trait is definitely seen both inside and out. To cross the next line and deliberately hose someone down with it, however, appears to be of a darker mindset.
Anyone out there know of a conflict being resolved with Dookie Uzis? As far as I know, slinging on someone is generally confined to prison as a specialized form of assault. Most of the “tough guys” I know would have much rather gone the standard routes of beating and stabbing; only when those weren’t possible did they turn to the brown arts.

Two further points of interest – one, Leigh mentioned a giant pant-load in a ladies room. Yes, it seems likely that females share the sling gene. Later in my biohazard career, I met with similar horrors – we’ll get to those in a future post!
Two, Shaun’s description of poop-smeared darts. Those things are terrible! With nothing more than a rolled-up piece of writing paper, a sharpened paper clip or staple, and a pencil eraser, you can build a lovely little blowgun and totally screw up someone’s life.

I’m glad I don’t live in supermax anymore.

Our next few posts will chronicle the infamous Magnum – a real legend, this one!

Click here for Shit Slingers II.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

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

Shaun Attwood
Second Book Review for Hard Time

By Stephen Rodgers at The Week In

A justice system where police lock people away without trial
while they build a case against them, a prison regime where
inmates are fed rancid food with dead rats and where gangs
decide who lives and dies. A Third World setting for John
Grisham’s latest blockbuster perhaps? No, this is the true story
of Widnes born Shaun Attwood after he falls foul of the law in
the state of Arizona in America, land of the free!

Shaun was in Bristol recently when he spoke to students from
Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldland Common as part of a tour
to warn of the dangers of drug use, something he has thrown
his weight into since returning from his ordeal at the hands of
the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Jail system.
During his 26 month stay ‘at Sheriff Joe’s pleasure’ he started
‘Jon’s Jail Journal’ and his blogs began to lift the lid on the
conditions inside the jail where inmates are forced to wear pink
underwear, women work on chain gangs and more is spent on
feeding the dogs than the prisoners.

Shaun Attwood moved to Phoenix in the 1990’s and quickly
found success as a stockbroker. A fan of the rave scene which
was taking off just as he left Manchester, he set about bringing
it to Arizona. Success led to money, friends and inevitably
drugs – both using and supplying. The hedonistic lifestyle came
to an abrupt end in 2002 when a SWAT team broke the door
down and he found himself on remand in Maricopa Jail with a
$750,000 cash bond and all his assets seized. The nightmare
was only just beginning as Shaun was to find himself
submerged in a world where all normal rules of society are
turned on their head. Rival gangs vied for control, crystal meth
was more freely available than it was outside, slops and mouldy
bread were the staple diet and falling foul of house rules could
result in anything from a beating to death. Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s
jails had the highest death rate in the US.

For the next 26 months, ‘English Shaun’ had to navigate the
various gang protocols, keep off drugs and remain sane in an
inferno while suffering postponement after postponement of
court hearings and a doubling of his bond. With a State
Prosecutor out to make a name for herself but little hard
evidence, the twists and turns in the legal process keep adding
to the sense of hopelessness of Shaun’s ‘Through the Looking
Glass’ world. The story is skillfully told through first person
accounts and letters written to his fiancée and his family back in
England and often, just when you think things can’t get any worse,
they invariably do.

Probably the most significant effect of Hard Time, is that you
have to keep reminding yourself this is not Shaun Attwood’s
first novel, it’s his auto biography! Neither is this a simple story
of injustice, the false imprisonment of an innocent man. Shaun
makes no attempt to disguise the fact he had been heavily
involved in the supply of drugs during his time in Arizona.
Whether that justifies being held in a remand system while
police and prosecutors force witnesses to testify against him is
another matter. Especially as it becomes clear that the vast
majority of Shaun’s inmates are being held using similar tactics.

If there is a happy ending to the story, it is of a man who has
confronted his own version of hell and come away stronger for
the experience. At the denouement of his case he tells the
judge that Mahatma Gandhi once said that the law should be
used to change men’s hearts. Shaun Attwood’s heart is
certainly in a good place now. The jury is still out on Sheriff Joe
Arpaio. A harrowing tale nevertheless.

Hard Time is on sale from next week (Thursday 5th August). It
can be pre-ordered at most bookshops or at Amazon.

Link to the review.

Hard Time is now on sale at the Book Depository.

I'm doing a reading with the author of Try Me, Farah Damji, in London on 23 August · 18:30 - 20:00 at:
The Gallery Stoke Newington Library
Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16, 0JS
Question Time with Warrior

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.

Here’s what I have to say on the comments following what I wrote about the death of Grit.

I’m not saying that Grit went out like some “hero.” I don’t know where that word entered the equation, but he did live that gangster lifestyle and exited in that manner by choice.
My heart goes out for those that loved him. He was a likeable individual. However, addiction wasn’t the sole factor that contributed to his overdose. A combination of institutionalization, decades of criminal behavior, a lack of education and trade skills were some of the factors among many that led him to further abuse himself with drugs and his eventual overdose.
I’m not knocking Grit, but there does come a time when we all need to grow up and recognise our duty and responsibility. The reality of that gangster lifestyle is life in prison or death, whichever comes first. Ask any lifer. On every yard there are lifers using dope as self-medication to escape the reality of having to spend the rest of their lives in prison, and they will die in here. It must be difficult for outsiders to fathom the magnitude of that cold hard reality.
I’ve spoke to countless old timers who have spent 20+ years in prison. If they were to be released, they say they’d get a gun and rob because that’s all they know. Prison has not given them any other skills or the education they need to function outside. During my 10 years, I’ve been asked to help countless prisoners to quit doing drugs and I have yet to see more than two succeed, but despite that ratio, I’m still willing to help anyone to try.
The reality is that only a small portion of men in prison change, an even smaller portion don’t use or clean up, an even smaller portion become proactive about their own rehabilitation and education, and sadly even less stay out. This is especially true in Arizona, and more than likely elsewhere. Even though prison is not about rehabilitation, it is up to us to figure out how much self worth we have and what we need to do to earn back and keep our freedom.
We all try to beat the system in our own way. It’s our choice as to how.

Click here for the previous Question Time

Click here for Warrior’s previous blog, including links to some of his best prison stories.

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

Shaun Attwood
The Warden (by Guest Blogger Timothy Earl)

Timothy Earl is 42, single, in joint legal and physical custody of two, and writes as Ravenswood Jack from 7200 feet above sea level in a valley between the arms of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.

I was glad to be meeting Duane – the warden at Wyoming State penitentiary – within a month of my shackled arrival. For weeks, I’d been in double-bunked solitary confinement. The meeting signalled my release into the general population after the evaluation period. I was on my ass in a chair outside Duane’s orange office with some stranger, waiting in line to talk to him like everyone else.

When my turn came, the officer standing nearby took off my cuffs. I’d watched him un-cuff, wait for, and re-cuff two or three before me. It was an astonishing treat to be so trusted with my hands in the presence of the warden. There were administrative workers, not security people, everywhere.

Duane was smiling. He had rolled up short sleeves, and was armed. I was aware without any threat from him that he was capable of kicking my ass. There was no insincerity in his way of looking right into my eyes through his glasses. He was deep-chested, shorter than I, shaved, and wore a heavy watch. His collar was unbuttoned, maybe even one button too low. He was in his early 60's, and in good shape. His handshake was really something.

I was at eye level, both feet on floor, seated across a big 1970's desk with the things he wanted me to think about facing me, and the things he wanted to think about facing him.
“Tim? Do you go by Tim?”
“Yes, sir. I'm Tim.”
“Tim you seem like a pretty nice kid, pretty easy to get along with, right? I got your letter. I'm glad you're here. Don't turn out to be a heavy, Tim. Just don't. I'll send you right back where you came from. Ok?”
“Ok! And thank you.”
“All right now. They'll get you back over there, and you'll be out on the yard getting set up soon. Ok?”
“Ok. Bye, Duane.”
“Bye, Tim.”

Duane had started there in the mid 70's. All of the staff were important to him. Think of it this way: your cuffs are off, you're brand new there, and if Duane can't be alone in his office with you without handcuffs, you can't really expect to be placed in medium security like I was hoping to be. Duane was man enough to face thousands of convicts alone in his office without handcuffs. I didn't want to stand out, and I didn't.

He never forgot my name. Although I was a convict, he treated me like I was a person named Tim who was in a lot of trouble, and his presence gave me the feeling that things would be okay, and that the security people around me had a reasonable man to answer to.

Welcome to the Wyoming State Penitentiary. I'm Timothy Earl, inmate 15642. Maybe you'd better let me show you around:

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

Shaun Attwood
My First Book Review

This review of Hard Time at City AM went out today.


REAL-LIFE Sherriff Joe Arpaio, lord of the Maricopa County Jail system in Arizona, is known (to his detractors) as the Angel of Death. He brags about spending less money feeding the inmates than the prison dogs; he makes everyone wear pink underpants and women are put on chain gangs. Look at his website – – and you’ll get a sense of this man’s fervour for punishment.

His prison, then, is not the kind of environment a successful day trader from a happy family in Widnes is suited to. Yet this most dreadful of US prisons is just where Englishman Shaun Attwood wound up after a SWAT team busted him for money laundering and drug dealing at his Scottsdale Arizona apartment, where he lived a double life as dotcom millionaire and raver.

Hard Time is the gripping account of Attwood’s time among lethal gangsters, including the Aryan Brotherhood, and of living in fear amid sewage and cockroaches. At first, he is in shock – then he slowly adapts, learning how to avoid violence and garner some peace and quiet. Having only read books on finance before, he submerges himself in literature, psychology and philosophy in a quest to understand his past. He begins to write letters home, his first one with a golf pencil he sharpened on a cell wall. These became a blog attracting world-wide acclaim; they’re harrowing, horrifying and often funny.

Hard Time begins with Attwood’s arrest in the middle of the night and proceeds through his two years in jail prior to his sentencing to nine-and-a-half years in prison (he was released after six). It’s shocking, but readers will be cheered to know that for Attwood, the ending is happy, as he’s now back in the UK and free, spending his time giving talks on the perils of drugs.

Link to the review.

Link to the sewage blog.

Hard Time is now also on sale at the Book Depository.

I'm also doing a reading with the author of Try Me, Farah Damji, in London on 23 August · 18:30 - 20:00 at:

The Gallery Stoke Newington Library
Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16, 0JS

Facebook page for the reading.
The Costs of Youth (by Shane)

Shane - After being denied psychiatric medication by ValueOptions, Shane turned to illegal drugs financed by burglaries. For stealing a few hundred dollars worth of goods, he was sentenced by Judge Ron Reinstein to eleven years. Shane is the author of the blog Persevering Prison Pages.

All in black, I was dressed in an authentic U.S. Army trench coat tailored to my short stature and jungle warfare combat boots. Even though I still had a dimpled baby face, I was trying to portray myself as much older. I was already well on my way down the path of self-destruction. Drugs and petty crimes were common things, and more serious crimes like burglary, auto theft and dealing drugs were becoming more frequent. Although still just a scared kid, I’d grown more and more jaded and distrustful of others, as well as only concerned about myself. I was on my own.

Stepping through the door of a small pet shop next door to the pool hall I was supposed to meet Tom at, I moved immediately to the pen that held six small puppies. They excitedly yipped, yelped and bounced around as soon as I approached. I’d always wanted a puppy and loved to visit them anytime I had time to drop into a pet store.

Picking up the smallest one, obviously the runt of the litter, I cradled him in my arms and scratched behind his floppy brown ears. The baby cocker spaniel nuzzled into my arms and I kissed the top of his head. I wanted to take him home. Setting him gently back into the pen with his siblings, a deep hurt brought tears to my eyes. I had no home.

As I reached down to pet the puppies, Tom walked past the store’s front window, heading for the pool hall. Jaws clenching and releasing, the muscles in his pockmarked face made him look angry, but I knew that wasn’t the case. He was just high on crystal meth or “tweaking” as we called it. He’d been awake for a few days.

Waiting a minute or two, I slipped out of the store, and walked next door to the pool hall. As I entered, Tom was at a table near the restrooms. He saw me, and motioned for me to go into the restroom. Nervous, I put my hands in my coat pocket to make me appear bigger and more dangerous.

Entering the small, dirty restroom, I checked the two stalls to ensure that nobody was inside. As I finished, Tom entered and locked the door behind him.
“What’s up youngster?” he asked, forcing a smile on his face that made him look more devious than cordial.
“Yeah, you got your end?” I said, and waited for him to produce the cash before I’d even shown him the dope.
“Slow down, kid. I gotta see what I’m gettin’ first.” He stepped towards me, his hand out, palm up.
Stepping forward and removing my hands from my pockets, I said, “That’s not how this works, and you know that. I’m outta here. Get the fuck outta my way.”
Instantly his demeanor changed and out came a crumpled wad of cash from his pocket. “Hey, I was just playin’, youngster. Here.”
I took his cash in my sweaty palm, counted it out and stuffed it into my front pants pocket. I reached into my coat pocket, and pulled out a plastic baggie full of bootleg crystal meth known as “crank.” “Steve told me to tell you it’s an eight ball. Exactly 3½ grams. He said he’ll cut you off if you complain it’s light, so don’t even try it.” I tossed it to him, and started to leave.
As I unlocked the door, Tom opened the baggie, and headed into the first stall.
Passing the pet shop, I glanced over at the puppies. I wanted to buy one, but I continued to walk. I never got a puppy. I gave Steve his money, and for payment, I got to sleep in his car that night.

I did many things as a kid that were wrong and stupid. I was trying to survive on my own, and be an adult.

Recently, I’ve watched Arizona’s legislators and Governor Brewer callously and irresponsibly gut state-funded programs that provide help to kids in need. Programs that were severely lacking or nonexistent when I was a kid. I could have benefited from those programs in the 80’s. These programs being cut and done away with will have terrible repercussions on Arizona’s young people, and increase the likelihood that they’ll end up in prison. Prisons, jails and mental hospitals are full of adults who could have been spared this life if they’d had help as kids. So are cemeteries! How can somebody in good conscience make those cuts?

Click here for Shane’s own blog

Click here for the first blog about Shane at Jon's Jail Journal

Some of Shane's Prison Stories:
What Comes Around
Convict Justice
Fighting For No Good Reason

Our friends inside appreciate your comments

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

Shaun Attwood
Standing Up (Part 1 by Warrior)

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.

It was mid June 2003, 110 degrees outside, and my fifth hour locked in an outside holding cage at Central Unit. My sunburnt body had turned crimson. A sergeant had placed me there to “cool off.” I was determined not to break down. With no water or shade, I willed my body not to either.

My eyes were exhausted from squinting out the sun. Heat-warped air was raging off the concrete, but from 40 yards away, I still managed to recognize a brown uniform coming in my direction. The officer had something in hand, but I couldn’t tell what. He was about 5’8”, mid twenties, his brownish-blond hair cut short. His eyes were behind Oakley sunglasses. Though boyish in face, his posture displayed that of a seasoned officer. Confidence is key in prison for inmates and staff, even if you have to fake it.

Leaning over, displaying my prison-inked arms through the handcuff slot, I gave the officer a look as scorching as the sun.
He approached with a Styrofoam cup of water, reached out and offered it to me. “Here’s some water for ya.”
“Nah. I’m cool,” I replied with an aggressive calm.
“You don’t want any water?”
“Fuck you! Fuck your water! And fuck your sergeant!”
“So you don’t want this water, huh?”
“No, and you’ll see why.”
“What are you gonna do? Go off? You’ll just end up in the hole.”
I snickered at him for assuming I was the temper-tantrum type. “You’re going to see how persuasive I can be to 200 prisoners,” I said, mad that I’d displayed some of my hand, which I put down to the sun getting at me.
I must have struck a chord with the officer as his expression and tone changed. “Look, man, if I could pull you out of here I would. The serg wants you here. He’s a piece of shit, I agree. If I had my way, I’d pull you out, but I’m just a C.O. He’s a sergeant. I got to follow orders.”
“You fuckin’ pathetic loser. I didn’t ask you for a fuckin’ explanation. Fuckin’ get lost, and don’t come back unless you’re to pull me out,” I stated dismissively.
Angry and offended, he turned and walked away.

Forty-five minutes went by. The same officer returned with another to escort me back to my cell. My body was blistering red, my mouth parched as if I’d swallowed a bucket of sand, and the muscles around my eyes aching from squinting. I was relieved they’d come to let me out, but determined not to show it. I pulled my jumpsuit back over my shoulders, as I had it half way rolled down to my waist. I turned around and cuffed up.
Their hands clenched my biceps with a grip that meant, “Make the wrong move, and you’re hitting the floor, face first.”
They manoeuvred me towards my housing unit at their own stop-and-go pace – a tight squeeze to stop, a loose one to go. We walked 30 yards, and turned right until we were facing the control room and traditional sliding steel door. One officer waved for the door to be opened, and the female in the control room activated it.
In the control tower was a familiar silhouette. With his arms crossed and a stern look, it was the sergeant that had locked me outside in 110-degree heat. I gave him an equally level stare that said, “This isn’t over.”
The two officers noticed, and nudged me forward.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Links to more prison stories by Warrior:
Warrior v Big E.
Rapist on the Yard
Bucket of Blood
Central Unit

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

Shaun Attwood
On Sky 3 Sunday July 18th: Inside: America's Toughest Jail

This TV program is on from 9pm to 10pm in England. Here's the blurb:

The lives of the 9,000 criminals who are serving their sentences in the Maricopa County jail, Arizona, one of America's most notorious correctional facilities. The prison is presided over by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who shares his views on running such an establishment - including banning coffee, smoking, most TV channels and employing humiliation and hard labour to keep inmates in line.

Anyone notice the slight mistake in the blurb? The majority of the inmates in Arpaio's jail are unsentenced, so they are not serving sentences in the Maricopa County jail - except for a minority of them on short sentences in Tent City.

Click here for my tips on surviving Arpaio's Maricopa County Jail
Violence Behind the Walls (by Guest Blogger Lorenzo Steele Jr.)

Lorenzo Steele Jr. is a former New York City correction officer. He now mentors young people about the consequences of breaking the law.

I was 21 when I first became a correction officer. I didn't even know where Rikers Island was, yet I’d lived in New York City for over 20 years. Rikers Island is the largest penal colony in America. It houses over 10,000 inmates in 11 prisons. There are many classifications of inmates on the Island: murders, rapist, thieves, burglars, pedophiles… Every classification you can name.

How does the Department of Corrections properly train an individual as a correction officer that has never been to jail and not even taken psychology courses? It doesn’t. They just give you a crash courses in sociology, psychology, penal law and even judo.

Many things stick out of my mind while writing this, but one in particular is how a corrections officer mentally deals with the violence that takes place everyday day: inmates on inmates conflicts, and inmates on officers.

One of the most vicious incidents was an inmate on inmate assault. It happened on a sunny day while the inmates were in the segregation unit yard. The segregation unit is where inmates are housed in 8-foot by 6-foot cells for 23 hours a day, and allowed 1 hour a day for a shower and a phone call. An 8-foot by 6-foot cell is the size of the average bathroom. Yes, that’s the size of your new home when you break the law. Imagine being locked in an 8-foot by 6-foot bathroom for 23 hours a day. Now these inmates are allowed by law to have recreation for 1 hour in these small cages outside. The cages are about 50 feet by 40 feet with razor wire on the top of the gate to prevent escape. There are 2 officers, and they have to supervise up to 12 of most violent inmates in the prison. Charges for some of these inmates range from stabbings, cuttings, rapes and even assault on correction officers.

I was assigned a corridor post where I could look out the window and see inside the segregation area. Working as a correction officer you develop special skills and added senses. The longer a correction officer is on the job, he or she develops extra senses whereby officers can feel when and where something is going to happen: assault, stabbing, razor cutting… For some strange reason I knew something was going to happen in this one particular area in the segregation yard. I noticed inmates playing basketball. Several were exercising and one was doing push-ups alone. My attention was taken to the inmate doing push-ups. I noticed another inmate walking slowly towards him, cautiously looking over his shoulders to see if the 2 officers were alert. The inmate stood over the one doing push-ups and started to converse.

Now in jail you are constantly looking over your shoulders because violence happens regularly and you have to stand guard at all times. So I knew that the inmate standing up had to have known the inmate working out because you would never let someone stand over you that you didn’t know in jail as that’s suicide.

All of a sudden the inmate standing jumped on the inmate doing push-ups, and straddled him, placing his hand under his neck. He began to motion his arm back and forth quickly several times under the neck of the inmate doing push ups. The inmate on the ground wrestled the other inmate off his back and then held his face with both his hands. From where I was positioned I thought that they were just horse playing, but I then noticed a pool of red blood on the floor where he was doing push-ups. I pressed my personal body alarm for assistance. The inmate that was doing push-ups reached down to pick up his white T-shirt to put over his face and the shirt turn beet red. The blood was gushing out at every possible angle.

Officers arrived, and were very careful escorting the bleeding inmate to the clinic because he could have been HIV positive. The inmate dripped blood from his face for several hundred feet to the clinic. I wondered if the bleeding inmate were to grab an officer and smear blood on the officer’s face to later find out that the inmate was HIV positive. It was a sick thought, but those are the thoughts of a correction officer.

We later found out that the inmate received over 1000 stitches to his face. Imagine receiving 1000 stitches to your face. What type of job could you get if you make it home with so many prison scars on your face? I never saw that inmate again. Inmates that get viciously assaulted in that manner never return home from jail because if you get cut or stabbed in any manner like that you have to retaliate, meaning doing physical harm to the person who assaulted you and that gets you a new jail case behind the prison walls.

Tune in for more violence. That’s just one incident out of hundreds.

Lorenzo has created a prison DVD called Scarface 4 Life where he takes you into the most violent prison on Rikers Island.

Click here to view clips of his DVD

Click here to go to Lorenzo's website

Click here for the previous guest blog written by someone working in a prison

As this is Lorenzo's first post for Jon's Jail Journal, your comments would be greatly appreciated.

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

Shaun Attwood
Shit Slingers II (The Early Years Part 3 by Polish Avenger)

Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were committing. In Arizona, if a burglar gets killed, the accomplices can get 25-year sentences.

In the last instalment we were introduced to the "shit slinger," a rare sort of prisoner who is skilled in the art of spraying feces on others. We learned how he constructs a basic poop cannon. And we all learned the value of air freshener.

Although it was not uncommon for prisoners to blast each other with said cannons, in my experience it was usually the guards getting the – ahem – shit end of it. Yet another reason why they get hazard pay for working there. Why would someone hose down a guard? Well, there are several causes.

Disclaimer: I in no way encourage or condone drenching guards in fecal matter.

That being said, some of the guards in supermaximum prisons have… issues. A lot of them end up in there simply because they act in ways that would get them assaulted at other prison units. When you have sociopathic inmates bottled up with equally sociopathic guards, the tension is unbelievable. Both sides resent the other, and there’s constant peer pressure to act out. I’ve personally witnessed guards taunting and mocking inmates until the prisoners snapped, and then they’d pepper-spray them. But as I’ve always preached – every one here is an individual. Most of the guards I interacted with weren’t that bad; some were. Most of the inmates I interacted with at supermax were complete assholes. Put them together in a tight environment and conflict is inevitable.

The response to a poop missile is immediate – the befouled officer gets on the radio and calls in the strike team. As they don protective armor, the inmates in the block prepare their protective gear, usually a wet T-shirt over the face. If the shit slinger gets pepper-sprayed, the rest of us will be breathing the stuff for a while too!

Once the team arrives, they’ll stack up eight or ten deep in front of the cell and politely ask the fella if he’d be willing to “cuff up.” The way the cell doors are built, in order to be handcuffed, you have to assume the submissive posture of hands behind your back, squat down, and lean the hands out through the trap door. Some fellows don’t go easily!

A can or two of pepper spray helps the intransigent inmate to rethink his actions, and then the team plows in shields first to insist upon you cuffing up.

Either way, you’re going out to one of those holding cells we talked about. You’ll be there for 24-72 hours to cool down. Oh yeah, and you just got some more time as even throwing water on a staff member is a felony. Of course, if you’re already a lifer, as many of them are, who cares?

This is not a happy environment. But it’s not meant to be.

Finally, we begin to see why such a large clean-up crew was needed! This cycle of feces and pepper happened almost every single day I was there, and I was there for 22 months. From what I hear, it’s still like that.

That is a lot of poop.

In my next post, we’ll meet Magnum, the Rambo of shit slingers. That guy is a legend!

Click here for Polish Avenger’s previous blog.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

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

Shaun Attwood
Reading From Jon's Jail Journal - Cockroach Excerpts

I'm blessed to have a friend such as Charlie in London who choreographed this video, including coming up with the idea of projecting live cockroaches onto the cell wall. He even rented out a disused police station in Deptford and provided a camera crew.
Bob Marley (Part 4 by Guest Blogger Mark Nelson)

This is a continuation of Mark’s story about his time in prison in Venezuela.

After hospital I went to various prisons and police stations in Caracas until Thomas was released. At that point I had to go back to San Antonio – even though the other gang members were still there.

On the day I returned, there was a big reception for me – people were amazed that I was still alive. Thankfully, there was a new boss, and he told me that if anyone gave me trouble, I should tell him.

Even so, I found it difficult especially at night – I always slept with one eye open. I wanted to transfer home, but it was a long process, and took longer than I wanted. I was involved in a lot of fights. At one point I made a phone call to my family, told them I loved them, and asked them to take care of my daughter and my son, because I didn’t think I was going to come out of there alive.

There was a riot during that time. It came about because of visiting restrictions and access to food. People were throwing stones. It was mayhem. The soldiers came in and started shooting. We all had to get down. They separated the foreigners from the locals, and made us strip naked. We had to lie naked in the yard for two hours, in the burning sun. They beat some of the prisoners. They warned us: “If anyone gets up or raises an arm, we will shoot you, no questions.”

In 2007, I was visited by two caseworkers from Prisoners Abroad. It was a quieter time in the prison. There had been a lot of war during 2005, and a lot of gang members had died, so the authorities had moved some of the gang leaders. I couldn’t talk much to the caseworkers. It was still too dangerous. I knew about Prisoners Abroad because they had been sending me money, and I used to read the newsletters they sent me.

The experience I had changed my outlook on life, and my outlook on people. I had never seen anything like that before. I’ve seen so many young people die. It was like hell. When you woke in the morning there was no guarantee that you would survive the day. Lots of times I would be woken by someone pointing a gun in my face and shouting at me. My stomach still hurts from where I was shot. I get a lot of cramps. I also have trouble with my breathing. I’m seeing a doctor now, but I don’t think he can do much because of the way they did the surgery in Venezuela. It wasn’t professional. But I was lucky. I had been seen by the governor’s private doctor, as they didn’t want a foreigner to die there. I think I would have died if I had been left in the prison hospital – it was so unhygienic, there were cockroaches and worms everywhere.
This experience will never leave me until the day I die. It certainly made me more self-aware, and aware of other people. It’s all young people that were doing these gang things – they were early twenties, with the bosses in the mid-thirties.

After four years, I finally left prison in Venezuela in December 2007, and transferred back to HMP Wandsworth in England. I was released in August 2008. I was home. I could relax. I didn’t have gunshots around my head, there wasn’t fighting and blood everywhere. There was so much brutality in San Antonio. I was just glad that I was out of danger. I’m so happy that I’ve got my liberty back. I can breathe much better and try to sort my life out. Even though I’ve lost everything – my girlfriend, my family. I've seen my children once since I’ve been back, although we’ve talked on the phone occasionally. I don’t have any money, and I’m not really stable yet. I need to sort myself out. My children are okay with their mum. My daughter’s just finished university. She showed me her graduation photo, which made me happy. I feel embarrassed and upset, because she went through a life where I wasn’t there for her. Her Daddy wasn’t there for her like her Mum was, so I feel bad. But I’m back now, and trying to get on good terms with her. But she’s upset with me, and had a go at me and told me how I wasn’t there for her, and had left her mother to do all the work. She told me I shouldn’t have got into trouble, and it was my fault that I had gone to prison. But she also said that I’m back now, she loves me, but she’ still upset with me. I just told her that I need to take it one day at a time, and improve things bit by bit. I still need to get my real self back after my experience in San Antonio.

I’m now trying to get myself some practical skills. I’m also keen to give people good advice, so they don’t end up going through what I did. People don’t realise what the consequences will be, but they won’t be nice. I want to let people know about the experience I went through, to open their eyes.

Click here for Part 3

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Shaun Attwood
How to Survive Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jail System (Part 2)

Due to the success of part 1, I just added this follow up. Click here or on the video if you want to see the full-screen version at YouTube.

Click here for Part 1
Bob Marley (Part 3 by Guest Blogger Mark Nelson)

This is a continuation of Mark’s story about his time in prison in Venezuela.

So the gang boss said to me, “Do you want to fight him?”
I said, “Yeah, I wanna fight.”
So we had a fight and I mashed him up. I’m a big man.
After the fight, he threatened to kill me in the night. The next day he came with 15 of his gang mates and jumped me. They laid into me until the second in command of the gang stopped the fight by firing his gun.
We had to explain ourselves to the boss. I told him about the hassle Thomas had been giving me. He called Thomas over, and took his pistol off him. We fought again – and again I beat him up.

That night Thomas came to my cell, where I was chatting to King Kong and another friend. He tried to make trouble, but I just ignored him. I thought he had gone, but he came back into my cell, and I heard gunfire.

I didn’t feel any pain. It was like someone had just pricked me with a pin. When I looked down, I saw a kind of grey colour near my stomach.
King Kong was saying, “Oh my God, he shot you!”
I was holding my side for a few seconds, and started to walk out of the door towards the hospital. But I couldn’t manage more than a few yards before I collapsed. I just felt something gushing out of me.
I remember hearing my Dutch friend saying to me, “Bob Marley, don’t die. Don’t die. Stay strong.”
All I could see was a white light, and I was walking towards this light.

Just before I reached the light, my eyes opened and I was in a hospital bed. I could see my stomach had stitches everywhere – more than 60 in total. I had tubes going straight into me, so I could breathe and to feed me. The doctor told me that I was very lucky. My stomach had been blown to pieces, and I was 50 / 50 at one point. I lost four litres of blood – it was a miracle that I was still alive. I thought it was game over, but I thought, Someone up there loves me. God’s looking after me

I was told that the guy who shot me was going to be released soon – I couldn’t believe it, the guy had shot me! I was told there was nothing I could do about it.

After hospital, I went to various prisons and police stations in Caracas until Thomas was released. At that point I had to go back to San Antonio – even though the other gang members were still there.

Click here for Part 2

Click here for some of the best stories at Jon's Jail Journal

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

Shaun Attwood