Medical Issues (Part 6 by Lifer Renee)

Renee Only a teenager, she received a 60-year sentence. Sixteen years later, Renee is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.

I’m still going back and forth with Medical. Waiting is crazy. Not feeling well has effected everything. It is hard to get through my work days. If I do feel decent, I’m so exhausted. Most days, I have to make or force myself to do the things I need to do. My yoga has suffered greatly with how ill I’ve been feeling.

I was standing in the doorway of my cell when my friend, Jen, who teaches aerobics class, was walking up the staircase with a scale in her hand. I told myself, Don’t do it Renee, but I didn’t listen. I said, “Jen, I want to weigh myself.”
“Sure babe, come on,” she said, but the smile on her face said, Are you sure?
We went into the rec room. I stepped on the scale
“What the fuck!” slid out of my mouth.
“Babe, you lost six more pounds, you're 122.”
“I couldn’t have. I eat all day long!”
Some of the heavier women were staring as if I did not have a right to complain about losing weight.
I left the rec room a little manic, and saw my room mate. “I’ve lost six more pounds,” I stated, throwing my hands up in the air.

Shaun Attwood

T-Bone is Free (Letter 1)

T-Bone - Radiating power and strength, this deeply-spiritual massively-built African-American towers over most inmates. He is a prison gladiator with more stab wounds than Julius Caesar. A good man to have on your side.

My brother,

How goes it across the pond?


As you know, one can’t explain the feeling. I’ve been cooking because it’s a passion of mine.

Tell all the young people and whoever is listening to be strong and at peace.  

I started serving time before the internet was invented, so I need to learn how to go online. I have an iPad in the house.

I want to make plans for us to get together. I love you, man, and miss you.

Each One Teach One

Strength and Honor

Steel Embrace


Click here to join the T-Bone Appreciation Society 

T-Bone's Kindle ebook. UK version. US version. Or download to your PC from Proceeds going to help T-Bone.

Shaun Attwood

Ms. B (by Guest Blogger Big Jason)

Big Jason was incarcerated as a youth in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Durango jail and the Arizona Department of Corrections Adobe Mountain juvenile facility for assault, attempted burglary, and violation of probation.

The Adobe Mountain School had been making headlines with horrid conditions that led to health problems, suicide, riots, staff assaults and more. In order to comply with new regulations set forth by the state, the moving around of inmates and changing of staff took place. During this change, I was selected for the new honor cottage – for inmates who had maintained excellent behavior over an extended period of time with no write ups or disciplinary infractions. If you were lucky enough to be selected, you could expect to have good movies, pool tables, ping-pong, popcorn, more free time and one of the best parts to me, you got to wear your own clothes. 

The new building wasn't ready for us to be moved into yet, so I had to pull a few days in another cottage while ours was having the finishing touches applied. My temporary home was called Laredo and had mostly kids a few years younger than me. To my surprise, I ended up bunking with a dude named Chris that I was in a group home with before being incarcerated. We got along at the group home and this was going to be a pretty good layover. 
A few days passed and word came down from my case manager that more work had to be done to the new place and it would be at least two weeks before we could move. I figured it won’t be too hard a time since Chris and I were getting along well. An added bonus was that Laredo housed a beautiful staff member named Ms. B – a case manager for kids in the cottage. She and her friend Cyndi were both pretty and rumor had it that they were known to get it on with a few lucky guys. This kind of talk was usually the spawn of some inmates fantasy from boredom behind bars or at least I had thought it was.

We returned from the gym and a group of us took up a spot in one of the open areas by the cells. Chris and me were leaning up against table and shooting the shit with some bros when Ms. B walked up with her clipboard and asked, “Hey guys, what’s up?”. Unlike the guards, Ms. B was allowed to wear her own clothes that weren't state issued uniforms, allowing her to really shine amongst the drab background of life in the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Her clothes were modern and fashionable. She wore little round sunglasses like John Lennon's that stood out against her pale complexion. Long curly hair adorned her face and bounced when she walked. Her perfume was a welcome relief to the standard smell of cleaning products and body odor that permeated the premises.

Taken back by Ms. B's presence, we all stammered and spoke up at the same time with the usual oh-nothing banter. Ms. B walked over in-between Chris and I, and pushed herself up onto the table to have a seat and talk with us. My hand had been out on the table to prop myself up and she took a seat right on it. I was shocked that she didn't immediately jump up as if to say “oops” or excuse herself from the area but she didn't. She started grinding on my hand as she talked to us like nothing deviant was going on. It was obvious she was doing this on purpose and the guys took notice. I felt really weird and at the same time I liked it. It made me feel like I was important and boosted my ego in front of my comrades. After a few minutes, she got up and left and went on about her day as if nothing had happened. We all looked at each other and began whispering. The guys kept saying how lucky I was and how they couldn't believe she just did that. I was hoping jealousy wouldn't ruin a good thing by having one of these dudes snitch her out because they weren't getting any play.

I hoped it would be an ongoing thing – a repeat performance to feed the beast she had awakened within me. During a count, she was walking by the lined-up inmates and someone yelled, “Bitch!” With a flustered face, she immediately turned around and scanned the crowd. “Who said it?” she yelled with a furious look. A few of the Hispanic kids that I didn't talk to chimed in with, “It’s that white guy, Jason.” She turned and looked at me, and told me to separate from the line and prepare to roll up for GULF. I was pissed. GULF was the isolation unit used to punish inmates beyond the normal 24 hour lock-down. 

I protested but again like many times before when I had a gripe or complaint, my words fell on deaf ears. There was no arguing or it would only make things worse. You could end being beaten by the guards and have charges brought against you for whatever they decided to say you did. I have witnessed this happen to other kids and wasn't about to let them do me like that. The C.O.'s from GULF arrived and cuffed me. I was placed on the back of a golf cart and driven away to the isolation unit for a few days of “the hole.” How this would effect my honor cottage status I had no idea. I wouldn't be seeing my case worker until I got out. My rage was being suppressed by my desire to not make things worse than they already appeared to be. In the back of my mind the only thing I thought about was getting out and running a shank up in those lying punks who caused this. Why they targeted me I was unsure. Perhaps they thought I was stealing their thunder in the cottage and because I didn't kiss their asses like a lot of the white kids did, they didn't like me. Guess I wasn't expecting this from them.

After two days at GULF, I was released back to the cottage and informed that I was not to engage with the Hispanics. It was also made clear that I should be on my best behavior as the honor cottage deal was still going through. Happy to be out of the hole, I brought my stuff back into my cell where Chris was anxiously awaiting my arrival. I told him about what they said and he agreed I should play it cool. I could have easily smashed those punks, and the thought did cross my mind, but I had to behave to get to my new home with its rewards. 

My repressed anger got the best of me again and after a day or so of steaming, I decided I would walk over to the Hispanics section and confront them. I was hoping to punk them and embarrass them for causing me to go to the hole. I knew none of them would stand to up to me, and this would give me the opportunity for some action without creating a huge scene. On the way over to their side, I passed by some cells and something caught my eye. I looked over to the left and saw two guys naked with only towels on, engaged in a mutual sex act. I'm unsure what I said but it brought the attention of other inmates and now there was a scene. A crowd formed outside the cell to see what the commotion was and bust the balls of the embarrassed lovers. Staff took notice and called for a lock-down to investigate the incident. So much for my plans.

Shaun Attwood
Student Email

This has got to be one of the nicest emails I've ever received from a student:

Hi Shaun,

You came to my school today to talk to us about drugs, and yeah like you said, I think just about everybody was expecting a boring assembly where they tell us about drugs and why we should stay off them. But today completely shocked just about everyone in the room, and moved them. I think you are amazing to come back from what you went through and what youre doing, in my opinion, really makes young people like me think twice about doing and getting involved in drugs.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, it cant be easy to remember such a hard time in your life, but I think your story really does change the way we think of drugs and exposes us to the horrible consequences of getting involved with them.
Once again, thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Jasmine Sherwood
-Steyning Grammar School

It's feedback like this that keeps me doing the talks. Thanks so much, Jasmine.

Shaun Attwood
Schools Tour

Another week of nonstop talks to schools. Here are pics of all of the students who assisted.

Tring School, Herts

Steyning Grammar School, West Sussex

The Elizabeth Woodville School, Northampton

The Elizabeth Woodville School, Northampton

The Elizabeth Woodville School, Northampton
 Shaun Attwood

From Polish Avenger (Letter 5)

Polish Avenger - A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were both committing. Author of the classic "Shit Slinger" series.

Bloody Plonk,

“’Ello there, you git!” Yes, believe it or not, it’s me at long last. As usual I’m sorry for the long silence. The conditions were I was housed were (are) very oppressive to even the basic functions of life, let alone creative endeavors like writing or painting. Now, granted, that’s not a very good excuse, but dude… that unit was literally the most soul-corroding time I’ve done since good ol’ Hotel Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

And so it is with great and happy joy that I am writing this to you from the rarefied air of minimum security! Yay! Yes, the guards came right out of the blue and insisted I come over here. I had no idea I was even eligible. Geez, the difference is just astronomical. It is so much better over here. It took a week or so to get the stress out of my body, and another to get the stink out of my clothes. And now it’s back to feeling human again, and not like neglected/abused cattle. They hired me almost immediately to do fine art on flagstone and canvas, and thus I’ve been experiencing a personal renaissance in paint. Not to mention, I can have real pro-quality equipment and not the Crayola kindergarten crap I’ve been painting with the last 8 years, which is a very happy turn of events, I consider myself fortunate to be here.

Fellow bloggers and Hard Time alumni Otis and Shane were here also. I say were as Shane got transferred for unknown troublemakery and of course took Hard Time with him as I had finished it, and it was his turn to read it. Otis also sends his love.

All right, Duke of Plonkington, I’ll get this happy news away to you. Eventually, when I get more settled, I’ll get to posting again.


The Polish Avenger 
Click here for Shit Slingers V.
Click here for Letter 4 from Polish Avenger.

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Shaun Attwood 
Schools Tour

I just got back from a one-week 600-mile tour of English schools that took me as far north as Sheffield and as far south as Dorset.

 Kingswood School, Bath
Bryanston School, Dorset

Shaun Attwood

From Warrior (Letter 13)

Warrior - Serving 14 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.


Keep doing your thing, bro. You mentioned in your letter about someone asking you why you do what you do. Because it’s the right thing to do. How many people can say with honesty in their hearts that they do the right thing and it changes lives? Who can say that they truly live by what they believe and are not just saying words to look good, attract a mate, or hold onto a job? Very few, bro. Next time someone asks you why you do what you do tell them it’s because you understand what it means to be a human being and act like one. I’d give up riches to live in poverty if I’m fortunate enough to change lives for the better. That is what life is about, allowing and aiding every soul to become the best possible version of itself.

Much Love, bro,


Click here for Warrior's blog about an undiscovered dead body of a prisoner.

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

Shaun Attwood
My brother, the Brit in a US jail (by Karen Attwood)

My family’s ordeal began in May 2002, with a phone call from my Aunt Ann, who lived in Arizona, usa. She called to tell my mother that my older brother, shaun, had been arrested. Shaun and I come from an ordinary, loving home in Cheshire. But at the age of 21, Shaun was eager to spread his wings and he followed other members of the family by emigrating to the states. For many years he enjoyed a successful career as a stockbroker and our parents had been proud of his achievements. But he had been living a double life.

He had been involved in organizing drugs sales at the raves he ran around Phoenix. His criminal activity finally caught up with him and led to a swat team knocking down his door in a dawn raid. After his arrest Shaun spent two years on remand in some of the toughest jails in America. This was a horrendous time for my family stuck on the other side of the Atlantic. At first my parents didn’t tell any of their friends as, despite the fact they had brought Shaun up well, my mother was consumed with guilt and they both felt deeply ashamed. My parents used up their life savings to get Shaun a lawyer and we flew several times a year to visit him in jail. We are used to hearing stories of life 

Inside prisons but rarely do we hear what it is like for the families. Yet family members and loved ones serve the sentence alongside the prisoner and the impact of an arrest is devastating for everyone. After a local Phoenix newspaper ran a sensational article painting shaun as a vampire-like gangster, my mother had a nervous breakdown. My father started to have panic attacks. I was full of conflicting emotions. I was angry with my brother for being so stupid and selfish but I also loved him and wanted him to be safe. I had nightmares of terrible things happening to him while inside. Eventually we told all our friends and neighbours and everyone was incredibly supportive, many writing letters to the judge about Shaun’s previous good character. In 2004, two dozen friends and family members gathered in an Arizonan court room where Shaun was to be sentenced after pleading guilty to drugs offences. Both of my parents, my two aunts and I, all spoke in mitigation, pleading with the judge to be lenient. This was the most stressful day of all of our lives. Shaun was sentenced to almost 10 years but he came out after five and three quarter years. My parents and I were there once more to welcome him back to the uk where he has - slowly but surely - rebuilt his life. 

Karen Attwood is a freelance journalist and has written a book about her experience, details of which can be found on the english shaun Facebook page. Shaun’s book Hard Time is also out now.
T-Bone is Free!

T-Bone was released on Dec 30th. The pic shows him in his "prison blues" - release clothes. He has finished his sentence and has no parole. If you want to send him a greeting, please post it in the comments below.

Click here to join the T-Bone Appreciation Society 

T-Bone's Kindle ebook. UK version. US version. Or download to your PC from All proceeds going to help T-Bone.
Shaun Attwood

From Warrior (Letter 12)

Warrior - Serving 14 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.

I’m on a Level 3 yard now, dorms and stuff. It’s fast-paced, always fights popping off, reminds me of my old neighborhood. The irony I find is that the lower the custody level, the more freedom, but the pace is faster as though we are preparing for freedom.

I’ve realized two major realities: you learn who really cares about you when you are in prison or sick. There’s no rest in prison for the weary, old or sick. In here, predators are constantly looking for prey, and those who were once prey are trying to become predators. Given that I’m ill and have lost weight, I’m in a weaker spot than I’m accustomed to. Fortunately, even though I lack strength and size now, I’ve got skills and technique to put a predator on his ass. I already had to knock two predators down, and I had to do it quick, too. Can’t let the rest of the predators smell or recognise the wounded or ill in me.

Click here for Warrior's previous blog about an undiscovered dead body of a prisoner.

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

Shaun Attwood
My First Media Story in 2012

My jail horror in US prison Click here for the original

When a SWAT team broke down the door of Shaun Attwood’s American home and arrested him for drug offences, he couldn’t deny the accusations against him.

He had been living a party lifestyle, organising raves, taking drugs himself and getting other people to sell them for him.

But although he was willing to hold his hands up and admit his mistakes, he had no idea how gruelling his punishment would be.

Shaun ended up in Maricopa County Jail, the prison with the highest death rate in America, in such unimaginably appalling conditions he came close to a nervous breakdown.

He had a cell mate who put a padlock in a sock and threatened to smash his brains out with it while he slept.

He heard prisoners’ heads being smashed against toilet bowls by other inmates, and each night had to suffer cockroaches crawling all over him.

Shaun, 43, said: “There are various gangs divided on race lines. I was approached by the white gang, called the Aryan Brotherhood, and asked what my charges were. If you are in for paedophile crimes, or offences against women or children then you are KOS - Kill on Sight.”

“I saw prisoners being stretchered out with horrific head injuries.”

Once when his family were coming to visit, Shaun was beaten up by a gang member.

“You have to fight back and try to defend yourself. If you don’t fight back then they all pile in,” he said. Shaun spent nearly six years in prison, including time in maximum security after his bail was raised to $1.5m.

“Lock down was 8pm and lights out was 10pm. Just before the lights went out you could see the cockroaches getting ready to come out and as soon as it went dark they swarmed all over the cell.”

“You could wrap yourself up in your sheet like a mummy, with just a breathing hole left for your mouth, but it was 50c heat and so hot that you ended up having to throw the sheet off and just let them crawl all over you. They didn’t bite but they go into your ears as well to get the wax.”

“The heat gave everyone skin infections as well and people would have sores full of pus.”

Shaun was unable to sleep at night and was near to a nervous breakdown when he was put on sleeping tablets.

He told his incredible story to around 400 students aged 16 to 18 at Worksop’s North Notts College.

Friendly and well-dressed, Shaun believes that not looking like a sterotypical ex-con helps teenagers to relate to him.

“I was a model student at school. I went to sixth form and then to Liverpool University where I graduated in business studies.”

“I think they can see that if this could happen to me, it could happen to them if they start getting involved in drugs.”

Shaun, originally from Widnes in Cheshire, moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1990 after graduating. He had two aunties living there and was intoxicated at first by the lifestyle.

“I got a job as a stock broker and for the first two years worked really hard and lived on cheese on toast and bananas. But then I started making a lot of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and became a millionaire during the dot com bubble of 1999.”

“I had been taking recreational drugs since getting involved in raves in Manchester in 1989. It was part of the stock market lifestyle in America, people took stuff at their desks.”

Shaun says the prison experience has changed his life completely.

“When I was in prison my sister gave me a book on yoga and I got into meditation, which helped me. I was very lucky to have the support of my family and my biggest regret is what I put them through.”

“I did 119 talks last academic year, all over the country, and I’ll be doing more this year. I’m hoping to improve my karma by doing something good.”

“Teachers have told me that the hardest to reach students are the ones who stay behind to ask me questions and I had an email from a student who said she had been dabbling in drugs but had given up after hearing my talk.”

Shaun wrote a prison blog called Jon’s Jail Journal, which put the spotlight on conditions within the jail, and has also written a book called Hard Time.

Angela Adams, head of students services at the college, booked Shaun to speak. She said: “You would have to have your head in the sand to think that no teenagers are dabbling in drugs in Worksop and this talk is part of a series on being safe.”

Click here for info on my talk to schools on drugs and prison
Happy 2012! 

Under doctor's orders to rest my vocal chords, I stayed in last night for the first time ever on NYE (excluding my prison time). I ended up watching an interview on YouTube with Richard 'the Ice Man' Kuklinski, a Mafia mass killer, responsible for over 200 murders, and considered to be one of the most dangerous prisoners ever. Kuklinski was also Sammy 'the Bull' Gravano's partner in the killing of Paul Castellano. Sammy the Bull was my Ecstasy-ring rival in Arizona. Really dark stuff:

Shaun Attwood