Question Time

Mark Jago finished Hard Time, and emailed these questions.

How was prison after jail?

Although the prison conditions weren’t as extreme as in Arpaio’s jail, I still experienced plenty of ups and downs. I made friends with some interesting people – Two Tonys, Xena, T-Bone… – all main characters in Prison Time, the sequel to Hard time, the third book in the English Shaun Trilogy, which I hope to finish by year end.

What did you do after prison?

I spent the first year at my parents, readjusting to society. After that, I moved down south. Speaking and writing have become my full-time job.

Are you still in touch with any of the old crew? cellys? friends? family? loves?

Yes, quite a lot of them. They’ve been helping with the books, contributing to their parts.

What of your crusade for justice in the corrupt American system? or was it just the whining of someone in a bad spot and instantly forgotten once you were out of Dodge? Did you contact Congress? President Obama? Are you still campaigning with Human rights organisations?

The blog continues to expose injustice. Prisoners send me letters and I post them to Jon’s Jail Journal. The publication of Hard Time in the US is bringing the corruption to a wider audience. I get emails from outraged Americans who’ve read Hard Time. I’m working with Mike Stauffer, the politician running against Arpaio at the next election, to get Arpaio booted out. My Mum sent Hard Time to Obama and Oprah with a letter about the human rights abuses. I work with various organisations that help prisoners, including the Koestler Trust and Prisoners Abroad. Some of the proceeds from Hard Time went to them. I do regular interviews, speaking out about the conditions in Arpaio’s jail system. I’m sharing my story with tens of thousands of students yearly in the hope they won’t make the same mistakes I did. Every week, I get emails from students with positive feedback.

How have your experiences changed your outlook on life? Are you bitter? Forgiving? More or less optimistic for humanity?

It changed me completely, forever. It changed my value system, and sent my life in a whole new positive direction. I’m not a bitter person, nor do I blame anyone other than myself for my incarceration. Because of jail, I wake up with a smile on my face, knowing I’m free and in the west where we have it so good. I take full responsibility for everything I’ve ever done in my life. There's good and bad in most things, but I try to see the good in humanity.

Do you believe the system can be changed by you or me? or will those with power always use it to their advantage with complete disregard for low net worth individuals who, after all, are just flies on dog shit?

People in power have always used the masses to their advantage, but there are times when the unified masses can make changes and topple the people in power. There are many good people working to make changes in the system. From time to time, changes are made, like the closure of the maximum security Madison Street jail. But it’s a never-ending battle.

What are you up to these days? (note: my choice of words is deliberately ambiguous)

Resting with two broken fingers and bruised ribs from karate. I need to work on my blocking skills! I’m immersed in two major writing projects, Prison Time, and the life story of my friend T-Bone, a former Marine who used his fighting skills to prevent rape in prison. He served over 20 years and was released recently.

Claudia? (I was almost hopeful at the end there (in court) that you and she might get back together again? What became of her? Is she OK?)

She’s fine. She’s in the next book to be published, Party Time. Click her for an update on Claudia.

Wild Man?

Wild Man got married last year, and has calmed down a lot. His wife has worked wonders.

Your parents/sister?

My mum, dad and sister are fine. They’re happy that I’ve turned a negative into a positive, especially the talks to young people. My mum has talked at a few schools with me. Video 1. Video 2. My sister is pregnant with her second baby in two years.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

Up for re-election this year, Arpaio has moved further to the right politically. Accused of racial profiling, he’s more famous than ever in America, and at war with Obama. The abuses continue in his jail system, and I recently posted a video of his guards murdering an inmate.

Here's more of Mark's email:

You signed a copy of your book for my wife : "To Mark Happy Christmas 2011!" in a Guildford book shop. Remember?

You also gave her your business cards and said I should write and let you know what I thought of it.

So here goes ...

When anyone is asked for their opinion the temptation is to opinionate about EVERYTHING.

Like a monkey in a cage waiting for someone to take an interest, so he can fling all his saved up poo.

If you would like my views on everything I will be happy to tell you (let me know).

However, for now, I will try to stick to the point.

Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS and thankyou for AN INTERESTING BOOK. It was very claustrophobic and quite nerve racking.

HOWEVER, if there is one major criticism I must level it is that ... IT IS UNFINISHED.

A book is a work of art (infact so is everything we do in life).

There I was getting more and more emotionally invloved with all the characters (not to mention the politics of the justice system) and suddenly it stops !!!

Maybe I could find out more by doing an internet search; but I don't expect to have to do this after reading a book.

I think (just my opinion only) that a final page is required.

I need closure. I want to know what happened next.

The road goes ever ever on and I know one has to stop somewhere, sometime. I just feel this book ended too abruptly, with far too many lose ends. And for that (and no other reason) left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

I hope to hear from you maybe?

If not, no big deal. I know we all have busy lives.

I did my part, for what it's worth.

Wishing you good luck and a happy life Mr Attwood !

Mark Jago

From my response:


Thanks for taking the time to email so much. I'm working on the answers to all of your questions.

I'm glad that you found HT to beAN INTERESTING BOOK. It was very claustrophobic and quite nerve racking. The maximum security Madison St jail was shut down 2 years after I started the blog, but Sheriff Joe just opened a new high tech house of horrors down the street, and he is the boss of 6 jails in his system, so this stuff is still going on.

Here's a video of an Aryan Brother murdering another inmate at the jail:

Here's a video of guards murdering an inmate at the jail:

That you were left wanting more at the end of Hard Time was intentional. My life story is coming out as 3 books. Party Time, the prequel to Hard Time, will be published in late 2012. The sequel, Prison Time, will cover the time after Hard Time in the state penitentiary, and my return home.

If you want to read some of what happened in the prison system after Hard Time, here’s a link to some of the best stories at my blog:

Here are some blogs about my release:

2007 in England shortly after my release
My release December 2007 part 1
My release December 2007 part 2

Facebook page for Party Time:

All the best from Guildford!

Shaun Attwood

BBC Radio Interview

BBC Radio Surrey is interviewing myself and Chris Tappin, the British businessman accused of selling bomb parts. Charged with arms dealing, Chris was extradicted to Texas. Today, he was freed from a county remand jail on $50,000 bail. The BBC want my perspective on what it's like in a US county remand jail.

Click this link to listen to the interview:

Shaun Attwood

From Long Island (Letter 1)

Long Island - Promising young cellmate I taught to trade the financial markets. Released on the 11th of December '05 and rearrested February ’08. Alleged to have committed forgery and hit an officer with a car. Recently sentenced, he’s writing from Buckeye prison.

How are you? Sorry it’s taken so long to write. I honestly didn’t expect to be unsentenced for so long. I get out next month on the 22nd. I must say, not a damn thing has changed. Same people, same food, different prison, but the yard is identical to the one we shared. It makes it strange being here sometimes.

I was assigned to the Special Projects Crew last month. Trust me it sounds much more glamorous than it is. Last time we worked we were pulling weeds in the perimeter between the outside fences. I think we’re going to start painting the buildings next. It keeps me busy.

We had a really warm winter. By the end of Feb it was already in the 80’s. Ridiculous. However, I think I’m going to enjoy my first summer out of county jail in 4 years. I can’t believe I held out for so long. At least I won’t have to spend the summer in here. Hopefully, I’ll be going from an air-conditioned can to an air-conditioned work place.

Speaking of work. They lowered the unemployment rate from 9% to 8.6% last week. They said it added approximately 250,000 more jobs nationwide. I don’t know how many Arizona got. That’s one thing that scares the hell out of me about getting out. They say the economy is still horrible.

I know this might sound odd from someone sitting in prison, but I’ve had a great deal of good fortune bestowed upon me in the last year. The plea bargain being the greatest, but then landing here. I’ve had no problems at all, and have been embraced by a really good group of guys in the pod. Jobs are scarce, yet I got one of the best on the yard. Then there’s all of the little things that happen everyday that prove to me how blessed I am. Unfortunately, I live with this looming feeling of dread that something bad is coming.

From the information I’ve gathered from people that knew TwoTonys, it seems that I missed his death by over a year. I’d like to think he’s in a better place, but you know as well as I that he lived a brutal life with others on the losing end more often than not.

My mom and sister found an apartment in central Phoenix for me to move directly into when I get out. Mom’s offered to take care of the bills for a couple of months until I get on my feet. My family is investing a lot in me this time and I’m going to run with it. I think that if I can just get a job as the economy gets back to normal, I’ll be able to do better and better.

I made a great discovery last week at rec. There’s a guy in the other pod that gets Barron’s, and has back issues from Dec on. He got out of the Marines with a little money, and trades from in here with the help of his sister. He’s smart and a refreshing break from the usual conversation. 

If you write back please send your e-mail address, and I’ll write as soon as I get out. Hopefully this letter makes it to you. I’m looking forward to hearing your latest successes. If you have any questions or need any information about how it is in here now, let me know, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Take good care my friend.


Long Island

Shaun Attwood   
Guildford Library World Book Night Monday Apr 21st

This Monday I'm at Guildford library from 7.30pm to midnight with almost 30 authors from Surrey, meeting readers and answering questions. I’ve been paired up with Felix Riley, author of The Set Up, a tale of murder and mayhem set against the backdrop of the financial crash. Reading Felix’s novel, I was gripped by the pace and twists and turns. The event is free and all local people are welcome.

Shaun Attwood

Medical Issues (Part 10 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.

ADOC Medical and I are at a standstill with my earaches, headaches, sore throat…  They are still insisting it is allergies. I received two rounds of antibiotics finally, but I still have the same symptoms.

I’ve also been fighting with Medical about the severe pain in my neck, left shoulder and back. Finally, when I was one step away from beginning the grieving process, I was sent out for an MRI. The wait was slow. Sitting at the V-gate, a million thoughts rolled through my mind. Stripped out then searched before I was loaded up into the transportation van, I realised it’s been 17 years since I’ve been outside of the prison gates for anything.

For the MRI, I was to be transported to a doctor’s office in Mesa.  I do not even know where Mesa is. At the Northgate, the officers checked my face to ID one last time. The van pulled up to the front of a building. The officers got out of the van. It seemed as if all my senses were at their height. The officers returned from the building, loading guns, counting bullets. My mind had visions of a cheery B-rated prison movie. All you could do was laugh. The drive was approximately 50 minutes. I watched the cars, taking in all of the scenery as if it were something magical.

We finally arrived at the doctor’s office, and I realised there was no back door to enter. I had to step out of the van in orange prison clothes, belly chains, handcuffs and shackles in front of everyone as mothers pulled their children closer and people gawked with disguised looks on their faces.
Nice, I thought to myself.

I was shuffled to a small room, asked to fill out paperwork, and waited quietly.
Finally, they called my name. My first name: Renee. It took me a moment to digest this as I’m so used to being referred to by my last name. The technician extended his hand to shake mine. Again, I was startled as prison Medical staff would never do that. The technician advised the officers to remove the shackles and belly chains in order for me to have my MRI.

I was scared. I knew it was not going to hurt. I just knew something was wrong and I was about to find out. As the technician was telling me about the MRI, “You have to lay completely still, and if you need to come out squeeze the ball,” was all I heard. I continued to look at the officers standing so close to me and the MRI machine it was ridiculous.

The technician placed earplugs in my ears, headphone-type things on my head, and put me in the head restraint. My head was pounding wildly. They slowly slid me into the machine. The last thing I saw were the officers watching me. I listened to the beeps, blasts and whirling machine noises for God knows how long.
Periodically, the technician asked, “Rene, how are you doing? We’re almost done.”

Around the time I was about to freak out, the technician began to slide me out. My first sight was the officers. As soon as I was up and out, I was again placed in restraints. Emotionally, it was too much.  The technician was not permitted to give me any results. Again, the results had to be sent to ADOC for the prison doctor to give me them.

I was shuffled back to the small waiting room. As soon as everything was complete, they paraded me in front of the public again. I was loaded back into the van, and drove back to the prison. I returned to my room emotionally spent.  Again, I waited…

Shaun Attwood
Prison Murder Video

Every now and then, someone asks me, "How do we know the gang violence and murder you describe is really going on in US prisons?" I always tell them to go to derickatt's YouTube channel, and look at the videos of gang members and guards murdering prisoners. This new video is one of the most sickening yet. Two White Power inmates are murdering a black inmate out of racial hatred.  

Tags: murder violence stab shank inmate prison gang "aryan brotherhood" kill racism "white power" "white supremist" Police Cops Crime Gore "shaun attwood" "jon's jail journal"

Illegal Everything (John Stossel)

This video shows how behaviour is being increasingly criminalised to benefit prosecutors, detectives, private prisons... Arizona just passed a law whereby anything posted to the internet deemed "offensive" can be criminally punished, a law that could even apply to someone posting a status update on Facebook.

Shaun Attwood
Obama Gives Sheriff Joe a Federal Ultimatum (KTAR news)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has stood up to an ultimatum handed down by the federal government.

According to a press release from his office, Arpaio was told by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division that his agency would be required to have an outside monitor in place or there would be no point to holding meetings concerning alleged racial profiling by MCSO.

The release stated that, generally, the use of an outside monitor of an agency such as MCSO would remove power from the elected sheriff and give control to a person or group selected by the federal government. Essentially, Arpaio claims that the use of an outside monitor would be tantamount to allowing the federal government to control the county's sheriff office and would nullify the will of the people of Maricopa County and Arpaio's elected office.

"I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected Sheriff and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government," said Arpaio in the release. "And so to the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say, ‘This will not happen, not on my watch!'"

Sheriff's Deputy Director and Attorney Jack MacIntyre said that a federal monitor is an extreme idea and that the federal government has failed to produce any evidence that would show Arpaio's office committed racial profiling.

"We have never agreed to a monitor replacing the duly elected Sheriff," said MacIntyre in the release. "We have always been open to negotiating these issues raised by the DOJ, but never the appointment of a monitor."

Prison survival tips: 

Jail survival guide:

Shaun Attwood
The Art of Forgiveness (Part 2)

In Feb, I mentioned an article by my friend, Charlie, an ex-prisoner who is an outreach worker in a UK prison called Wormwood Scrubs. Charlie has posted a second article with a focus on Sue Hanisch, an incredibly brave woman who lost her leg during an IRA bombing.

Here's the link:

Shaun Attwood

Godalming College Visit

I ended the term at Godalming College, only 15 minutes from where I live. I did two talks for three days in a row, speaking to almost 1000 students. Now I've got two weeks off schools talks, I'm concentrating on writing T-Bone's life story. So far I've got 100 pages down, but need 200 more.

Kate and Max


 Shaun Attwood