Greetings from the Abyss by Jack (Part 17)

Jack is serving life without parole, and has terminal cancer. Throughout my incarceration, Jack was a positive influence. He encouraged me to keep writing, to enter short-story competitions, and we proofread each other’s chapters. Jack is seeking pen pals, so anyone interested please email me at for his details.

It’s February and nothing has changed as far as my medical status. I was supposed to go back to the oncologist in January for my six-month follow-up but for some reason that did not happen. It could be that the prison rescheduled the appointment because I haven’t been seen by the dermatologist for the lesions on my arm that the oncologist wanted evaluated. Then again it could be that the nurse was right about the oncologist losing his contract. In which case there’s no telling when or if I’ll be seen by an oncologist.

In addition to the dermatologist, I was supposed to have a CT scan during January before going back to the oncologist. That hasn’t happened either. I believe that since the prison has changed providers I may be left out in the cold as to any follow-up care.

The prison normally deals with my type of situation by allowing the inmate’s condition to deteriorate to the point of death before doing anything. It’s a cost-saving strategy based on an apathetic public and a numbers game. If the Arizona Department of Corrections doesn’t provide medical care and the inmate dies, the prison saves the money that would have been spent on that care. The prison counts on the general public not caring what happens to the incarcerated, or the belief that it’s OK because we had it coming because we are in prison. As to the numbers, it’s quite simple, for every inmate that has someone on the outside that asks questions or pushes for accountability, there are hundreds that don’t have anyone to advocate for them.

I haven’t received any mail, other than your letters, from anyone else since well before Christmas. I’m trying hard not to take a bite out of the conspiracy apple, but it is such a lovely low hanging fruit it is almost impossible to resist. My mail stopped arriving around the same time the staff began asking questions about my medical care and accusing me of complaining about dying on Facebook. 

This Thursday evening, I'm speaking for 2 hours in York for Amnesty International, and I will be quoting from Jack's letters about the prison illegally denying him pain killers. Click here if you wish to attend.  

Click here for descriptions of all of the prisoners I write about at Jon’s Jail Journal ranging from Mafia hit men to giant transsexuals.

Shaun Attwood  

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