Question Time

Liam: You came to our school recently, Rivington and Blackrod High school, I would like to take this opportunity to say, thank you for coming into my school. I found your story about life in prison interesting, it's hard to believe prison life is so bad, with the parasites and gangs, how did you manage to cope with it?

Early on in the jail before the blog started, I was with lots of people who were arrested with me, including my big friend from my hometown, Wild Man, who the gangs respected for his fighting skills. So he looked out for me. We were classified as independent, so we didn’t have to join the gang, but we had to play along with the gang rules. I was split from my codefendants after the first year, so then I had to rely on my people skills, Englishness, education etc. Then writing blogs about other prisoners enabled me to make some powerful alliances, including with Two Tonys, a Mafia mass murderer, and the mighty T-Bone.

Liam: How is T-Bone? I joined the group for him on Facebook which lead me to your blog.

T-Bone gets out soon. Here is his latest letter.

Liam: I have been reading some of your blog, and find it disturbing that someone could perform murder or rape even when they are in prison, especially gangs such as Aryan Brotherhood, ordered to murder even if they had a small sentence for what? a longer life in prison?

A lot of them are already serving life, so unless they get the death penalty, murdering someone is no big deal to them. They have many ways to not get caught for example giving someone a “hot shot” – shooting someone up with a heroin overdose, so it looks like a junkie OD’d. Video of Aryan Brother murdering an inmate in Arpaio's jail.

Liam: I think it's useful that you have been talking to other schools and find that the talk was helpful and even made me and my friends think about our actions. I used to be the "bad boy" of our year, however I went through punishments and anger classes etc which helped me to think about my actions, kind of like a mental prison, and I am interested in finding out more about your prison life. Your book "Hard Time" is there anywhere to get this book?

Hard Time is available in Waterstone’s bookstores across the UK, or click here for the Amazon link.

Liam: And for you, what was the worst thing about prison, and what was the most horrific thing about it?

The violence and the cockroaches crawling on me at night. One of the first guys I saw get smashed ended up looking dead with yellow fluid leaking from his head. Brain fluid.

Liam: Also when you told us the police took away your money, I thought that was pathetic, you was in prison for dealing drugs right?

Yes, but I broke the law, so I accept all of the consequences, including losing my assets.

I hope your doing well in life, and your family.

Many regards,


   Shaun Attwood

Question Time with T-Bone

·                                  Rhys Tubuscus Richardson
What are thinking about doing when u get out?

·                                  Tom Hart
What do you plan to do when you get out?

T-Bone answered:

I am going to work, continue my education in O.H.S.A. (Occupational Health and Safety Act), continue working out, spreading the good news and have a decent healthy relationship. I will come to Europe one day, and hopefully be able to speak to the same enthusiastic open-minded intelligent young people with Shaun. Further out, I hope with Shaun that we can turn my life story into a movie.

Shaun Attwood
Question Time

Tom asked: I was wondering now that you’re out of prison, what are you going to try and become or do you think that it will lead to something bad again? What are some of your other ambitions you want to do now that you are out of jail?

My response: My ambitions are to keep telling my story to young people in the hope they don’t make the same mistakes I did, and to make people worldwide more aware of what is going on in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail via my blog and book. Mike Stauffer, the man running against Sheriff Joe, has read my book and is disgusted by the conditions. He told me on webcam that if he gets elected, he will make positive changes in the jail. Like I mentioned in the talk at your school, I still hear the wolves howling for me to come out and party, but I channel my energy into positive activity now such as karate, yoga, BodyCombat… so I don’t see my life becoming bad again. 

Matthew asked: is what you said in the talk actually what happens in jail and the conditions, are they that bad?

Yes, they are. And that’s all I could fit in the one-hour talk. Click here for a website that tracks the deaths at Arpaio's jail.

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

Click here for the previous Question Time

Shaun Attwood

Rivington and Blackrod High School‏ (Bolton) Visit

Today, I did four talks in Bolton, with almost 100 students in each group. The talks came about thanks to Shivani (pictured below) who bought Hard Time at a Manchester Trafford Centre book signing earlier this year. She liked the book so much she urged her teachers to have me tell my story there. Thanks, Shivani!  


Shaun Attwood
Sedbergh School Visit

Last night, I drove to Sedbergh School in Cumbria, 1 1/2 hours north of my parents' house, a boarding school founded in 1525 by Roger Lupton, the Provost of Eaton College, nestled into the Howgill Fells. The rain and mist increased as I squinted my way along ascending winding roads, making the final approach feel as if I were visiting a mountainous Transylvanian castle. Pictured are Brice and Poon, my two great readers.

Shaun Attwood

Manchester Waterstone's Trafford Centre Book Signing

Thanks to the help of Mum, Emily and "Wild John" we had our second best signing ever yesterday, selling 100 copies of Hard Time. The Christmas shoppers were out en masse. Today, I almost have no voice, and Mum's back is hurting from prolonged standing up. I just hope my voice holds up for the 8 back-to-back signings leading up to Christmas Day, otherwise my public speaking career will have be put on hold.   
Emily, the newest addition to the Hard Time team, is a student who emailed to say she loved the book, and lives right around the corner from my parents' house. Even though Mum kept insisting Emily take a break, she didn't take any at all, nor did handing out flyers faze her in the slightest. At the end of the day, she said she wasn't tired and would have been happy staying even longer. Combining human confidence and charm with the stamina of a robot, Emily is a sales machine. She has kindly agreed to help at the Christmas signings.

"Wild John" is a teacher at Oldham College where I spoke two weeks ago. He assisted at the Oldham signing, which sold out (40 copies) much to the amazement of the staff who said it was one of the lowest footfall stores in the UK and originally only wanted to get 20 copies in. He is a natural at sales, talking to everyone. He really stood out in the jumpsuit, and his presence allowed my poor overworked mother who was on the verge of keeling over in the shop entrance to take a break.
Sarah (next to me in the above pic) already owns Hard Time. Spotting me, she rushed into the store to buy a second copy on the grounds that her original copy is unsigned. Bless her! 


 With Kernel, a Manchester business owner.
A big thank you to everyone who assisted at the signing and bought the book and the Waterstone's staff! Anyone who wants to dress up in jail outfits and accost random Christmas shoppers with us at the Chrismas signings please email me at Competition is already brewing between the Liverpool and Manchester Waterstone's, the highest footfall branches in the region. The Events Manager at L1, Adam, has ordered 130 copies of Hard Time, aiming to steal the record set in Manchester over Father's Day Weekend, 122 copies. Upon disclosing this to Matt, the manager at the Trafford Centre, his eyes turned big and he said Liverpool has no chance of beating what we'll sell in Manchester before Christmas. To Matt, I pledged to stay all day in an attempt to sell 200 copies.  

Click here for the previous signing blog (Oldham)

Click here for upcoming signings. The next: Guildford on December 6th and 7th.

Shaun Attwood

Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy Visit 

My three brilliant helpers.

The talk lasted for almost two hours due to all of the questions from students and teachers.

Shaun Attwood

From Frankie (Letter 16)

Frankie - A Mexican Mafia hit man and leader of prison "booty bandits." After seeing me rubbing antifungal ointment on the bleeding bedsores on my buttocks at the Madison Street jail, he proposed we have a gay prison marriage.


I received your letter and as always the pleasure is mine being on the opposite side of the fence. Thank you for being a friend and not forgetting about me. I also got both chess books. Once again thank you very much. I’m enjoying them especially being locked-up without a TV. I’m too short [close to release] and broke to buy a T.V.

Not really broke but my old lady is due to have my baby girl this month and I told my family not to send me any money, to use it to buy my baby girl stuff she will need like clothes, diapers, pampers, whatever a new baby will need cuz anything helps.

I’m going to get married and wish you could be here cuz you would be my best man and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My friend, I am retiring. I’m done with la vida loca [the crazy life] at fifty years old. Becoming a father is a big blessing cuz I’ve never been there for my two daughters and son cuz I served 18 years straight my first time in prison, then I came right back with 6 ½ more and picked up 4 ½ more in prison, which kept me out of my kids’ life. Here’s my chance to become a father to my baby girl. She will be born in the next two to three weeks.

I am also a war veteran, which will help me when I get out. Some lady from the veterans’ memorial came to see me and told me I have benefits coming but can’t collect till I’m out of prison, plus they will help me with a house and a hospital if needed.

One thing that stuck with me about you was that you didn’t like watching T.V. You kept reading books and writing to stay busy. For the next 11 months that’s exactly what I’m doing. Do you remember telling me to read books and stay away from the T.V?

Give my regards to your mom and dad and sister, and tell them I send my love. It won’t be much longer and I’ll be free without parole, and you won’t hear again that Frankie’s back in prison. I’m becoming a father to a beautiful girl. I’m not putting her through what I put my other kids through.

Take care.

 Much L&R’s

= Frankie =

Shaun Attwood
Gordon's Grammar School (Woking) Visit

Had a great reception tonight at my third visit to Gordon's. The Q&A could have gone on all night. 
It took ten shots before this student was able to stop laughing and pull a straight face.

 Demonstrating gang signs. The orange jump suits just arrived from the US manufacturer this week.
Shaun Attwood
Oldham College Visit

A big thank you to Martyn for such a well-organised series of talks and for providing old-school rave tunes that were blasted as the students seated themselves in the dark theatre, and Stephen, the supervising technician, for helping make everything run smoothly, and my three readers Lydia, Nick and Jade.

Shaun Attwood

Medical Issues (Part 5 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.

Six days went by before Ms. G came to my cell with the medical list for fasting lab line at 8am. I signed the list, lay down on my bunk and stared at the ceiling in the dark. Even though I’ve become good at fighting the loneliness and keeping feelings at bay, this time I broke down. Scared, confused, not wanting to be sick any more, I cried myself to sleep.

I woke, but couldn’t have any coffee because it’s not allowed before fasting lab line. By 7.30am, I was sat on the medical bench thinking, Let’s get this over with, so I can drink some coffee.

I was called in, and told to take a chair.
“Oh, you have good veins. I don’t have to look for them.” The nurse tied my arm off and filled the vials with blood. She pulled the elastic off my arm. “OK, hon, you’re done.”
“Thanks.” I left Medical and returned to work.

It’s now been two weeks since my lab work. I still feel sick every day. Dizzy. Vomiting. Earaches. Headaches. I still get up and go through the motions every day. I submitted a HNR form to get the lab results. Who knows how long it will take. Again, I wait. Again, I tell myself, Just breathe, but it’s getting hard.

Shaun Attwood    
London Arrest (by Guest Blogger Fergus)

Fergus is a young person recently released from a UK prison.

Saturday April 4th.  I was stood at Platform 9 of Waterloo Station, train side of the ticket barriers, my freedom of movement restricted by the handcuffs securing my wrists behind my back, and by the tight grip of a policeman adorned with a glowing sense of pride plastered over his face, surrounded by ten British transport policemen, a mere spectacle, a typical but no less gaze-worthy feature of the hustle and bustle.

I have always been reckless, no stranger to the sudden re-percussions of my actions. Even high on ketamine and alcohol, it didn’t take me long to acknowledge and accept the consequences of this scenario. Kind of like when you tread in dog dirt – you know it straight away.

They held out a folded lottery ticket with a thumb-nail-sized pile of white rocky powder.
“What’s this?”
“Ketamine,” I replied
“That’s what’s all over your face I take it?”
“Ketamine’s for horses isn’t it? Why’d you wanna do that?”
“Have you got anything else we should know about?”
“In the bag,” I said.
“Anything that might hurt me?”
“Not unless your vulnerable to paper cuts.”

He unzipped my bag and unloaded the contents onto the concrete: laptop, cables, headphones and six rolls of banknotes totalling £6,000, giving the police an idea of the magnitude of the situation.

I was at Waterloo that evening going to buy three kilograms of mephedrone or “meow meow,” not to consume, but to sell. With a street price of £45,000, the potential profit was enticing for a 20 year old with no qualifications or interesting employment opportunities.

That Saturday, I had originally decided to give myself a day off drug dealing. It had become stressful, and I hadn’t taken a break in months. I was planning on going to an illegal rave, and jumping around to loud music. Reluctant as I was to alter my plan to take a day off, as soon as I got drunk, I fell to the allure of quick easy money.    I made a call, and grabbed enough money to re-stock. I took alcohol and a few grams of ketamine, the latter of which I normally left behind, but determined to act like it was still a night off, I loosened my rules, and so a small decision dramatically effected my life, earning me a 30-month prison sentence.

As this is Fergus's first guest blog, your comments are appreciated.
Shaun Attwood
Ashford School Visit

Ashford is one of the first schools I ever spoke at - back when I was so nervous I couldn't even eat my breakfast before doing a talk.

Shaun Attwood
Oldham Book Signing Sells Out

A big thank you to all of the people who showed up for today's signing, especially the students and teachers. I spoke to around 2000 people in Oldham this week, and there was a really positive atmosphere at the signing.

 With Mum and Eric Noi of Oldham Boxing, who organised my talk at Oldham Library.

A big thank you to Lydia, one of my three student readers, as well as Nick and Jade, who sacrificed two days to read during my eight 1 1/2 hour talks at Oldham College. These three were my most dedicated readers yet.

Click here for the previous signing blog

Shaun Attwood