Hard Time: A Brit in America's Toughest Jail

Hard Time: A Brit in America's Toughest Jail

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Shaun Attwood

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  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 232mm x 26mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 5 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1845966511
  • ISBN 13: 9781845966515
  • Illustrations note: 1 x 8pp colour
  • Sales rank: 23,717

Product description

Using a golf pencil sharpened on a cell wall, Shaun Attwood wrote one of the first prison blogs, Jon's Jail Journal, excerpts of which were published in The Guardian and attracted international media attention. Brought up in England, Shaun took his business degree to Phoenix, Arizona, where he became an award winning stockbroker and then a millionaire day trader during the dot-com bubble. But Shaun also led a double life. An early fan of the rave scene in Manchester, he formed an organisation that threw raves and distributed Ecstacy. Before being convicted of money laundering and drug dealing, he served 26 months in the infamous jail system run by the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Hard Time is the harrowing yet often darkly humorous account of the time Shaun spent submerged in a nightmarish world of gang violence, insect infested cells and food unfit for animals. His remarkable story provides a revealing glimpse into the tragedy, brutality, comedy and eccentricity of prison life.

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Author information

Upon his release from prison in the United States, Shaun Attwood returned to England, where he is now rebuilding his life. He regularly speaks to audiences of young people about the perils of drugs and the horrors of prison life.

Customer reviews

By Susan Obaza 29 Jul 2010 5

I first met Shaun Attwood about four years ago via his prison blog, jonsjailjournal. I was an average middle class mom trying to navigate the American prison system. My son was a first time offender with a third degree murder charge pending. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock, the insanity, the absolute uncertainty of dealing with the local and state penal institutions. I was frantically searching out some real, true information about what to expect inside and how to deal. Shaun's entries in his blog were the first glimmer of a voice of reason and hope that I truly felt. Up until then I did not know how our family would survive.

It was my pleasure to befriend Shaun and begin a writing relationship, and see his story unfold in real time and then on paper as he worked in earnest to realize the goal of actually fleshing out a book. And the finally to read in print what I saw him experience-this is the truest account I have ever read of what prison life is like, told with gritty reality, Shaun's signature laid back and witty Brit humor (sorry, observed from a Yank's point of view) and absolute truth. He is incapable of lying about the people he met and the experiences he went through. In my opinion this book should be text book reading for high school students, whom he now addresses about the subject in person.

Shaun's friendship, his honesty and clear-eyed look at the American prison system and what he experienced personally helped my family survive. His book is as real as it gets. I hope that other readers will get to know the man and the story-it is compelling truth.

Review quote

"A searing indictment of the controversial penal tactics of Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who revels in the title of 'America's Toughest Sheriff'" -- BBC News website "A gripping account of Attwood's time among lethal gangsters ... and of living in fear amid sewage and cockroaches" City AM "A tale of brutality and a lesson in behind-bars etiquette" Manchester Evening News "Makes The Shawshank Redemption look like a holiday camp " News of the World "A buttock-clenchingly terrifying cautionary tale" -- Meg Rosoff, author