Photograph: David Levene

I have been aware of Shaun Attwood‘s blog for a while, but never a regular reader. He’s just released a book about the filthy six years he spent in Arizona prisons.

Attwood, formerly a stockbroker and rave organiser was imprisoned in Arizona for drug dealing and money laundering. He was the first person to blog from inside a US prison. He now campaigns against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Jail’s human rights abuses.

Erwin James (also a former-prisoner) wrote about Attwood and Joe Arpaio in today’s Guardian:

In “Tent City”, a notorious convict camp in the Arizona desert that lacks even basic air conditioning, temperatures regularly top 130 degrees, causing no end of heat-related health problems among its internees. Arpaio once boasted that he spends more feeding his police dogs than he does on feeding his prisoners: “The dogs never committed a crime and they work for a living,” he said to justify the poor quality of the food served in his jails – just a couple of reasons, perhaps, why his jail system is subject to the most lawsuits and has the highest prisoner death rates in the US.


Conditions were cramped and hot and the drug culture was dominant. “I’d say 90% of the prisoners were shooting up crystal meth or heroin,” says Attwood. There were toilets in the cells, but they often overflowed with sewage. And the food was poor. “In Arpaio’s jail we were fed a diet of baloney, which was often green with mould,” he adds.

Shaun Attwood blogs at Hard Time: A Brit in America’s Toughest Jail is published by Mainstream.