‘Hard Time’
(From Stock Market Millionaire To America’s Toughest Jail)

Shaun Attwood
 
After graduating from Liverpool University with a business degree, Shaun Attwood immigrated to Phoenix, USA to work in finance, quickly becoming a successful stockbroker, and then a millionaire day-trader during the dot-com bubble.

A fan of the rave culture in Manchester, Shaun took his love of dance music with him when he moved to the US. While working hard by day, Shaun also played hard at night, submerging himself in Phoenix’s rave underworld. By the late 1990’s, he was the head of an organisation involved in throwing raves and distributing club drugs, including Ecstasy.

A SWAT team arrested him in May 2002. He spent over two years on remand in the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County jail, where in 2004 he began the blog ‘Jon’s Jail Journal’ documenting the inhumane conditions inside which included:
gang violence and murders
• cells infested with cockroaches
• the food: green baloney and a mystery-meat slop the inmates called ‘red death’ that sometimes had dead rats in it
• coolers broken while outdoor temperatures soared up to 120 °F, causing heatstroke and bleeding skin infections

Sheriff Arpaio thrives on his reputation as ‘America’s toughest sheriff,’ which includes tactics such as making the inmates wear pink boxer shorts and the use of chain gangs.

After two years on remand, Shaun pleaded guilty to money laundering and drugs offences, and was sentenced to 9½ years. After serving almost 6 years, Shaun was released from prison in December 2007. Now banned from the USA for life, Shaun continues to highlight the experiences of his prisoner friends still inside Arizona’s prisons as well as other prisoners across the world via his blog, which went on to attract international media attention after excerpts were published in The Guardian.

Now rebuilding his life in the UK, Shaun has chosen to share his story with young people to give them an insight into the harsh realities of being a prisoner abroad. With increasing numbers of young people taking gap years, this talk will provide a real eye-opener to the potential pitfalls of getting involved with drugs and crime while in another country.

Shaun is also the author of the book Hard Time.
 
"Shaun, Our pupils rated your talk as the best one they had received all year! I would very much like to invite you to give the same talk again next year."

Chris Woodhouse (June 2009) – Deputy Head Teacher – Bishops Stortford College, Hertfordshire

“I would like to thank you for the inspiring and insightful presentation offered to our Sixth Form students. The response was unanimously extremely positive and your talk provided them with a wonderful and memorable PSHE session. I would strongly recommend you to any school wishing to challenge and educate their students on the effects of drug use.”

Message from a parent our school received by e-mail: “By all accounts a brilliant session. Dan came home and told me all about it and wants to read his book.”

Tim Hoyle (January 2010) Deputy Head Teacher Warwick School, Warwickshire
 
 
     

For more information:
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