Thames Reach Hostels Waterloo Project Visit

This week I spoke at a hostel that supports people sleeping rough on London's streets. My sister wrote an article for the Independent about the pioneering work being done at the hostel, which has resulted in improvements in the well-being of the clients and a fall in criminal activity. In the above video I'm answering questions from the clients and staff.

This week I'm off to Brussels for two days, where I'm speaking at a conference about the quality of life and autonomy in prison. I have non-stop schools talks across the UK for one month when I get back. In between all of the travel, I'm putting the finishing touches to Two Tonys' life story.

Shaun Attwood

Reentry (by Michael aka Polish Avenger)

After serving 25 years, my friend Michael who I met in Arizona prison, was recently released. He is the author of the amazing and compelling shit-slinger series of blog entries. A former software-engineering undergraduate, Michael was sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary of a store they were both committing. Here's his blog about his release:

 Why Is One of the Finest Minds of our Generation Cleaning Toilets? The Shocking Answers Below!

Re-Entry:  Life After Prison
Installment 1 
By Michael 
Aka The Polish Avenger 

                The journey from free life into prison is one of great culture shock; the transition back out is equally disorienting.  To many ex-convicts, it is too much to handle, particularly when the reality sets in of just how difficult it can be to get a foothold back in society. 

                Hurdles abound:
                                (1) one cannot work without a Social Security card that takes two weeks to obtain. 
                                (2) From there, one must get either a State ID or Driver’s License in order to cash checks or open a bank account; at least two more weeks. 
                                (3) Then, to sign up for government assistance and medical care, you have to get a copy of your birth certificate; minimum of  $17.75 and at least two more weeks.

So that’s six weeks a person would have to somehow support themselves on the $100 that DOC garnishes from your account while you are inside. 

Not an easy proposition…

Thankfully my own experience has been far wide of the norm.  My family has been exceptionally supportive, and I was hired into a volunteer position three days after release.  So I personally am doing fine, but for the average fellow who has to stay in a halfway house and work under the table, the frustration could (and has) easily drive them back into crime just to get some money for daily needs. 

So as to why I am currently scrubbing toilets at the local church - it’s my job, and I enjoy it. J

Shaun Attwood

Bad News for T-Bone

T-Bone was sentenced to 13 years today. The ruthless players in the Arizona justice system have made an example out of him for exercising his right to a trial. They don’t like to be made a fool of in court, which T-Bone managed to do by being found not guilty on all of his major charges. The justice system in Arizona is extremely racist, so even though T-Bone proved his innocence on the major charges, he was still hung out to dry.

It’s also a business thing. If T-Bone serves 10 years, the prison system will get $500,000 of taxpayers’ money to house him – that’s $50,000 a year. USA companies and politicians make big money locking people like T-Bone up. Not only that, but declassified CIA documentshave shown that the USA government was the biggest importer of the cocaine T-Bone got addicted to. The journalist who exposed this, Gary Webb, was killed. It’s all in the recent movie, Kill the Messenger. So the USA government profited from bringing the cocaine in and the USA corporations – who pay off the politicians – continue to profit from locking cocaine addicts like T-Bone up. The whole thing is a racket.

Shaun Attwood  

From T-Bone (Letter 41)

T-Bone is a massively-built spiritual ex-Marine, who uses fighting skills to stop prison rape. T-Bone’s latest letter from Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail:

Now you remember that guy Beaver I was telling you about who raped the old man with mental illness? Well, he has done it again to a guy who is gay, but wasn’t willing to partake in sexual relations with him. He raped him. I still haven’t had a chance to get to Mr Beaver yet, but I am praying for him.

There are a few things that have happened. Number one: people here are getting drugs from the doctors and crushing them up and putting them in sodas, with which they are raping their cellmates. It’s happened in different pods. Man, what a place. I see these guys with fear and shame on all of their faces. Number two: people are trying to commit suicide because of this place. Several guys tried to hang themselves recently.

I get sentenced on March 20. This whole situation is a wake-up call for me to seriously stop making excuses for things that have happened in my life. I sat there in that courtroom and listen to those people talk about me, and at times it was surreal. Those people were empty and cold, but they are in public office for justice. They tried to convict an innocent man: me, but God is in control, and he said no. He touched the hearts of the jurors and he’s going to release me. I please ask all of the people at the T-Bone Appreciation Society to pray for my sentencing.

Shaun Attwood