Arpaio's Gulags, As Experienced by a Limey; Plus the Media Chumps Out on the Latest Racist Tea Party

ROACH MOTEL

Dead rats in the evening slop. Cells so full of cockroaches that you sleep in a mass of them. No air-conditioning. Overcrowding. A lack of guards to watch the inmates. Violence and mayhem. White supremacists. And enough drugs to slake the appetites of Hermann Goering and Aleister Crowley, were they still alive.

If you've figured that I'm talking about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails, you've figured correctly, amigos. In that sense, Shaun Attwood's book Hard Time: A Brit in America's Toughest Jail will not undulate the eyebrows of those familiar with Arpaio's Amnesty International-condemned gulag archipelago.

Still, Attwood's hair-raising and oddly hilarious account of his two years in county stir is a reminder of the conditions that caused the deaths of Scott Norberg, Brian Crenshaw, Charles Agster, and numerous others, resulting in Arpaio being America's most sued sheriff and costing Maricopa County taxpayers more than $43 million in settlements and awards, at last count.

Attwood did his time mostly in Arpaio's Towers Jail after being arrested in 2002 for running a criminal enterprise known as the "evil empire," which dealt ecstasy and meth with more efficiency than a competing drug-trafficking syndicate operated by former John Gotti underboss Sammy "the Bull" Gravano.

Indeed, Attwood's exploits made the cover of New Times in July 2002, in an article that simultaneously caused his mother in England to have a nervous breakdown after she read it online and gave him massive street cred on the inside.

Ultimately, Attwood caught 91/2 years for his crimes, with credit for the two in Joe's joint. He served another three years in state pens in Buckeye, Florence, and Tucson before being deported back to England in 2007, courtesy of a loophole in the law allowing for his removal. He's now permanently barred from ever re-entering the United States.

Although the book, which was recently released in England and is available online through Amazon.co.uk, doesn't deal with his life in prison, he told me via phone from London that the difference between the Arizona Department of Corrections and Maricopa County facilities reminded him of varying pits of perdition.

"It's like Dante's Inferno," he related. "There are different degrees of Hell, and Arpaio's is the worst. People in the jail system who've been in the prison system, they sign plea bargains just so they can get out of the jail and into better conditions."

See, even though the state hoosegow is no coffee klatch, at least the swamp cooler works (unlike at Joe's place), the food is better, and it's actually safer, according to Attwood.

That's right, folks, those convicted of crimes are actually treated better in the state penitentiary than those simply accused of misdeeds and sitting untried in Arpaio's vast incarceration complex.

Those who don't toe the line of one of the race-based gangs that run the MCSO clink can expect to be beat down, or "smashed," in the parlance of the slammer. Brutal cage-match-type fights are commonplace. The loser often ends up carted away on a stretcher.

The detention officers get their licks in, too, usually when the place is put on lockdown and a beefy goon squad is dispatched to pummel someone into pudding. But Attwood makes the point that not all the bulls are beasts.

"Some of them were brutal," Attwood, now 42, said of the guards, "and some of them would talk to us and tell us that they didn't like Arpaio."

I'm guessing that many D.O.'s still hate Boss Hogg and company after the MCSO recently withheld $2 million in back pay from them. The U.S. Department of Labor finally stepped in and forced Maricopa County to cut 'em checks earlier this year. MCSO brass refused to distribute the checks. The county had to do that on its own.

As for the cruelty of some of his fellow inmates, Attwood told me it took a while before he became inured to it.

"The violence was so constant, I couldn't possibly put it all in the book," he said. "You have to get used to heads getting bashed against toilets and bodies getting thrown around."

Particularly menacing are the neo-Nazi thugs who usually head up the "woods," the Caucasian gang that all whites must belong to in the jails — or else.

Anyone who doubts Attwood's accounts of such violence need only look as far as the 2008 death of MCSO prisoner Robert Cotton, the video of which was first shown on KPHO. In it, Cotton's assailant, Pete Van Winkle, stomps on Cotton for 20 minutes before detention officers arrive.

Van Winkle eventually was convicted of first-degree murder. The county ended up settling with Cotton's family for $500,000.

Perhaps more disturbing than the bloodletting Attwood encounters is the fact that Arpaio's jails are awash in every kind of illicit drug imaginable, "keistered" in by the prisoners via their rectums.

The inmates are high all the time. One of Attwood's bunkmates openly deals meth and samples generously from his own supply. Prisoners pass needles around to shoot up heroin, and end up giving each other hepatitis C.

Observing all this had an ironic effect on Attwood, the former ecstasy kingpin.

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125 comments
Dumoudan
Dumoudan

Is this law Racist? Are the people who agree with this law racist?Are those who want this law enforced racist?

Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper Entry by Alien," any citizen of any country other than the United States who:Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime.Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

Ask rhe Mescan. All Illegal aliens should be allowed to apply for work permits but only while they are outside the United States in their home countries.

BARDY
BARDY

I think the prisoners should all have AC , flat screen TVs, Blue Ray players and food worthy of a 5 star restaurant. The poor things . They probably had unhappy childhoods

Artisticidea
Artisticidea

Ignorance breeds ignorance, cruelty cruelty. You are clearly no exception to the trend.This is how societies degrade into dog-eat-dog barbarism.

Splinski
Splinski

We in Az are very tired of the illegals coming here, demanding equal rights and welfare. Stay home or go to England where they will welcome you with open arms. A lot of US are unemployed and don't need them trying to take our jobs. I would put snipers on the border and "discourage" them. Don't feel sorry for ole shaun, he asked for it.

Jamesrussellgause
Jamesrussellgause

We think we live in a perfect world where every criminal gets his comeuppance and every individual suffering somehow deserves it. This is fiction; sometimes convictions fall on the innocent and sometimes the wicked get away with their misdeeds. It is foolish to think every one in jail belongs there.

Wrongful Executions of History
Wrongful Executions of History

To John, johnnyr, and Mark B, you three really don't get it. "honest, hard working people aren't in jail" ???. And what makes you think that is at all accurate ? Have you ever stopped to consider how many people in the past 6,000 years were imprisoned or executed for a crime they did not do. How many Black folks have been summarily executed for a paltry civil offense that you or I would pay a fine for. Did you know that in 2002, the governor of Illinois commuted to life terms all 101 inmate's sentences on death row. Even he was concerned about the inequity of the issuance of the law, in that 89 of those death row inmates were Black guys from Chi town. Many people in history have been subject to the ultimate payment and were innocent. May you three never face such a situation.

John
John

Its pretty simple, dont do crimes.... Ya want 3 course meals, dont do the crime, ya want coffee, dont do the crime...ya want to smoke, dont do the crime, ya get my point????? GOOD honest, hard working people arent in Jail...... Sounds to me like it is time for these people to be straightened out... Quit weining about how they are treated....

Artisticidea
Artisticidea

Due process and equal protection under the law are quaint myths when Fascist thugs prowl the streets with impunity, barring and apprehending whomever they will, whenever they will without a shred of evidence. That Arpaio can get elected again, even given the fundraising scandals, even given the horrendous slate of murders, wrongful deaths, brutality and dereliction he freely condones and covers up at his prison, is a testament to the inefficacy and injustice that corresponds to an undereducated, apathetic and powerless community created by decades of neo-feudalist GOP policies.

Plea bargains are extorted out of uninformed and fearful persons, with little to no means.Ironically, it only seems to be the poor that end up in Joe Arpaio's dirty dungeon.Your simplistic naivite only compounds these problems and intensifies the cycle of crime and brutality.

Dalton
Dalton

jail isnt supposed to be a happy place. people shoould be scared to go there

johnnyr
johnnyr

Bottom line, if you dont want to endure prison life or the trials of jail time, then keep your @@@ out of trouble. You commit a crime, then pay the piper and stop your bitc*hing.

Mark B
Mark B

Typical liberal propeganda.....The criminal becomes a victim

Jon's Jail Journal Blogspot
Jon's Jail Journal Blogspot

How are his policies working if the crime rate in Phoenix is 50% above the national average? One of the highest in the country.

Kuhn202
Kuhn202

Oh one more thing.... Did you notice that this A-hole who wrote the book has seen the error of his way????? I wonder if he would have served his time in any other jail, would he have reformed???? I do not think so... I think he would have gone right back to his old ways just as soon as he hit the streets... but Old Sherrif Joe scared his ass straight!!! Thank you Joe!

Kuhn202
Kuhn202

I am sorry that the media is giving any creedence to this criminals book. I firmly believe that if more Sherrifs were like Sherrife Joe, there would be less crime in this country. The conditions at his jail are the way they should be in all jails. The criminals in this country are treated in most states as if they are on vacation. They get tv, so they don't miss any of their favorite shows.They get a room, bed, food and do not have to work an honest 40 hour week. They get medical treatment too, all at tax payers exspence... I for one think this country does not use the death penalty enough, I also think that chopping off a hand or two might just be a good Idea... and anyone convicted of Home invasion, rape, or any violent crime needs to be treated accordingly! those people have violated the lives of innocent people, and created in them fear! we should be able to walk any street in this country without the fear of attack! at any hour of the day or night!!! and if our jails and prisons were a little scarier for these lowlife criminals maybe we could. But no, the liberals in this country want the criminal to be happy and comfortable in jail, I wonder if it's because they might just be up to some sort of behaviuor that could land them in there too.... just saying...

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Abuse of power and a culture of cruelty is unacceptable in a civil society. It's time for the good ole boys to retire and make room for the new generation!

Charnyr
Charnyr

i am guessing you are a conservative "christian" who conveniently forgets what your bible teaches ... Thou Shalt Not Kill. Why are the vocal Christians so hypocritical? You give your religion a bad name.

Kitrsh1
Kitrsh1

Blackhawk I couldnt agree more!

Russ
Russ

I am 45 years old and never have been to jail. And you know what? It wasn't difficult. So don't whine about the conditions of a jail. I like the fact jail sucks. I believe it is supposed to. If you don't like jail then behave, it is that simple.

Blackhawk19
Blackhawk19

We're supposed to feel sorry for a meth dealer?!? Fuck this asshole. You know what? Don't do the crime, and you'll NEVER have to worry about the time.

Hockey_john
Hockey_john

I agree Dave, and for the record, I have served several weeks for minor offenses a few years back. Since then I have served 2 tours in Iraq and gotten my life turned around for the better. Those convicts or law-breakers as I have read, still live and eat much better than law-abiding citizens fighting for their country. Plus, the medical and dental benefits they are entitled too makes the average tax-paying citizen envy as hell! Bottom line, do what is right, and dont put yourself in a bad situation to begin with! Take some responsibility in the first place for your actions! Makes me sick that I belong to this "feel good entitlement generation" of underachievers!

DaveToo
DaveToo

WOW, Here again is another blow hard with a LOW IQ - if your IQ is under 100 then you're closer to retarded then you are to intelligent.

How is treating some one who has not been convicted let alone even seen a judge exactly the same a pedophile rapist the american way of doing things?

Just explain to me how that is the right thing to do.

Gypsy Dave
Gypsy Dave

I am so sorry that the chef was out sick and you couldn't get your gormet meals but if you hang out awhile we will do better. God only knows our law-breaking population should be pampered. . . Too bad that roachs and rats wern't the menu for your 'visit' crybaby.

Blondpuddytat
Blondpuddytat

Hey, Gypsy Dave, until you know what the hell you are talking about, I recommend that you shut your mouth. Go spend a weekend in Arpio's jails system, I guarantee you couldn't handle it.

Oldtimer
Oldtimer

the inside jail is air conditioned i do know that much. so that's a lie. not many cock roaches in there either. another lie. this guy who wrote the book is a punk ass sniveler who cant do his time with out whining like a spoiled white mommas boy from the lilly white suburbs. if you dont like jails or the big house dont break the law. remember its only a crime if you get caught. or its not a crime if you dont get caught. 666 1661 AZ

DaveToo
DaveToo

WOW, Here again is another blow hard with a LOW IQ - if your IQ is under 100 then you're closer to retarded then you are to intelligent.

How is treating some one who has not been convicted let alone even seen a judge exactly the same a pedophile rapist the american way of doing things?

Just explain to me how that is the right thing to do.

Jon's Jail Journal Blogspot
Jon's Jail Journal Blogspot

There are multiple jail facilities within the MCSO system, and every jail provides a different experience. Sounds like Oldtimer didn't experience the max security Madison St jail. Which jail are you referring to, Oldtimer?

Slaveunit64
Slaveunit64

I have had some fun in the old "horse shoe". Nice to be accused of a crime, not convicted, and yet house with people that just hacked up their neighbors and ate their kidneys. Idiots like Gypsy Dave think you have to do something wrong to get exposed to this. I hope he finds out just how wrong he is some day. BTW.....I was never charged with ANYTHING.

Spanky
Spanky

Old timer is so right. The food is excellent, too, I must say. As for the rats, well, let's call them "the other white meat." Did I mention that there are fans in the Tents too? And every day around 4 they serve ice cream. As for the roaches, they're harmless creatures, why pick on them? My faves were the brown recluse spiders. I have to say, once I got used to the puss boils they create with their bites, I found them to be jolly company!

Michael Powers
Michael Powers

My own experience mirrors Mr. Attwood's. Did time up near St. Johns (where all the residents have one of two last names). We could always tell which guards were using. They were often the hardest on us. I'm sure there's a valid psychological reason for that, but I don't really care. There was one in particular we called "Robocop". Well, I guess ya had to be there...

Mr. Attwood was right. We're the exception, not the rule. In my own case, I think it was because I was older (mid-life crisis? shoulda just gotten a porche and a mistress like everyone else), so I wasn't susceptible to all the BS that most young, impressionable men just getting to prison are subjected to. I wasn't anyone's soldier. Least of all a bunch of ignorant skinheads.

Here's a piece of advice in the unlikely event that you find yourself in the midst of a prison riot:

Stay in the middle of the herd -- away from the predators.

Buttercup1981
Buttercup1981

For anyone who is thinking that we should change the way we hold criminals, maybe we should let them stay at your house while awaiting trial. Way to go Joe!!!

DaveToo
DaveToo

WOW, Here again is another blow hard with a LOW IQ - if your IQ is under 100 then you're closer to retarded then you are to intelligent.

How is treating some one who has not been convicted let alone even seen a judge exactly the same a pedophile rapist the american way of doing things?

Just explain to me how that is the right thing to do.

Thec8755
Thec8755

Who gives a shi*, jail is jail.......Joe is a God......

Michael Powers
Michael Powers

Judging by your demeanor and that of Buttercup above (great prison nickname, BTW), it's just dumb luck that has kept you guys outta prison. Pretty sad when your only real skill is the ability to obey without question.

DaveToo
DaveToo

WOW, Here again is another blow hard with a LOW IQ - if your IQ is under 100 then you're closer to retarded then you are to intelligent.

How is treating some one who has not been convicted let alone even seen a judge exactly the same a pedophile rapist the american way of doing things?

Just explain to me how that is the right thing to do.

watwatwat
watwatwat

And you're an uneducated hick who can't properly spell and probably dropped out of third grade. Good for you!

Knappuyen
Knappuyen

this limey should have been put to death, he is a criminal of the worst kind

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Joe's fans are writing. That should concern ALL who value your rights!

MrSmooth
MrSmooth

Death? For partying hard and selling a party drug? Guy deserves a medal if you ask me.

ggllww
ggllww

Besides....Only NEWTIMES, would publish this CRAP!

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

We thank New Times for the courage to confront abuse of power and those who lived to tell their stories. We also thank Jon!

ggllww
ggllww

Sounds like you belong, right where you are....

Go Joe, Go Joe

VIVA LOS 1070 !!!!!

DaveToo
DaveToo

WOW, Here again is another blow hard with a LOW IQ - if your IQ is under 100 then you're closer to retarded then you are to intelligent.

How is treating some one who has not been convicted let alone even seen a judge exactly the same a pedophile rapist the american way of doing things?

Just explain to me how that is the right thing to do.

Timndaisy
Timndaisy

Those people that live in SUNCITY do think bad about JOE at all. Just wait until one of their relitives comes to visit and ends up dead in his jail. Dont cry then BITCHES!!!

Concerned Citizens
Concerned Citizens

Like when they Swat team arrested the 80 something tennis players in Sun City West! Had to call 911 after they threw him to the ground and he was profusely bleeding. What happened to that story of abuse of power, over-reaction by the sheriff's department? What did that stunt cost the taxpayers? Too bad they silenced those very elderly tennis players while letting Adrian Cruz run loose at the Downtown Courthouse!

Jon's Jail Journal Blogspot
Jon's Jail Journal Blogspot

People are getting sick and the hep C carriers, when released, are spilling it over from the jail into society.

Dreamer441984
Dreamer441984

According to? Do you have a source or is this just fantasy being spread?

Dreamer441984
Dreamer441984

If it is so bad, why doesn't someone call OSHA for an inspection hmmm? Which I'm sure they have inspected sometime between now and when this "book author" visited. Bottom line, I don't want my tax dollars making jails cozy. If things were as dirty as the claims then people would be getting monstrously sick and infections left and right. I like the idea of don't break laws or hang with people who do because our jails are really really not a fun place.

Concerned Citizens
Concerned Citizens

Dreamer, People are silenced. Those like Jon who are out, can say what you do not want to hear. The jails and prisons are in deplorable conditions.

Davetoo
Davetoo

WOW, Here again is another blow hard with a LOW IQ - if your IQ is under 100 then you're closer to retarded then you are to intelligent.

How is treating some one who has not been convicted let alone even seen a judge exactly the same a pedophile rapist the american way of doing things?

Just explain to me how that is the right thing to do.

 

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