English Ex-Con’s Book Offers View Of American ‘Hard Time’


An Englishman is offering readers a chronicle of his six years behind bars in America, reports the Guardian. Shaun Attwood, 41, originally from Cheshire, tells his life story–from college party animal to stockbroker in Phoenix to big-time drug dealer–in “Hard Time: A Brit in America’s Toughest Jail.” The title refers to the time he spent under the control of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz.

His book opens with a Swat team smashing their way into his home and pinning him to the floor before dragging him away to face drug and money laundering charges. The scale of his crimes was such that he could have been looking at a life sentence. Instead, after plea bargaining, he received nine and a half years, of which he served almost six. “America was good to me, but I accept that I put myself in jail by knowingly breaking the law for a number of years,” he writes. “Among prisoners I used my Englishness as a talking point. Being English totally helped me; with prisoners, with guards. They called me ‘England’ and would ask me, had I met the Queen? Benny Hill? At that point I was just thankful for everything English that has gone worldwide. Although some people would come up and ask me, ‘What language do they speak in England?’ It was crazy.”

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