Shaun Attwood, a former stock-market millionaire, who served time in the jail with the highest death rate in America, visited Bradford Grammar School (BGS), 23 September, to tell pupils his true story about prison and drugs.
He has been touring and speaking at three schools in the UK a week and says his story strikes a chord with many children. Shaun relayed the same experiences to young BGS pupils in order to open their eyes to the harrowing consequences of getting involved in drugs and crime.
When asked what he thought about the talk, BGS pupil Callum Haynes, age 17 from Bradford said:
“Shaun’s story was really interesting and shocking. I never knew anything like that could happen. How Shaun managed to cope was amazing. It really inspired all of us at BGS and I think it will be a story we will share a lot.”
Raised in a small industrial town in the northwest, Shaun, 48, moved to Arizona in 1991, where he worked his way up to become a top producing stockbroker and a tech-stock millionaire during the dot.com bubble. But he also led a double life. Having been a raver in Manchester in the late 80’s, Shaun took his love of dance music to the US. He threw raves and imported Ecstasy.
On 16 May 2002, a SWAT team smashed his door down. On remand for 26 months, Shaun started the first prison blog, Jon’s Jail Journal, which turned the international media spotlight on the conditions – gang members and guards murdering inmates, dead rats in the food, cockroaches crawling in his ears at night. Shaun was sentenced to 9½ years for running an Ecstasy ring. He served almost 6 years in jail.
As a speaker, author, educator and activist based in London, Shaun was extremely pleased with his visit to BGS: “All the pupils were very gripped and there was no end of questions during the session. I hope, and I’m sure, the lessons are absorbed – which is what it’s all about.”
“After seeing the horror of what drugs leads to in prison, I know I couldn’t change my past so to me it’s vitally important to go out and share my story. Particularly with young people where it’s imperative they understand such consequences.”
Shaun’s story was broadcast on TV worldwide by Nat Geo as an episode of Banged-Up Abroad. He is the author of five true-crime books with 100,000 copies sold. In ‘Hard Time’, Shaun details how he survived Arizona’s deadliest jail.
His writing, smuggled out of the jail with the highest rate of death in America, turned the international media spotlight on the conditions: dead rats in the food, cockroaches crawling in his ears at night, murders by guards and gang members. His latest book is ‘Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos’.
“All the pupils were very gripped and there was no end of questions during the session. I hope, and I’m sure, the lessons are absorbed – which is what it’s all about.”