KING’S Ely was delighted to welcome Shaun Attwood into school on May 8th to deliver two fascinating Social Relationships talks to our Year 10 students.
Shaun arrived in Phoenix, Arizona a penniless business graduate from a small industrial town in England. Within a decade, he became a stock-market millionaire. But he also led a double life.
An early fan of the UK rave scene, he threw raves and distributed ecstasy in competition with the Mafia mass murderer, Sammy the Bull Gravano, who put a hit out on him. On May 16th 2002, a SWAT team knocked his door down. Facing a 200-year sentence, he entered a lengthy legal battle. After two years of being held unsentenced, he was convicted of drug crimes and was sentenced to 9½ years, and served almost 6.
Shaun had only read finance books prior to his arrest. While incarcerated, he submerged himself in literature – reading over 1000 books, including many classics. By studying original texts in psychology and philosophy, he sought to better understand himself and his addictive personality. He credits books for being the lifeblood of his rehabilitation.
Released in December 2007, he continues to campaign against Sheriff Joe Arpaio – the boss of a jail where guards were murdering mentally-ill inmates. He keeps Jon’s Jail Journal going by posting stories mailed to him by his prison friends. In July 2008, he won a Koestler award for a short story, which he read to an audience at the Royal Festival Hall.
Banned from America for life, Shaun presently lives near London and talks to student audiences across the UK and Europe about his jail experience and the consequences he faced by getting involved in drugs and crime. He has appeared on TV worldwide, speaking about issues affecting prisoners’ rights.
Shaun is also the author of his life story, The English Shaun Trilogy, which consists of Party Time, Hard Time, Prison Time and a self-help book, Life Lessons.
It’s fair to say his talks were fascinating – thank you very much for coming in Shaun!