Being A Federal Prison Consultant

“I just want the truth. Can you help me?” a nice woman asked me after she found my number on my new Facebook page.

“I will do my best. What is concerning you?”

“My son is 35 years old. He is separated from his wife. He has two children. He just got sentenced to 14 months in federal prison. I am horrified about some of the stuff I read about federal prison. I called a prison consultant who said he would put my son through his prison survival program. I am really concerned. Why does he need a prison survival program? Is there a good chance my son will be killed in a federal prison camp?”

As readers of my book know, my mom played a big role in my rebound. When I surrendered to Taft Federal Prison Camp I was 32. I was not married nor did I have children. I knew the experience would be tougher on my family, and primarily my mom.

Hearing this mom express her concerns really impacted me. Not only is she dealing with the reality that her son will be going to federal prison, she now has to worry if he will survive the ordeal.

The Truth About Being A Federal Prison Consultant

The Truth About Being A Federal Prison Consultant

Over the years I have been called a lot of things, most of them good. Some of them, however, are not so kind. Others have called me smug, arrogant and even aloof. It is not intentional. Through it all, one thing I am is direct and honest. And in times of confusion and pain, directness and honesty can be refreshing and healing.

I am not going to bash other federal prison consultants in this blog. I do not know them, their process or the outcomes they produce. I will, however, speak to the sickening approach some take to try to secure business: in this case telling families that without their help their loved one may not survive federal prison.

I am not going to waste time getting the exact stats. But sufficed to say our country releases more than 700,000 people a year from prison. Guess what? They all survived! Guess what? They survived serving time in low security prisons, medium security prisons, United States Penitentiary and yes, even, federal prison camps.

The truth about being a federal prison consultant (in my case) is I have more influence than I ever did as a stockbroker or real estate agent. When white collar defendants reach out to me or schedule a call, I know many of them are vulnerable, scared. I can relate. My training in ethics helps me stay on track and never say or do anything that could influence them to act out of emotion or fear. They should only act if they believe the benefits of working with me outweigh any disadvantages. But the decision to hire me or any federal prison consultant should be based on facts. Facts are a stingy thing. Ultimately, the truth comes out.

That is what I told this concerned mother. I allayed her concerns about her son surviving federal prison. I told her that while I cannot speak for other prison consultants who pray on fear, I take a more direct approach. That approach requires acceptance. Any defendant much accept what life will be like as a convicted felon.

Successful prisoners work to avoid the inevitable boredom that is so pervasive in federal prison camps. Successful prisoners work tirelessly to answer questions like,:

  • How will an indictment influence my career and earning capacity?
  • How will an investigation influence my family?
  • How will a government press release impact my reputation?
  • How will my life change once I am in prison?
  • What steps should I take today to restore confidence, establish relevance, and live a life of meaning before, during and after imprisonment?

By the end of our call this mother was relieved. She also had a better understanding of the challenges ahead and what her son must do to overcome the challenges of imprisonment and beyond.

I encourage any and all reading this to ask tough questions to the people you hire. I accept my approach to preparing for federal prison is not right for everyone. It requires a level of discipline and commitment that some people cannot commit to making. But at least people considering me will be able to make an informed  decision. I hope other prison consultants recognize the influence we have. I pray they use that influence ethically and not to induce or scare wonderful people, like my mom and this mother who called me seeking the truth.

Justin Paperny

The Truth About Being A Federal Prison Consultant
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