Things You Need To Know About Prison Consultants
A few days ago I wrote a blog that discussed some warning signs defendants should consider when interviewing prison consultants. In this blog, I wanted to offer specifics on the 11 warning signs defendants should consider.
1: The prison consultants violated their probation or were re arrested and sent back to federal prison:
I consider this to be “Logic 101.” It is hard to offer advice to people on how to get out of prison early or how not to go back to federal prison, if the prison consultants cannot keep themselves out of prison. A client who had originally hired another prison consultant was extremely upset after he learned this other consultant had violated his probation. When interviewing prison consultants, I would ask, “Have you ever been sent back to federal prison, for any reason?”
2: They have never been to federal prison:
I have a general disdain for former prison officials who were once paid to lock up defendants. Further, while they were working in federal prisons, they had no desire in ” actually correcting” or helping prisoners prepare for their release. They would never want to risk getting called, “a hug a thug”. A former prison guard or case manager can’t truly understand all of the ancillary consequences that accompany a white collar conviction–or any conviction for that matter.
3: No literature, process or structure:
I approach preparing for federal prison like I approached preparing to go to USC. When I was in high school, I followed a system. That system enabled me to get into a number of schools, including USC. Preparing for prison should follow a proven, time tested process. Ask whatever prison consultants you are considering to share some of their literature, books, videos and outcomes.
I know this blog seems self serving. It is hard not to write it without promoting my work. Still, I can defend my process, replete with courses, books, checklist, videos, case studies and more. If someone hires me, we create a timeline and completion dates. Most federal prison consultants, from my experience, simply have no proven process.
4: “If you hire me I will teach you how to survive federal prison through my special one of a kind survival program,”:
My mother was nearly exploited by a couple of shady prison consultants in 2008. She found their website that offered to teach people “how to survive life in a federal prison camp.” My mother had enough to worry about. She should not have had to add my dying in federal prison to her list. When people have nothing of value to sell, they sell fear. Prison consultants that sell fear are rampant and it is troubling. If you are going to federal prison, you will survive, I assure you.
5: “I guarantee it!”:
I do not believe in quid pro quos. In other words, pay me and I guarantee this will happen. Some prison consultants attempt to offer guarantees because they do not actually plan to invest any time. Like those prison consultants who sell fear, they sell a coveted guarantee that does not exist.
Certainly, I can guarantee I will do my job. But I cannot guarantee you will implement what I teach you, nor can I guarantee you will muster the strength to prepare on days you would rather not be in prison, which is most of the time. Sometimes it might cost be the business, but I would rather be honest and keep my integrity, than say something just to close a deal. Clint Eastwood said, “if you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”
6: Cannot offer career or professional advice on how to build a business before, during or after federal prison:
My prison consulting clients do more than just focus on mastering life in federal prison. They are actively engaged in preparing for the next phase. At some point your time in federal prison will be behind you. The question is are you ready to overcome all that awaits you? When interviewing prison consultants ask them to share how exactly they will help you build a new business before, during and after federal prison. I can tell you as I write this I am training 10 clients on how to grow an online business from federal prison.
7: Will not put you on the phone with their current or past clients:
If you are unsure if the prison consultant is right for you, ask to speak to some of his former or current clients. Then, ask tough questions, analyze and make a decision.
8: Have never actually done what they are asking you to do:
To ensure authenticity, I have been actively blogging since I surrendered to Taft Federal Prison Camp in April 2008 (wow, 9 years next month!). Make sure the prison consultants are truly qualified to help you. Do not fall for buzzwords, cliches or platitudes. Review their work extensively and ask tough questions.
9: Won’t share how well they write:
I never imagined I would write as much as I do. In February I wrote more than 50 emails for my clients to send to their lawyers. That does not include the responses I send for them. Working as a federal prison consultant is intellectually stimulating and it requires tons of writing. Ask the prison consultants you are considering to share at least 10 pieces they have written on behalf of their clients. Those pieces could include sentencing narratives they have written.
10: Would rather placate your lawyer to get a referral in the future, instead of helping hold them accountable:
This happens a lot. Instead of acting on behalf of their client, they try to curry favor with the defense attorney with the hopes they will get referrals from them in the future.
11: Testimonials on their website do not have a last name:
It is too easy to make up a testimonial. For that reason, I only included first and last names on my site. That way others can tell they are authentic. Make sure the testimonials are real.
I hope defendants who are looking into federal prison consultants find the list above useful. Certainly, I would welcome speaking with you to see if we are the right fit for one another. On that call, I will answer any questions you have and offer some specific, measurable steps for you and your family to take. Click here to get started.
P.S. I am still giving away my, “How To Get The Best Outcome At Sentencing” course. Click here for access.
Do Not Manipulate In Federal Prison Camp "Can you manipulate these people in a federal prison camp," a white-collar defendant asked me recently. "Can you please be more clear? Manipulate what people?" I asked him. "Staff. I want to ensure I get the RDAP Program,...
Politics, Prisoners, Second Chance Act By the time that I met our co-founder Michael Santos at Taft Federal Prison Camp, our country was going through a historic election. The economy was in the tank, sliding into the worst recession in recent memory. Unemployment was...
Prepare For Your Federal Sentencing Hearing: If you truly want to prepare for your federal sentencing this blog will help you. I say "truly" because our experience (our team, including Shon Hopwood and Michael Santos, have more than 50 years combined experience) tells...
Why Innocent White Collar Defendants Plead Guilty You are absolutely one of the many white collar defendants who are innocent but pleaded guilty. Let me say it again. You (along with many other white collar defendants) are 100% innocent of whatever the government says...
Presentence Investigation Report: It's Sunday March 8th. I decided to write this blog after receiving a message from a white-collar defendant. The defendant told me his lawyer told him to show up to his presentence interview with "nothing". I told him he was making a...
Financial Tips for Federal Prisoners This blog is for the white collar professional who finds himself heading to a federal prison camp or is already in a federal prison camp. As my partners, Michael Santos & Shon Hopwood, prove just because you are in federal prison...