What Should Anthony Weiner Do In Federal Prison?
A number of people have sought my opinion on Anthony Weiner. Late last month, Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. One of the people that asked me about Anthony Weiner was Leslie Albrecht, a reporter with MarketWatch.
Leslie initially reached out to me get my thoughts on Martin Shkreli, who is currently confined. Through our calls and emails, Leslie wanted my thoughts on Anthony Weiner. To be fully transparent, I will share the email I sent to Leslie, after she inquired about Anthony Weiner.
“Hi Justin – I’m still working on the story on prison consultants and hope to file today. You may have seen the news that former congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months for sexting with a teen. Perhaps that’s not the type of crime your clients typically are associated with, but do you have any comments about what you would tell Weiner if he were your client? If yes I’d love to include them in the story. Thanks, Leslie”
Sex offenders are not my typical client, but I have worked with some.
As strange as it sounds, some prisoners will attempt to suck up to him, because of his quasi celebrity status. Others may seek to exploit him because of his status. He is moving into a different world where some show more respect to a killer than they do a sex offender. Given those facts, I would encourage him to lay low and study his environment. I would encourage him to avoid scenarios that could lead to trouble. For example, he should avoid table games, the television room, and even the chow hall. He should pursue a job that allows him maximize time alone to reflect. If challenged, he must understand how his response will influence the rest of his life. Namely, if someone tries to come at him because of his crime, he has to understand how his response could change his life. For example, getting into a fight could lead to a disciplinary infraction and a transfer to a higher security prison. He may spend time in the SHU, aka, special housing unit. Trust me there is nothing special about it! It takes discipline and humility to walk away when challenged. Some may call you weak, but I encourage prisoners to think much longer term, and well beyond prison. He must avoid altercations and risks of getting transferred or even picking up new charges.
I would encourage him to focus on his life after his release from prison.
I would encourage him not to feel the need to impress others with his past accomplishments. I would advice him not to share stories about deals he did, people he knew, money he made. He must lay low, and respect that he is stepping into a place where people have lived for decades. Prison is home for many people. For Anthony prison must turn out to be a small blip in his life.
I would remind him that this experience will be tougher on his children and ex wife, and that he has an obligation to not complain or blame anyone else. I would encourage him to write the story of his life, as I did. I wrote my story in five months. He has more time than me. If he wants to do it, he can.
I would remind him that humans make bad decisions, but that with the right plan and process we can overcome.
I would beg him to learn from others who have overcome struggle, like Mandela or Viktor Frankl (I send a copy of Man’s Search For Meaning to most clients).
Lastly, if given the chance I would encourage him to educate others. Despite his terrible decisions, he has accomplished a great deal in life. He could use his experiences to teach other prisoners who did not enjoy the benefits he received in life. Perhaps he can teach a class about something useful. Others can learn from him. This is a chance for him to recalibrate, to prepare for richer experiences upon his release. It will not be easy. But if remains humble, low key and keeps his family at the forefront of his mind, he can succeed.
If you would like to speak, I am available.
P.S. I hope you received my books.”
Leslie published her article yesterday. She titled it, When The Rich Get Sent To Prison, They Call These Wise Guys First.
I was grateful to contribute to the article. On a personal note, I found Leslie very kind and open minded about white collar crime and federal prison. She was willing to invest the time to better understand the circumstances of how good people can make bad decisions. Further, she understands the hardest part of the journey can be life before and after federal prison, not prison itself. She is a thoughtful reporter. I wish her well.
P.S. If you would like to speak with me, click here.