My answer to “are celebrities in federal prison” treated the same follows.

Originally answered on August 6, 2018 on

“Be careful of the fawning sycophants,” I told a prison consulting client who is a celebrity.

“You referring to the inmates or staff,” he asked.


Experience as a prison consultant has taught me that celebrities are often treated differently both by staff and fellow prisoners.

celebrities in federal prison

Due to disclosure agreements, I cannot mention names but can state that many high-profile celebrities who have gone to prison have been represented by my firm. During our preparations I have to stress the importance of laying low, mixing in, and not standing out any more than necessary. Of course that is easier said than done when you are a celebrity in federal prison.

Surprisingly, some of the biggest issues come with staff. As a policy, I encourage my prison consulting clients to avoid speaking with staff unless it is absolutely mandatory.

Communicating with staff can lead to myriad problems inside of a federal prison. On several occasions, the staff has approached my celebrity clients to communicate, to express their admiration for their work.

One must understand that the staff is generally indifferent to the plight of prisoners. Therefore when the staff takes an interest in a celebrity it can be off-putting to others. If the celebrity prisoner engages them, it can lead to further complications because that celebrity prisoner may think they are better or different than other federal prisoners.

I encourage my celebrity clients in federal prison to avoid paying for services in prison as best they can. They are already perceived as being wealthy and entitled. I encourage my celebrity clients to absolutely do their job – you’d be stunned how many people in federal prison outsource their job.

Unfortunately, not everyone that hires me takes my advice. Some political celebrities in federal prison with whom I have worked have found it hard to make changes.

In some situations, some politician clients have given into the attention from both staff and inmates. While that might ingratiate them to some, it can create problems with others within the prison.

At the end of the day, celebrities in federal prison are no different than any other prisoner. They are still required to stand for count & they only have 300 phone minutes a month. They are required to work and earn on average $.15 cents an hour. Like me, they will always be a convicted felon.

Celebrities in federal prison should not want to be treated differently. That’s hard for a celebrity because people are always kowtowing to them—-that might work in Hollywood but not on the wrong side of prison boundaries.

Justin Paperny