How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

Before I get into this blog, I should point out the obvious...

The content I create is for people who are committed to having a successful rebound after a difficult bout with the federal prison system.

It is specifically for those who do more than talk about preparing for success—they are actually willing to do it.

How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

The simple choice to act or “actually do it” is the number 1 reason my clients succeed through federal prison. Rather than hope, wish or default to their lawyer on every decision, they take action.

Why are some defendants unwilling to take action and in so doing, guarantee they will fail in federal prison?

That is a good question. That question has kept me up at night. Perhaps some defendants feel nothing really matters or their life is in such disarray they see no value in taking action.

In retrospect, I think I felt that way at one point. It can be difficult to think 1, 3, 5 and 10 years ahead when you are facing such struggle today. Still, some defendants do it. Their life is better as a result.

Let’s separate those that succeed from those that fail.

On average, fifty white collar defendants a week (or someone in their family) obtains a free copy of Lessons From Prison. Fifty a week, times 52 weeks is roughly 2,600 books a year. Not bad for a guy who wrote his book with pen and paper over the last 150 days of his term in federal prison.

Let’s identify these white-collar defendants who choose to get a copy of my book:

Type 1: College or some college, ran or owns a business, 40s-60s, retirement savings, married, children and CRAZY successful before, during and after prison.

Type 2: College or some college, ran or owns a business, 40s-60s, retirement savings, married, children and INCREDIBLY miserable before, during and after prison.

Since we have the same profile, what’s the deal? Why is one group successful and the other group miserable?

It’s simple. Those that take action and implement what they learn are successful. They also have stronger mindsets. That is all. I am not curing cancer here. This news is not earth shattering. You know this…

I’ve been told my success, or the success of some of my clients, was a result of our education or upbringing. Those comments dismiss how hard we truly worked. They are unfair generalizations.

I have clients without a college degree do better (financially, professionally, emotionally) than defendants who have gone to Ivy League Schools.


A conviction can level the playing field in many ways. A Harvard graduate with a white collar crime conviction is no different than a high school graduate with a white collar crime conviction: both are convicted felons; both have tarnished their reputations; both have been impacted financially; and both have lived on the wrong side of prison boundaries.

I am not insane…I would rather have that degree from Harvard. My point is simply the conviction levels out the playing field for those willing to work and document why they are worthy of a second chance.

Let’s talk about implementation and use my book for example.

Some people have told me Lessons From Prison really changed their life. Before reading the book they had no idea what was possible from federal prison. They also learned and embraced concepts that were once foreign to them.

So, we know many people have read my book. And based on the paragraph above many have implemented what they learned.

On the flip side, just as many have read the book and received no benefit. Zero! They achieve no higher level of success. They benefit in no way.

Why the drastic difference in results?

Is it education, background, where they are from?

I do not think so. The difference is simply the person. After all, the information is the same for every reader. The words are the same and so are the stories. It is the same book. The only difference is people process the information differently. Said a little better, some act, some do not.

I could break down this approach in many other ways.

When someone schedules a call with me, I offer them advice. I do not try to sell them on hiring me. I just offer advice. Most of the time the defendant agrees with the advice. It is sound advice. I know the advice has helped a lot of people.

What intrigues me most is what the defendant does with the advice.

A few weeks ago someone liked my new Facebook page, sent me a message, then scheduled a call. On that call, I learned their lawyer lied to them. The lawyer said, “I will be the lead lawyer for you. You are hiring me. I am a former United States Attorney. I am running the ship.”

Well, it turned out this lawyer was barely on deck--forget about running the ship. His job was to use his impressive resume to close business, then farm the work out to younger associates in his office. The client is paying the Harvard rate for a junior college lawyer. Not good...

“What should I do?” he asked me.

“You seem angry and taken advantage of. Had you known he would not really be your lawyer, you would have gone elsewhere. I would ask him a series of questions that hold him accountable. Those questions should get to the truth and make clear that the current situation is untenable,” my response seemed logical.

Well, a few days later this defendant texted me. “You know I do not want to ruffle any feathers. The other lawyers in his office I am sure are good. I kind of brought up the subject to him and he told me not to worry, that he has been a lawyer for 20 years. If I need your help in the future I’ll let you know.”

How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

This defendant was lied to. He was exploited. He paid $200K for a lawyer that is not representing him. But rather that act on the facts, he cowers.

Compare that story with a gentlemen I met last Monday at Casa Del Mar, a landmark restaurant in Santa Monica.

This gentlemen read my book, my blogs and watched all my videos. In fact, when he showed me his computer all of my blogs and videos were indexed. Before meeting, he sent me his personal narrative, which was beautifully written.

Over coffee I commented on how impressed I was at his approach to preparing for prison. He was upbeat, full of life and eager to work hard to convince the judge that he was a good person, father and businessman.

“Why do you think you are doing so well, despite your tough circumstances? After all, you might go to federal prison,” I asked him.

“Well, I don’t want this experience to define me. I want to set a good example for my kids. I want them to know we can make bad decisions, but overcome them with the right approach and a plan. Your book Lessons From Prison helped me do that,” he told me.

He went on, “at first my lawyer was not really on board with me hiring you. He told me he could prepare me for prison. But I have done my homework. I want the best expert to guide me through things no lawyer can. My extensive research tells me that is you. I told him I had hired you, and that you were part of the team.”

“What did he say?” I asked.

“He saw my resolve and he respected my decision. He is now happy to have you on the team.”

Now, it might be an overstatement to say this person who is sticking with his deceptive lawyer will fail. He might not fail. But by not using his mind, judgment, and information at hand he will not have the outcome he should. Simple.

My new client whom I met last week at Casa Del Mar, I think, is on track to have a much softer landing both because he works hard and he IMPLEMENTS what he learns from the experts he hires. Simple.

As I close, I wish to repeat the obvious. The information I share in my books is available to everyone. The only reason some people do better than others is because of what they do with the information.

How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

How To Guarantee Failure In Federal Prison

That is the choice you have. You can read my book or hire me, then do nothing with the information I give you. Or you can implement it each and every day.

I propose failure is guaranteed (in prison and elsewhere) for those who choose not to act on the information they learn from books they read or the mentors they hire.

Justin Paperny