“Great idea. I’ll do it!” I told a prison consulting client from New York.
Do what you might ask?
I spent nearly 70 minutes earlier this week walking a client through all of the types of people who work inside of a federal prison. My client will be surrendering to Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp in the next couple of weeks. The goal of our call was to help him better understand all of the people with whom he will be serving time, including federal prison staff.
He felt my descriptions were so helpful, he suggested I write a blog to help those who are also embroiled in their own white-collar crime investigation. I liked his idea, so I decided to write the blog below. Let’s get going…
Like any culture or company in America, the tone, as they say, starts at the top! That cliche is no different for federal prison.
The Warden is the CEO of the Federal Prison
The warden is the CEO of the institution. Wardens have an enormous amount of influence with regard to how the prison operates. Some wardens make themselves approachable. To the extent that a person in prison positions himself well, he can influence the warden’s perception.
As a federal prisoner, it’s crucial, to begin with a clear understanding of success. Exercise discretion when it comes to approaching a warden—or anyone else. Lay the groundwork first, before asking the warden to intervene on anything. Understand that the warden has enormous power with regard to every person in the prison. In the various books that Prison Professors and White Collar Advice have written, we described how wardens influenced our success through the journey. Pay close attention to the extensive amounts of back work that we did. Also, note how we were selective when requesting assistance.
Successful federal prisoners know that to win the war, they have to lose some battles. Mastery requires us to know which battles to fight. Fighting the wrong battle puts us on weaker ground when it comes to fighting the battles that will have the most influence on our prospects for success.
Staff Members Inside A Federal Prison? Associate Wardens
The associate wardens are part of the warden’s executive staff. They oversee various departments within the prison. For example, the Associate Warden of Programs will oversee unit staff. The Associate Warden of Operations will oversee facility management. The population level of the prison will influence how many AWs are available.
Staff Members Inside A Federal Prison? Department Heads
Department heads oversee specific departments. For example, the Unit Manager oversees all case managers. A Unit Manager reports directly to the Associate Warden of Programs. The Unit Manager will ask inmates to resolve matters directly with the case manager.
Staff Members Inside A Federal Prison? Line Staff:
Line staff includes case managers, cook supervisors, counselors, landscape foreman, maintenance leaders, and others who work in various departments. They report to their respective department heads.
Staff Members Inside A Federal Prison? Case Managers
Case managers oversee all matters that pertain to a person’s case. Once the judge sentences a person “To the custody of the attorney general,” that person becomes an “inmate” as far as concerns the system. And case managers will have direct oversight of the inmate. The inmate will not have a lawyer. The inmate must learn how to advocate for himself effectively. Case managers will be a key person to influence. Although policies guide decisions, there is always some discretion. A successful federal prisoner will learn how to influence staff members in the Bureau of Prisons in a positive way.
Staff Members Inside A Federal Prison? Counselors
Counselors in federal prison do not offer the type of counseling that someone outside of prison would expect. Rather, they perform jobs like approving visiting lists and assigning jobs. It’s best to understand the limited role that counselors play in federal prison. That way, people spare themselves the disappointment that comes from expecting too much.
I hope you found this summary helpful. If you have questions, simply text or call me at 818-424-2220.
P.S. Have you seeing a demonstration of our calculators?