Category Archives: alternatvive sentencing

The Art of the Apology

DONUTGATE AND ARIANA GRANDE…

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Another day, another scandal. First of all, don’t forget that a crisis is different than a scandal. A crisis can be fixed often without anybody knowing much, while a scandal lingers and needs full-blown image control, damage control and a solid moving forward plan at the very least.

This week we have singer Ariana Grande and ‘DONUTGATE’!

And we also have our old “Racist Paula Dean back for more. Add these to the ongoing Bill Cosby issues and of course Brian Williams and others and you see what I mean- Where are the SINCERE APOLOGIES???

And that will of course bring us back to none other than Reality Infamy hall of famer Teresa Giudice. Yes, I worked with Giudice for over a year night and day, and we see now none of the apologies I helped her compose meant anything. Except they did earn her a very light sentence and her Juicy Husband a staggered surrender which is rarely done. Nice job if I do say so myself. Yet- really not as that time and energy could have been used to help somebody who really wanted to show humility and change.

Let’s start with last week and Ariana Grande. Oh even her name is grandiose isn’t it!? What looks to be silly and a childish prank, turns into a major ordeal now being investigated by the cops and other agencies. That is actually fair, as turnabout is fair play, and if the donut shop owner was not trying to exploit Grande, no one of would know about this. Yet he did sell the tape and now guess what? The owner is in trouble for health code violations- Poetic Justice to be sure!!!

But for Ariana Grande this has now turned serious. SO she licked some donuts. Yes, that may be disgusting and arrogant, but it is her anti American comments and FAT SHAMING that has people upset. And then of course her “APOLOGY’- a total dismal disaster from somebody old enough to care, but young enough to do this. She definitely needs some crisis management help before this turns into a scandal. Ms. Grande needs to apologize on a platform her fans relate to and do it with sincerity and humility and she needs to do this NOW.

As for the lovely Paula Dean– this now crosses her over into Infamy I am afraid. After all, she was in trouble for saying and then DENYING she said the N Word. Now old photos are tweeted of her son in Brown Face! Yes, these were tweeted by her social media person, but Ms. Dean- the buck always stops at the top at that would be YOU. Had YOU apologized with any sincerity the first time, this would not be so difficult. But you did not. You read a script aka teleprompter on The Today show of course, and it had no depth. No feeling, no honesty. I am sure she is sorry, but sorry she was busted. I did not feel her sorry in her soul for saying things that many of us have said. The apology was worse than the action. The lie is worse than the event. Just like always.

Brian Williams also recently apologized on the Today show- that apology fell flat also- WHY???? Because there again was no depth and no real emotion. It was forced, and I am sure it really was in many ways. An apology needs to be real, and emotive and is very telling. We have not really heard an apology from Cosby and at this point there is NO point for him to do so. It should not matter and it would not be real. Plus, he may harm himself in a way that is not obvious yet. So, Cosby gets a pass. Not because he does not owe one, but because he has no vehicle in which to do so, so many issues have harmed so many and he is OLD. But, I would ask- Bill, have you apologized to victim number ONE- your wife???? That he should do and the remaining children for ruining their legacy and dragging them all through the slop. That would also make him more appealing even just slightly, and if he were my client I would try to get him to do just this. I will not hold my breath!

I help people with the ART OF THE APOLOGY everyday. Sometimes it is before a judge and sometimes it is to build a bridge with a family member. An apology is not something you tweet or put on social media. It must be something you feel deep inside. Sometimes I get clients to feel the apology by thinking of how their circumstance has harmed their loved ones. Then I ask- do you wish to be forgiven- the answer is always YES- MY question then becomes HAVE YOU FORGIVEN YOURSELF?

That is where I get interesting responses and can start working on what I call THE ART OF THE APOLOGY- this is a process and one we need not forget or brush off. It is indicative of how you live your life and what you expect from yourself and others. SO many people expect others to behave one way and yet hey behave another. What is so hard about an apology? Well many things- first it makes one admit they are not above others, and also an apology makes one accountable. Things that are very difficult for many and more so for celebrities who surround themselves with enablers.

But it is simple- we are a very forgiving society, but we do need meaningful apologies and then move on. That simple, say it, mean it, do it and MOVE ON…

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande

 

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows such as Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, People, New York Post,Page Six, Los Angeles Times, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

 

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July 13, 2015 · 1:53 PM

Is America really the land of the FREE???

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America has never been more of a land of contrasts. The U.S Supreme court last week cleared the way for ALL people to have equal rights when it comes to marriage. A total victory for the LGBTQ community and all of us when it comes to civil rights.- Land of the FREE right?

Yet as we approach the July 4 holiday or Independence day- please do not forget that as far as the free world, America has the largest rate of INCARCERATION in the world. We also have a terribly out of control criminal justice system and of course let us NOT forget the big money involved in locking up Americans- especially women.

Have you ever heard of the prison Industrial Complex????

Money, money, money… yet we have very few programs for those who are incarcerated and re entering society and drug offenders are often denied aid for their children and other benefits. Plus who can forget the BOX that most employers make applicants check when applying for jobs about past criminal convictions. Thus, making it almost impossible to earn a living and really change lives.

SO is America land of the FREE and what can be done??? I am as a legal coach and crisis manager a solution oriented person. I also am one of the lucky people who can use past experiences to shine a light on a broken and busted system.

But, there is hope and the more Insiders like me speak out, the more we have a chance to bring about much needed change. I am often criticized for working with celebrities, yet how else to get out the message? After all- it is the message not the method that matters. If prison teaches you anything- for my clients and me it is to cherish your Freedom and to stand up and speak out.

SO back to the high levels of Incarceration in the U.S.- While looking at this do not forget that the numbers are as follows- 95% of those incarcerated are being released and most in less than 5 years. This is a HUGE problem. Sure we have Orange is the New Black and real prison TV shows like Lock UP, but whenever I am offered a TV show I ask- can we also talk about life after and the answer is NO- that is why I have yet to commit to a series- we must address all aspects of our system. Re-Entry and the struggle even I have.

Drug crimes with mandatory 10-year minimums are simply costing millions and solving nothing. The organization FAMM does much to help this cause but we need to understand at the root of Freedom is MONEY- just as with wars. For example, this is currently on Wikipedia-

“The term “prison–industrial complex” (PIC) is used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. [1] The term is derived from the “military–industrial complex” of the 1950s”

Prisons are job creators. But going deeper and after all we are talking about the Land of the Free and celebrating July 4- we still can not decide if prison is punitive or about rehabilitation. It simply must be both in most cases. This is why I ask all of MY clients, no matter what, to do community service and have written and spoken much about this.

It is time we look at crimes and determine based on that what will work to change the system- the war on drugs is an epic flop and unless we are talking kingpin regarding long prison sentences in drug cases, we must look at programs- much cheaper and they work. Spend more on probation officers and less on prisons and we may have something…

This is not to say that violent and terrible crimes do not stand alone- they MUST and then we can handle others. Oh, and while we are at reform and education here- let us ban the box and eliminate the statute of limitations on crimes against CHILDREN- simply unacceptable

For now- celebrate your choice to be FREE and America does have the best justice system, but before it is not repairable stop and think about this week of Freedom and what it all really means.

Have a Happy, safe and FREE July 4 and for those who are not free- change is possible with hard work. Freedom has many forms…

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows such as Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, People, New York Post,Page Six, Los Angeles Times, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, crisis manager, FAMM, july 4, orange is the new black, prison coaching, prison industrial complex, Wendy Feldman

CRISIS MANAGEMENT 101…

 

 

Many people ask me “what do you really do?” Well, that is a complex question that will more easily explained in my upcoming book. But suffice it to say that I have two main areas of expertise and by nature they overlap.

That is crisis management and alternative sentencing. I have written and spoken a lot over the years about alternative sentencing, the flaws in our criminal justice system and how to make re-entry a top priority.

This BLOG I am going to dedicate to crisis management. I am often called the “Real Olivia Pope.” In fact, there is a real Olivia Pope named Judy Smith. As expected she runs a crisis management firm and is very politically connected. What we do as far as business models is not even close. She is more corporate and I, mainly because of my inside experience and my alternative sentencing passion, am hands on and all in one on one. For many, especially those who need no legal help, she and her approach make perfect sense. I am more of a legal life coach. Believe me there are many others and room for more. Depends on the client, the issue and the relationship

On Secret Societies of Hollywood– a show I am a part of on E! the narrator said “lawyers get clients off the hook, but one woman. Wendy Feldman keeps them off the hook” This is often true but takes great work and lots of planning.

Crisis management means teaching clients to be risk prepared in their everyday lives- from shredding all mail, to always having people sign a NDA unless another agreement is reached that takes the place of that

. Some Crisis Management Rules I Have:

 

NEVER ALLOW GUEST’S CELL PHONES IN YOUR HOME – HAVE PEOPLE CHECK THEM WITH SECURITY

DO NOT GO TO A DR’S APPOINTMENT WITHOUT ALL STAFF SIGNING YOUR OWN NDA- BRING IT WITH YOU

DO NOT GO TO THE DR AND ALLOW THE DR TO HAVE A CELL OR CAMERA AROUND WHERE YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE PHOTOS

DO NOT ALLOW REALTORS TO BRING CLIENTS TO YOUR HOME WITH CELL PHONES UNTIL AN OFFER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AND THEN GET PHOTO APPROVAL

WIPE ALL EMAILS OFF YOUR SERVER AND TO A HARD DRIVE EVERY TWO WEEKS (SONY HACK)

UNDERSTAND THAT TEXT MESSAGES CAN BE COPIED AND ALTERED AND FORWARDED- DO NOT SEND THEM UNLESS YOU WANT CERTAIN INFORMATION OUT-

ALWAYS BEGIN A CALL WITH MEDIA THAT ASKS, “ARE YOU TAPING THIS CALL”

ALWAYS BEGIN A BUSINESS CALL WITH “ ARE YOU TAPING THIS CALL” IF SO WHY AND DO NOT AGREE TO COMPLETE THE CALL IF UNCOMFORTABLE OR TAPING

 

These are just a few things I teach my clients as their crisis manager. Other things include advice on moving violations, NEVER BLOW- take a blood test– blood tests labs are over full- and advice on how to do deal with their image, image once there has been a crisis and of course their COMEBACK. THAT ONE IS EASY IS YOU ARE AUTHENTIC AND DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE.

As a crisis manager I also set up and over see media events and often help script what a client will say. I say help because it must be a collaboration. There has been much speculation about Teresa Giudice and the speech she gave in court. That I will NOT address here. But the raw footage of me helping several clients exists. To that I say props to those clients. We do not shame people for having a voice coach or a work out trainer. Coaching people through difficult times is important and to seek help smart.

Would I have suggested Bill Cosby do a sit down like child molester Stephen Collins? HELL NO- NEVER-

The reason is why should he? There is no way to win that. No way to answer, so separate the work from the man and Cosby is giving fans the choice- It is America- make that choice and he will live with the consequences and does. This does not mean I believe him or many people I work with, but don’t forget. Clients are adults and not my friends. They make choices; I help them along the way. BUT I do not judge them nor do I ever ask if they did it. That is the benefit of my job. I know in a heartbeat- no need to ever ask.

The tips above are really just sneak peaks into one side of what I do and how I work as a crisis manager. Of course I did not talk much about media and other issues. This is just a peak. Much more will be in my book and in future appearances and blogs. For now never forget that change is possible, but it takes hard work!

 

 

Wendy Feldman is a  family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment show The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post, The Wrap and various radio shows around the world. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Olivia Pope, prison preparation, scandal, Teresa Giudice

What’s new in criminal Justice???

Well not much new, but a lot of wrong things still going on. For example, here we are in 2014 and we still have a huge disparity in sentencings in drug cases and in cases where children are harmed. There are much tougher rules for both in Federal courts. Sad but true.

Federal courts still have mandatory minimums on what can be simple drug cases, and much harsher penalties on anything having to do with children. So, it’s a true mixed bag.

What I do know is that one can “program” easier in State prison and be released much earlier than in Federal Prison. This again hardly seems fair.

And of course both have almost no help for people who need real re-entry assistance. We must start here so that people stop going back for silly reasons. Our prisons are full of people who could have served creative alternative sentences that would help both the offender and society. Remember, almost everybody incarcerated today is coming home and most in less than 5 years. A sobering thought at best.

It is 2014 and the time to change is NOW. It is not that complicated a system that we cannot change it. But, we need to understand it first. Prison is BIG money and the fewer people in prison the less money made by the Prison industrial complex. This too must change and will.

There are plenty of people who do belong in prison, but let’s work on those who can change and be rehabilitated first, This will actually make room for the people who belong there.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. She is also director of the Alternative Sentencing Program at Cliffside Malibu. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com,US Magazine, Perez Hilton, Fox News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network ID and others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Criminal Justice, prepare for jail, prison coaching, prison consultant, prison re entry, probation

Are some people beyond help? AKA CONRAD MURRAY

 

Conrad Murray is getting lots of press lately. I am not sure why as the media is just fueling the fire of a very ill man who can not be rehabilitated. This should not come as news to people who know my work, as I very publicly spoke about FIRING  Murray on Geraldo two years ago. He is one of the few who is so mentally ill that there is no chance of rehabilitation. NONE.

I meet all kinds of people in my work and most can and are rehabilitated in some way. Yes, even Lindsay Lohan and Chris Brown. But Murray is a sociopath who has his own agenda. What is amazing is how certain people in media keep giving Connie another 15 minutes and many even still call him a doctor. That’s is insane.

As a legal coach and alternative sentencing expert, I try to make a difference. But, the sad truth is that some people are beyond and are untreatable and unchangeable. Murray is one of these people.

It may be shocking, but even people who have done violent crimes can change. They may not be able to leave prison, but they can change and even make a difference while behind bars. Murray did not learn anything inside except how to order commissary.

I prefer to focus on those who need me, appreciate learning from past choices and make a positive difference in the world. There are more than enough of these people to make the world a better place, and to make working in criminal justice worthwhile. Yes, thank you Perez Hilton for calling me the “queen of the criminal justice system.” That may not be true all the time, but more often than not when people get real and get honest it works!

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. She is also director of the Alternative Sentencing Program at Cliffside Malibu. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Conrad Murray, crisis management, Lindsay Lohan, prepare for jail

CHRIS BROWN- did he do it again???? NOPE

Once again Chris Brown has been arrested. Last year he was accused of stealing a woman’s cell phone, and this time he is accused and was CHARGED with felony assault for hitting a man in Washington DC. But did he?

Now late in the day, after a weekend in jail, the charge has already been reduced to a misdemeanor and the DC judge refused to order a standard drug test for Brown. The truth is celebrities like Brown have a target on their back.

Yes, Brown should no better to go anywhere near an area where a fight is likely to break out. The same is true for Lindsay Lohan who should stay far away from drugs and alcohol especially in public. As with all celebs, much of the problem is the people who are around them after the experts like myself leave.

Many celebrities I have worked with retain me or a sober coach to work with them long after their court case has been handled. These are the people who do the work and thus have a better chance of staying out of trouble and actually making positive changes.

There is no doubt that many celebs including Chris Brown and Lindsay Lohan have received amazing alternative sentences. Last week on an E! Network special, Secret Societies of Hollywood, I was called the person who helps KEEP clients out of jail long after their lawyer is gone. While I do my best and many treatment centers do as well, in the end it is up to the person to make proper choices. Sometimes people are just not ready to give up the press even if it is negative.

As for Brown, the truth is he will have another day in court, and the truth will come out about this latest incident, but for now imagine life with a target and how YOU would handle it. Clearly Brown needs a little more help staying on the right track no matter what. Many people do, but as I always say, change is possible if you work hard.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. She is also director of the Alternative Sentencing Program at Cliffside Malibu. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Chris Brown, community service, crisis management, incarcervention, prison consultant

Can money buy you FREEDOM???

 

I am always asked this very question. In fact, I am featured on a special on E!  Entertainment Thursday October 24 about this very issue called Secret Societies of Hollywood.Heidi Fleiss

The answer is very simple- NO. Money does make access to key talent and legal professionals easier however. But far too often these “pros” are simply not worth the money they are paid and actually make the issue worse in the long run. I always tell clients a lawyer’s job is to get them off the hook, and my job is to keep them on the right track. But none of can buy our way out of a legal mess.

This is 2013 and the old tricks simply do not work. Yes, jails and prisons are overcrowded, but that alone is not enough to keep people out of them. I strive to present to judges a road map to an alternative sentence that makes sense to everybody. The defendant, the system and society, but far too often others make this process way to complicated and people get off the hook in one case and pick up another. This is why I coined the word Incarcervention. Simply a legal intervention for people who may have some elements of criminal thinking and who keep breaking the law in one way or another. Celebrities often do this because they have giant entitlement issues and really do think that money can buy freedom. It just aint so.

Currently, there are several cases in the news that would be perfect for an alternative sentence like Cee Lo Green, Heidi Fleiss, Lamar Odum and others. In those cases the money can help bring about freedom if a person has the money to go to treatment. But in the end change and true freedom is up to the person in trouble.

As I always say, change is possible but it takes real work and honesty.

 

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. She is also head of the Alternative Sentencing Program at Cliffside Malibu. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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October 22, 2013 · 8:46 PM