Category Archives: drug abuse treatment

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

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October 22, 2013 · 8:46 PM

Mindy McCreedy is DEAD- as predicted here- RIP…

Sadly singer Mindy McCreedy has died from a gun shot wound that was self inflicted. On January 24, 2013 I wrote about McCreedy and why rehab alone does not work. And here we are. The criminal justice system, reality TV and our mental health system has failed.

McCreedy was under investigation in the death of her boyfriend- hmmmm

The saddest part is that she is a prime example of a person who spent years in rehab and jail and still was NO better. WHY???? Because rehab and 12-step alone does not work. There is such a thing as MENTAL ILLNESS and we need to start treating these people as not simple addicts. Addiction exists, but for many there is a much more serious mental health component. Television shows like the one McCreedy was on- Celebrity Rehab- do a great injustice to those suffering. Mental health treatment needs to be done by a professional not just an ex addict.

Like many of my clients, McCreedy was court ordered to “treatment” many times. But, this NEVER took into account that she needed intensive mental health treatment not just addiction/ DUI classes. Judges must wake up. When I prepare an alternative sentence for a client it always looks at the long term well being for them. Like rehab, therapy and community service. Too often lawyers are looking for the easiest way to “get their client off.” That will backfire in the end. My job is the long term and to help my clients change their lives and ways. Lawyers must open their eyes and this is why many of the good ones now work with me to accomplish both goals.

I wrote a lot about the death of my client actor Johnny Lewis  this summer. He was not an addict at all. He was ill. I have several clients now where I am literally fighting for their lives as the court system is not helping but hurting by sending them to rehab alone. We must stand up and out and educate ourselves and our judges. Sadly, we all know of many more to come. For now, Mindy McCreedy R.I.P.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. 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 on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, drug abuse treatment, Johnny Lewis, Mindy McCreedy, prepare for jail

Celebrities- DUI and death- what we CAN DO…

It seems that a day doesn’t go by without a celebrity arrest or even worse a death from drugs and alcohol. So, why are celebrities arrested at a higher rate for DUI than the rest of us? Simple- grandiosity and entitlement. These are two criminal thinking errors and usually a daily part of a celebrity’s life. There is also the problem of a lack of reality and the “yes” people who often surround the celebs. Think CONRAD MURAY.

Another question is why do these celebs that have money actually take the risk and drive themselves? Again simple, they feel they are invincible at best and on drug runs at worse. Further, even the rehab programs that many of these celebs go to are so star struck that they do not treat the patient correctly. This is sad but very true. One has to ask what the true motives are when “treating” a celebrity of high profile person. I work with many in my consulting practice and sad to say but lawyers, PR people and agents all have different motives and agendas.

Often judges do not understand how to handle these cases either. Judges may feel that jail is a deterrent for drug addiction and that court mandated AA is enough. This is laughable. Anybody who has ever been an addict or known one understands that once can’t reason with somebody in the midst of their addiction and jail is certainly NOT the answer nor a deterrent. I encourage judges to hand down serious therapy, formal probation AND Community service. As anybody who reads my work knows, I believe community service helps people find their passion, gives them self worth all while serving society.

This week already we have seen yet another Amanda Bynes issues even while her criminal cases are pending, the arrest of Olympian Shaun White, the arrest of Michael Turner and Sally Struthers.  And we wonder why our Incarceration Nation is broken?

We must get serious and know when treatment is needed and how best to make it work. That means empowering the person, not shaming them while making them accountable for their actions. There are consequences and that is something that everybody has, even Hollywood celebs.

To begin to change our system and save lives we must first understand why it is broken and break down what is really going on. I for one am sick and tired of lawyers who only think about “getting their client off” and not how to live the rest of their lives. Clients are not notches on a belt but people who need long term help.

Remember, change is possible but it takes work AND understanding. Let’s start now and educate rather than judge.

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. 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 on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Fox News and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@custodialcoaching.com. 

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Filed under addiction, alternatvive sentencing, celebrities, d.u.i, drug abuse treatment, prepare for jail, prison consultant, Sage Stallone

Why teen mom Amber Portwood needs a team…

Teen mom star Amber Portwood is making headlines for telling an Indiana judge that she would rather do jail time than more rehab. Does this make sense? Yes and no. First of all many media reports are that Portwood will serve out the remainder of a 5 year jail sentence in actual custody per her request. This is only partially true. On Thursday Portwood was being held in an Indiana jail on a contempt of court charge stemming from her testing positive while in a drug diversion program. Portwood told the judge “she was a bad girl” and couldn’t comply with the original court order and drug treatment. In February Teen Mom was sentenced to five years in an Indiana prison on drug charges, but the judge in the case said that all charges would be dropped if Portwood completed a drug diversion program.

Breaking it down it is obvious that Portwood needs a quality TEAM. If she were my client I would insist she saw a quality psychiatrist and an addiction specialist while completing her court mandated rehab. Yet Portwood seems convinced that serving 5 years in jail is the only way to get and stay sober, and the only way to stay out of legal trouble. Is this rational? Of course not and yet why would we expect a person in severe crisis like Amber Portwood to be able to make good choices?

The fact of the matter is that I work with people like Portwood every day. People who find themselves in legal trouble are also often dealing with addiction and mental health issues. I take into account the entire picture when helping clients and their families handle an arrest and potential jail time. The truth is that nobody is better off in jail than in a quality treatment program and it is likely that Portwood will still be able to make a pitch to the court for an alternative sentence. This, even after Portwood has failed drug tests and lied to her caseworker in order to get out of “required” meetings and testing. But of course!

Portwood’s brother Shawn told E! News that the system has failed her. The truth is that the system is not responsible for the choices of Amber Portwood- She is and yet is unable to make good choices due to her condition. What now needs to happen is a version of in-patient treatment that includes drug rehabilitation, therapy and community service. A true ALTERNATIVE SENTENCE. Why all three? I believe that everybody in crisis benefits from community service, as if the type of service fits the need, it will empower the person in trouble while also helping society. That is the key- EMPOWERMENT.

For now all we can do is hope that there is time for a quality and long-term outcome for Amber Portwood and her child. Remember that families are the forgotten consequences of crime. Change is possible Amber- never give up.

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. 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 on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Fox News and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@custodialcoaching.com. 

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, drug abuse treatment, drug treatment programs, Prison Consulting

Need help with substance abuse- RESOURCES!!!

Lately we are reading so much about substance abuse and of course the case of Whitney Houston. The problem is that while may of us acknowledge the problem, very few of us know where to get help and how to do it. It is not as simple as going to an AA meeting or watching Intervention on TV. This is a real life problem that needs real solutions. Just as I offer alternatives to my prison consulting clients, I offer these ideas to those suffering with addiction themselves or have a loved one in crisis.

I often write that when you have a platform you have an obligation to not just point out what is wrong but offer solutions. Here are a few resources that may indeed offer many people the path to find a solution and the needed help. Remember, the first step is reaching out and asking for this help. Another step is to OFFER help even when it is not wanted. It takes little time to “Reach out and Touch.” Give it a try.

Remember that addiction does not discriminate. Addicts come in all colors sizes and sexual orientations. Rich or poor, without help the end result is the same. We must speak out and take the stigma off addiction. See below for some treatment programs and ideas that I know can work and will be effective given the right fit.

Salvation Army-

Phoenix House-

Cri Help-

Betty Ford Center-

Recovery Found- Intervention assistance

The White House Department of Health and Human Resources-

Remember in many cases people wind up incarcerated and many of these could have been spared this by getting the help they need. That is the goal. To end our incarceration nation so we can focus on the crimes that deserve to be in prison, not the drug crimes of small time addicts. Addicts need help and proper treatment. Change is possible if we all work together.

 

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Filed under addiction, drug abuse treatment, prepare for jail, prescription drugs, whitney houston