Category Archives: prison coaching

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.

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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

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

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

Is everybody who commits a crime a CRIMINAL???

 

There are many people I work with who think life is over once they are in the criminal justice system. But, I ask them if they consider themselves criminals. This may seem like a strange question, but it is very simple. There are eight common criminal thinking errors:

Mollification- Justifying behaviors

Cutoff

Entitlement- hello celebs

Power Orientation- threats

Sentimentality- I did it for my family

Super optimism- This is a sure thing- one time only

Cognitive Indolence (lazy behavior)

Discontinuity-I was working and then a good show came on

Many of us have one or more of these ways of thinking in our everyday lives, but people who commit crimes or are substance abusers have more than one or two. Yet, I still would not call most of my client’s criminals. They are people with generally good character who have made some very poor choices. In fact, maybe only one poor choice like drinking and driving. A true criminal goes about everyday life with an angle for everything.

A criminal act is much different than being a criminal. Once you understand this and decide if you are capable of many crimes it is easy to determine that most people in prison today are not in fact true criminals. They are people who commit crimes and have made some criminal thinking errors. Thus, they can CHANGE.

So, the next time you judge somebody remember their shoes could fit your feet. The goal must be identifying and understanding those who make mistakes and poor choices and those who will never rehabilitate. This is the key to our criminal justice system’s problems. My experience is that for most change is possible with lots of hard work.

 

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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Filed under Criminal Justice, jail, prepare for jail, prison, prison coaching, prison consultant, prison preparation, prison re entry

Is Orange the New Black???

The popular TV Show has made the secret world of Federal Prison a hot topic. But is that what Federal Prison Camp is really like? Well, in a word NO. But, what the show has done is what I have said for years. Prison is a great equalizer and a place to really learn humility and respect. Look at /how the women must learn to live in a small space, eat crappy food and yet they find things to smile about.

The truth is that there is nothing cool about Prison. But, as I always tell my clients, changing your life is cool. Prison often affords that chance because one has time to reflect.

The show also is making it a lot easier to discuss the taboo topic of prison. Especially women in prison AND their families. Families are truly the forgotten consequences of crime. When you go to prison, so does your entire family. Prison is an equal opportunity employer.

But we are sending to prison at record rates and we must look at alternatives that work. We really can’t afford to have people out of the work force and separated from their families for most of the crimes that fill our prisons today. Yes, some people do belong in prison. Some for life, but never forget that over 95% of those incarcerated are getting released and most in less than 5 years.

SO, we must make changes now. For that, I welcome Orange is the New Black and I say let the discussion begin and continue until we find solutions.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. 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, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others. 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 treatment programs, prepare for jail, prison coaching, Prison Consulting

My Birthday in Federal Prison

 

Yes, today is my birthday. And as I sit here watching the new Netflix show Orange is the New Black, I am reminded by the birthday I spent in a Federal Prison Camp. Life is a trip, and if we remember the good times and the bad times with some humor, the ride is a lot more fun and compelling.

As my readers and followers know, I am now a highly sought after legal coach and crisis management strategist. But I never forget that SIX short years ago I celebrated my birthday with strangers. Strangers, yet some of the most loyal and interesting people I ever met. And yes, many of us keep in touch. Sorry DOJ.

In fact, my dorm mates decorated my cubicle, made me gifts and of course a legendary “prison cake.” I always say that prison is a great equalizer and nothing proves my point more than memories like this one.

What happens in the secret world inside is not only a tale of survival, but also one of humanity. After all, on the outside when the going gets tough, who is really there for you? How often do people, especially friends, go out of their way to make you feel special? Sadly the truth is that many of us are way to “busy” to really think about people in our lives. Even people who are important. That is one of the “gifts” of prison– time! Time to reflect and time to make the most of the little things, not trip out on them. Would I go back? Of course not.

My birthday party was filled with fabulous decorations- toilet paper streamers- gourmet dinner- a rice and cheese soufflé- and the glorious prison cake. A prison cake is a specialty that many learn to make. It is made up of bags of crushed up cookies and prepared in the community microwave. And the gifts I received ranged from the popular crocheted scarves, to specialty water smuggled from the warehouse. Ah, the little things…and the maxi pads!

Orange is the New Black is just a sneak peak inside our world, but the memories, good and bad are very intimate. I can never replace the time lost with my family and children. But the people I met inside made me realize to never take things for granted, and I try hard to live this everyday. So on this birthday never let it be said that I have forgotten any of the unique and bizarre times that have led me to the place I am today. The past is just that, and the present is a gift that I love opening everyday.

 

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager 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 in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

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George Zimmerman and Family what’s next???

Now that George Zimmerman is FREE what’s next for him and his family? Will they be able to move on with their lives and will they ever practice some Restorative Justice and do the right thing?

Just as many clients of mine, they will have an adjustment period. It is not as simple as being acquitted and now you are FREE! Freedom comes in many shapes and sizes. For sure Zimmerman and his family will need a lot of therapy and help. They have a lot of work to do and may never be accepted back into society. For one, it is hard to tell if he has any remorse and thus Zimmerman himself is NOT a sympathetic character. Can he be rehabilitated? I am not sure, but as I always say, change is possible, but he would need to admit he made poor choices and thus needs to change.

There are two components to a successful re-entry after jail or a trial. They are family support and community ties. The community ties are absent here. One idea if they were my clients is to have Zimmerman begin doing Community Service and walking the walk so to speak. As for his family, they too are victims as families often are. Families are always the forgotten consequences of crime.

George Zimmerman may have “gotten off” but he is far from free and able to lead a decent life. After all, what was his life like before he used his gun to kill somebody? That is the question and the answer is that sadly many “rent a cops” are not qualified to carry a weapon and should not be. Now Zimmerman has a second chance and an opportunity to make something of his life and maybe help others. Time will tell. But for the short term, I suggest Zimmerman assemble a quality team to assist him with his transition so that nothing like this ever happens again. The trial is over, but the hard work is just beginning.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager 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 George Zimmerman, prepare for jail, prison coaching, prison consultant, Restoratice Justice, Trayvon Martin