Category Archives: Prison Consulting

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

What’s prison like on Mother’s Day???

Originally posted on Notes From An Insider:

Prison on mother’s day- the busiest place on earth. Certainly not the happiest, but the busiest. Mother’s day is the number one day for visitors in a women’s prison. You see it all. From kids who have not seen their mom’s in a year or more, to every baby daddy on earth trying to do the right thing even if just for a moment.

Mother’s day is also the hardest day if you are in prison and a mom. For many it is the only day of the year they allow themselves to be sad or even remorseful. People in prison all use different coping strategies to deal with the loss, anger and isolation of  their choices. When I was in a Federal Prison camp for mother’s day, it seemed like the only day when everyone got along with each other, or at least tried. In fact, I saw…

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Federal Prison- From Myth to “Reality”

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There are so many “finals” when dealing with Federal Prison that it becomes almost surreal. But when you think about it, the entire process is. Especially the case of Teresa and Joe Giudice. There has been much speculation and none of it true as to what happened and why I worked on this matter. The theories run from “loads of money was paid to huge fame.” None of that is true. Clearly, Teresa is a polarizing figure. One who with the right guidance good “make this right” and help people on a large and impactful scale. After all. We have made Piper Kerman a warrior and symbol of reform, Wolf of Wall Street a “fictional hero” even though he owes $100,000,000 (but has he helped a lot of people?) and Michael Vick has worked his way back the hard way to the NFL.

Teresa posed that rare opportunity to see if she was going to stay on the straight and narrow or go left or right and off track. A real chance for a platform. But here ware are- P DAY- SURRENDER- let’s get to it…

As of January 5, 2015 Teresa Giudice will be property of the BOP for the next 15 months and then 2 years of supervised release. Upon finishing her time in “camp” she will be released to a halfway house and then home.

Life will never be the same. I promise one thing. This is true. Life is never the same. Some things you never forget. Like the sound of the guards walking up and down the hall and their keys clinking together. You never forget that sound. Ever. When the guards want to sneak up the hold their keys so you do not know they are there. Keys are still a symbol of many things for me. You never forget the keys.

Day one Teresa Giudice will check into hotel Camp no way out and stay there less than a year. She will be able to bring a wedding band with no jewel (fake or not) and a necklace with a small cross. Eyeglasses, pictures and legal papers. And some addresses and a list of medications although few are given.

She will while in receiving have to urinate in a cup while a guard watches and be strip-searched. Finally she will have to cough and squat- a real gem- Why is this done? Because many are there on drug crimes and carry in drugs up their A%#. Pleasant. Not sure if they do this on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here but a good agent won’t help here. Nothing will but HUMILITY and calm- UH OH…

I have prepared many people including myself for this and not one problem I do not expect one here. Maybe I am naïve or spent too much time with Teresa, But I think she will be fine or pretend to be. She will then be given two pairs of khaki pants, shirts, and steel toe boots. Bras and underwear. That is IT. And a Doctor will come tell her what medications she will NOT get and suggest therapy Next an inmate will become her greeting committee and show her to her bunk space. She will be given a military blanket, sheets and a crappy pillow. NO showers shoes, toothpaste, shampoo or amenities!

Then the welcoming committee inmate will show Teresa to her bunk. Probably a top bunk in a poor location- AKA – waterfront property- (next to the bathroom) because of her lack of seniority.

And this is when the bizarre begins. Women will offer all kinds of things even though it is against the rules. Shampoo, soap, shower shoes, sweats, AND bible class. Some are not trying to be nice and some will be trying to screw with her.

This is a game that goes on everyday in Federal prisons thought the United States. Teresa is dammed if she does and damned f she doesn’t. She won’t be able to go to the commissary to buy amenities until whatever day is her shopping day and depending on if the BOP has attached her books- I suspect not because the ruling by Judge Salas addressed this in the Inmate responsibility plan.

Once settled in their will always be 4PM count time. This is when you stand up hold our ID card and get accounted for. Just like it sounds! After that it is dinner, some cook in the microwave, I was a master at this because I had Kosher food, and then free time. That first night is odd. Not hell because it is too soon to realize that it is for real. And too soon to make phone calls or emails. She will be allowed one two-minute call. That will be it until her phones are set up.

The first week is Admissions and orientation and a job is given. You do NOT get to decide unless you have a college degree and can be useful teaching. Teresa does not. So likely jobs will be dishes, bathrooms etc..Factory jobs are rare. Don’t expect that. And then there are shakedowns or raids. All of us suffered through those. Your bunk is turned upside down looking for who knows what and when.-

Myths-

Sorry to say there will be NO mug shot released ever. This is Federal Prison. They protect privacy. Any you see is fake. And she will be able to buy make up. Usually Revlon. Hair extensions- well they better be gone by Monday. Also, the visiting. It is not a scary place for children. We discussed this. Her children will be able to sit on her lap and it is important. They will want to see whom she is there with. What are the other women like? I asked my daughter last night if she would do it over again would she visit- her answer- “in a second, those were awful times, yet special and I felt so much better knowing you were safe.” But I had told my children the truth.

I encourage my clients to visit and be honest. Children want to know TWO things- Do you love them and are you safe. That is it!

So for Teresa this is how it will go. The honesty part- you decide- I made my decision long ago-

I have included links to the commissary. And to the Admissions and Orientation process. And do not forget, the BOP can always furlough transfer at anytime. Who knows where Teresa will walk out of but she won’t be dancing. She has a lot of work to do. As I said. Sleeping on a metal bed with a 1” mattress should change you…

My tag line has always been- change is possible, with 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 Prison Consulting, Prison conultants, prison preparation, Teresa Giudice, Wendy Feldman

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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State Prisons and Internet

I have received numerous emails, tweets and comments about Jodi Arias and her access to social media and internet. To be clear, Arias will have NO access to social media ever again.

But, she may have access to the internet. This access is on a restricted server and is for certain monitored purposes only. The uproar and confusion is simply solved by looking at facts and not rumors or fake TV shows pretending to spend time inside.

Prison, crimes and the aftermath are no joke. 

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What’s a LOHAN supposed to do???

 

The Lindsay Lohan saga in criminal court just got even more LINSANE. Really- nobody could make this up. Lohan or a lawyer on her behalf was supposed to appear in Los Angeles court today. But, neither appeared. Well, a “lawyer’ named Mark Heller did. Mark Heller- the formerly disbarred NY lawyer appeared for Ms. Lohan. But, as previously written and talked about, Heller is not a California lawyer and California criminal law and jails are much different than New York’s.

Judge Jim Dabney admonished Heller for not having local co-council and went as far as to state that Lohan must hire local lawyers or appear and state that she understands she has an “incompetent” lawyer and is willing to take that risk. So, what is Lohan going to do? The answer is as complicated as the many issues Lohan has going on.

Lohan faces charges of lying to police and a probation violation. In fact, she faces multiple jail terms and jurisdictions. This is not just a simple misdemeanor case. Lohan also faces allegations of IRS problems and a large UNPAID bill for an amount due to her previous lawyer Shawn Holley. Holley was sadly fired by Lohan after years of helping her escape jail and turn her life around. Many of us who believe in alternative sentences have seen the Lohan case demonstrate what creative options are possible for those who want to work hard to change their lives.

So, again what CAN Lohan do now? The lawyer who takes her on will have to put in many hours and be able to be creative. A global solution involving all of the criminal cases should be sought. But the problem will be who is going to pay the bill, and who is smart enough to structure such a deal. This deal will need to involve rehab, psychiatric help, probation expertise and the respect of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. A LOT of work. This legal coach suggests that Lohan get real, get busy and get a solid team together yet again. And Lindsay, I said TEAM. And that will involve a sponsorship by a quality rehab and all of us to believe. Well, it is Hollywood the land of make-believe!

 

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 alternatvive sentencing, Lindsay Lohan, Los Angeles District Attorney, Prison Consulting, prison preparation

What is prison and how do we find FREEDOM???

Everyday I work with a wide variety of clients. Sometimes I am preparing the defendant for prison, sometimes I work only with their families, prepare people for court, prepare alternatives such as community service and rehab. Always I am in crisis management mode. But recently I have noticed a sharp increase in the number of people who have not only addictions but also mental health issues. Often these are not genetic issue but problems that have developed due to abuse, stress and trauma.

So, I ask the question- what is PRISON? Many people I met while in prison myself were not only growing and learning from their experience there, but also had developed a lightness about their circumstance and re-entry. Yet, many people recently seem to be in a very dark place. Maybe this is timing, maybe this is based on the fact that they have had other chances and failed and maybe the real issue is that I am finding it necessary to have most of my clients seek serious therapy now and not just AA and other rehab options.

Thus, many people are in prisons of their own making and just do not know how to find freedom. Prison is a relative term now to me. I learned a lot from prison. Just as money can’t buy you class, escaping jail time cannot and will not buy you FREEDOM.

All of the recent repeat offenders suggest just this. We can’t expect that AA and rehab is going to turn a person’s life around. They must do the work and get to the heart of the matter. Celebrities are always in the news for repeat DUI arrests and even other crimes including shoplifting and other cries for attention. This is not a coincidence. This is a cry for help, attention and a true lack of coping skills.

One culprit may be the lack of personal connection many feel in this age of social media. It certainly adds to the stress level of many and the isolation of many more. Add those together and we have loneliness and a type of self imposed prison.

Where we find Freedom is an extension of what is prison. The answer to both is within. There is no doubt that 30 days in jail changes nothing but long term work and treatment does. So does community service and being of service to others. As I often say, Community Service should be mandatory for anybody finding themselves in a courtroom. This may indeed be the key to the path to FREEDOM.

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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February 27, 2013 · 10:14 PM