Category Archives: prison preparation

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

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 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

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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

Families ARE the Forgotten Consequences of Crimes

I have said this before, and I am saying it again. Far too often we forget about the families. Not just the victim’s families, but also ALL of the families.

Last week I handled a very high profile, rather ugly case involving an ex LAPD officer. The point of my involvement was not to make life easier for my client, but to make life go on for his families and the family he victimized. My client had three children under 5 and the victims’ family had two children. Lots to worry about. In cases like these it is human nature to only wonder about the victimizer and maybe his victims. But everybody is a victim. And both families will need to learn a new normal and a new way of life in order to move forward.

Criminals are often selfish, or at least selfish in that moment. The truth is the legacy lives on long after the crime. This is where are system has NOTHING in place, and where I often have the privilege of stepping in. Of course the crime and the criminal intrigue us, but we cannot have true change without looking at the larger picture. Here is where some restorative justice can make a world of difference.

My experiences, my media and my platform allow me to shine the light on stories we normally do not see and rarely talk about. The truth is that everybody has a story and society at large is severely affected by crime and those left behind. That is why we need to offer services such as bringing children to visit incarcerated parents. Therapy and quality re-entry programs.

These are how we will stop the cycle and make the past a lesson. For more information on services and what you can do visit my website at www.wendyfeldman.com. And- help make a change, if not for the person who committed the crime, but for all families.

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, 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, prepare for jail, Prison conultants, prison preparation, Restoratice Justice

What is State Prison Really Like- Jodie Arias?

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Jodie Arias was just convicted of first degree murder in Arizona. That means she will soon be transferred to Arizona State Prison. And that means Perryville even if she goes to death row. I have known many women who have served time at Perryville and currently have several clients who are still there. Bottom line- Perryville is NO JOKE. It is hard time. They do offer inmate programs for various issues, especially substance abuse, but Arias will no doubt be a lifer and that is a whole different world.

The Perryville complex houses various security levels, but Arias will be in Maximum Security and will have non contact visits and be housed in a cell not a dorm. She will have access to television and like all inmates will be able to buy a radio and various items from the commissary. In fact, high profile cases like Arias, Scott Peterson, Manson and even Casey Anthony often have strangers deposit money on their books for such items. The most popular commissary item is Ice Cream- especially in Arizona in Summer!

But, this prison stay will be no cake walk and contrary to media reports, there is no tweeting or even computers or cell phones. And yes, there are female gangs at Perryville. SO what will life be like for Jodi Arias and her family? ROUTINE. Remember, the family is a victim of Arias also and they will need to decide if they keep in contact with her. No matter what the Arias family has an adjustment period also. I often coach families on how to deal with a loved one’s incarceration. In this case it will be a whole new normal as she is never coming home.

Often the person inside tries to hustle the outsiders and play on their sympathies. I suspect Arias will do this as well. Her family will need to learn boundaries and get over any guilt they may have while showing empathy and compassion for the victim and his family.

As for Jodie Arias she must prepare for long, boring days and lonely nights now that the court drama has ended. Perryville and it’s hard core rules await.

 


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 death row for women, jail, Jodie Arias, prepare for jail, prison coaching, prison preparation, women in prison

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 who 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 · 10:11 PM