Tag Archives: alternative sentence

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

The Busiest Place in the World- Mother’s Day In PRISON!!!!!

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 in a year or more, to every baby daddy on earth trying to do the right thing even if just for a moment. In Prison every moment of doing time counts…

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 more compassion and empathy in prison on mother’s day than I do on the outside sometimes. It is the ultimate reality check when you find yourself in prison on mother’s day.

I was lucky enough to have my family and my children visit me often. But, for those who don’t, here are some resources. Prisoners with Children is a wonderful organization and has programs to help families. The Girl Scouts also has a program to help children visit their parents as does Get On The Bus. As hard as it may seem to understand, it is only through programs like these that we can stop the cycle and begin the healing.

As I say often, families are the forgotten consequences of crime. We can’t ignore that the best way for a successful re-entry back to society  is through the quality of family relationships. The trend is for prisons to encourage visits and family contact. I not only agree but do whatever I can to raise awareness to this issue. The stigma of an incarcerated parent is a heavy one, yet with the proper tools and understanding, this burden can be dealt with.

Support these and other programs and remember that change is possible with hard work. Also, as I say to every mother and father and client do not let poor choices define you,learn from them and change your life. The worst crime of all is to not teach your children to learn from your mistakes…

To everyone, Happy Mother’s Day and may you find peace and freedom in the future.

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 from 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, Los Angeles Times, The New Jersey Register, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under crisis manager, Mother's day, prison, teresa Guidice, 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

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

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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

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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

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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