Category Archives: FAMM

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

Mass Murder is all about POWER…

 

Here we are again- another mass shooting of innocent people. This time children. But, what are we focusing on? The killer of course. Every day I work with people and their families because families are the consequences of crime. This case is no different. We are already forgetting about the victims and their families. Instead we are looking at why and how, and if the killer had OCD and other issues. Of course he had mental issues. I am sure there will be a long list of things he has done, but that does not make a true evil killer. True evil is just that.

The media also is dwelling on the fact that this happened in an upscale white neighborhood. When are these cases not in white upscale neighborhoods, and when are the killer’s minorities? Rarely, if ever. Gang killings are different. They are gang to gang and not on a mass, random scale.

As my fans and readers know, I am a big believer in change. I think that change is possible in most cases. But, this is not one of them nor are cases with severely mentally ill people. Mental illness is an ILLNESS, and without treatment only gets worse. This is what happened with my client Johnny Lewis. The judge ordered him to rehab, and as I knew he was not a drug user. I would bet the same is true here. 12 step and rehab does not cure all things and in fact often masks the greater issues. Judges wake up!!!

There are so many lessons to be learned from this tragedy; from our absurd gun control laws to how our sentencing system works. After all, our prisons are filled with drug offenders who often face mandatory sentences. Just this week I had 2 women begin 9-year prison terms for being non-key players in small drug cases. A true shame.

I suggest we look at this case and really start to make and lobby for change. The more we give the killer power, the less we think about the victims and their families. Even the family of this killer is harmed forever. But, to effect change we must admit there is a problem and look at solutions, not salacious media speculation. Our criminal justice system is a giant mystery just waiting to be exposed by insiders like me. Please join me in looking at the what now instead of the many reasons this killer did what he did.

Again, change is possible but this time let’s change the way we look at the case instead of worrying about the killer himself.

 


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 FAMM, Johnny Lewis, Newtown killings, prison coaching, prison consultant

The BRAVE Sentence in The Rutgers Case

Today New Jersey judge Glen Berman  sentenced  Dharun Ravi in what is now known as the “webcam” case. This case raises so many issues about our criminal justice system and allows us to peak inside what’s really going on here. The sentence surprised many and was a true alternative sentence with 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service, a fine and formal probation.

Dharun Ravi was convicted March 16 of Second-degree bias and invading the privacy of his former roommate Tyler Clementi. Ravi was not charged with the death of his former roommate. But this is considered a hate crime in New Jersey and carried a possible prison term of 10 years. Ravi may also face deportation to his native India. Tyler Clementi committed suicide after Ravi used a webcam to show him kissing another man. The case has been used as a platform by the LGBT community as a message of the consequences that discrimination and bullying can cause.

But, many in criminal justice circles did not think that 10 years in prison was a fair term and that this is a case of UNEQUAL JUSTICE. The truth is that if looked at correctly this case can teach us many things about how our justice system works. What many don’t understand is that Judge Berman had a lot of discretion, as do judges in all cases that don’t have mandatory minimum sentences. In this case the range is probation to 10 years!

So, how did judge Berman decide and what factors do judges consider when they sentence those before them? To answer this we must understand part of what actually goes on before a person is sentenced. The government will always file a sentencing memo based on facts and guidelines. It is also based on a probation department report. Here is one place most lawyers and defendants miss their opportunity. A defendant has the right to file their own sentencing memo that not only includes a legal argument but also any mitigation and alternative sentencing proposals. YES- an alternative sentencing proposal. I call this a ROAD MAP for the judge and many times a judge will use this as part of their decision making process. We must remember that judges are busy and if a plan is spelled out it will have more impact. That said, the plan must be reasonable and viable. Why do many attorneys give this such little weight or write memos that are actually harmful?- A true lack of understanding why and how post conviction works.

This in a case where Ravi and his team rejected two plea deals that would have allowed him to serve no jail time!

Here’s where this case has gone wrong and where we can all learn something. While Ravi has spent much time in the media, he failed to score with what is essential for every client I work with- HE DID NOT EFFECTIVELY ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY and therefore doesn’t show remorse. Rather his lawyer argued, “He’s going to be punished for the rest of his life,“It’s already beginning.” POOR RAVI! This is the wrong message, especially when somebody has died.

I try to get all of my clients to accept responsibility. That does not mean they actually did what they are convicted of, or as in this case, mean that they think jail is the option. Accepting responsibility means owning that one’s own actions and choices have landed them in this spot. In this case Ravi has apologized and may actually feel remorse but the aggressive and tactless approach of his legal team left him vulnerable to 10 years in State Prison.

Was prison the right option here? No and the court and judge came up with a viable alternative sentence rather than the easy way out of straight prison time. If Ravi were my client I would have asked him to begin meaningful community service and encouraged therapy for him and his family. After all, family is the forgotten consequence of crime.

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, Criminal Justice, Dharun Ravi, FAMM, prepare for jail, prison coaching

Got Milk? Got Propofol? GOTCHA CONRAD MURRAY…

As predicted Conrad Murray has been convicted and is already off to jail. But, why are TV experts saying he will not serve State Prison time? Yes, California is overcrowded and has started a “realignment.” But, if Murray receives the maximum 4 years he will serve STATE PRISON time. This is not a case that will be first in line for house arrest. Look at the crime and the defendant. There is no doubt that Murray over prescribed dangerous meds and propofol in a home setting. But, he also showed no caring for his patient or other patents. Look, he dropped the other patients like hot potatoes in order to work for Michael Jackson. Murray was more concerned with his many women and cell phone calls. Yep- it’s all about Conrad. Hello EGO. Further evidence of this is on the police interrogation tapes of Murray. It is here that we see Murray trying to manipulate the story while leaving out key elements to the police just as he did with the doctors at the hospital and the 911 responders.

Criminal justice experts understand that there are patterns in criminal thinking and in fact are 8 criminal thinking errors. Three of these spell CONRAD MURRAY- entitlement, grandiosity and mollification. In simple terms, Murray was, and is, oblivious to where his crimes began and where they will end. To support this I would ask people to think about how Murray may still be charged with Federal Crimes like prescription fraud and obstruction of justice. Where is the DEA???

An ironic part of this case is that Murray is facing so little actual prison time. It is the 25th anniversary of the CRACK epidemic and yet prescription drugs are now out of control according to the CDC. SO, are we going to make mandatory minimum prison sentences for doctors and other prescription fraudsters like we have for drug crimes in the Federal system? New York State used to have the Rockefeller Drug Laws. This term is used to denote the statutes dealing with the sale of narcotics like heroin and other illegal street drugs. These laws carried heavy mandatory minimums ranging from 15 years to life for selling as little as 56 grams. In 2009, these laws were revised to remove the mandatory minimum and was made retroactive leading to the release of more than 1000 inmates. Of course, most people convicted under the Rockefeller laws were low-income minorities just like the primary defendants in the Federal system where there are also very heavy mandatory minimum sentences. These sentences however are  for “illegal” drugs. Murray was pushing and trafficking in prescription drugs and is being tried in California State court, so he is not facing any mandatory minimums.

As a person who has worked with many people convicted to long sentences on drug crimes, and as an advocate for Equal Justice, I can tell you that our prisons are packed with low-level drug dealers who also have addiction problems. These people usually do not have the options and advantages of Conrad Murray.

So, why does Murray need an Incarcervention? Simply put, he is out of control and reckless without showing signs of remorse or any acceptance of responsibility. Look, he’s on trial in the death of his patient and yet he is seen out and about in Los Angeles as if he doesn’t have a care in the world getting pedicures and going to Disneyland. This from a man who should have learned his lesson years ago as he ran out on children, wives and debts. An Incarcervention may have helped sobered him up with a reality check years ago and maybe even resulted in the loss of his license. If so, would Michael Jackson be alive? Maybe or maybe he would have utilized one of his other doctor feel good’s. But, we must remember that Jackson and the Jackson family are not on trial here- Conrad Murray is.

Conrad, you need to start preparing for prison. I gave you loads of advice and have made it very clear that your attitude needs to change. Conrad you are simply going to have to learn the hard way that there are consequences for all actions. I would rather spend my time working with somebody who wants to make that change.

CONRAD MURRAY –“Look at the man in the mirror.” Like I always say, change is possible but it takes lots of work. And, when you decide you are ready call a good prison coach 1-866-229-8264.

FOLLOW@INCARCERVENTION

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Filed under Conrad Murray, FAMM, prescription drugs

Conrad Murray needs to start preparing for prison…

Hello D.E.A. where are you???

The tapes once again say it all. Sad but true for Michael Jackson and soon to be ex-doctor Conrad Murray. The tapes that Murray made of his loaded patient Jackson are tragic and damning. Why would Murray have taped his patient while he was in a clear state of intoxication? The answer is simple. Murray must have believed that he would need this “evidence” one day in case something happened to Jackson. Yet, they only confirm what we already knew, Michael Jackson was addicted to downers. But, the tapes tell a story about Murray and the myopic way he views things. Yep- it’s all about Conrad. Hello EGO. Further evidence of this is on the police interrogation tapes of Murray. It is here that we see Murray trying to manipulate the story while leaving out key elements to the police just as he did with the doctors at the hospital and the 911 responders.

Criminal justice experts understand that there are patterns in criminal thinking and in fact are 8 criminal thinking errors. Three of these spell CONRAD MURRAY- entitlement, grandiosity and mollification. In simple terms, Murray was and is oblivious to where his crimes began and where they will end. To support this I would ask people to think about how Murray may still be charged with Federal Crimes like prescription fraud and obstruction of justice. Where is the DEA???

An ironic part of this case is that Murray is facing so little actual prison time. In the Federal System there are mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. New York State used to have something called the Rockefeller Drug Laws.” This term is used to denote the statutes dealing with the sale of narcotics like heroin and other illegal street drugs. These laws carried heavy mandatory minimums ranging from 15 years to life for selling as little as 56 grams. In 2009, these laws were revised to remove the mandatory minimum and was made retroactive leading to the release of more than 1000 inmates. Of course, most people convicted under the Rockefeller laws were low-income minorities just like the primary defendants in the Federal system where there are also very heavy mandatory minimum sentences. These sentences however are  for “illegal” drugs. Murray was pushing and trafficking in prescription drugs and is being tried in California State court and not facing any minimums. As a person who has worked with many people convicted to long sentences on drug crimes and as an advocate for Equal Justice, I can tell you that our prisons are packed with low-level drug dealers who also have addiction problems. These people usually do not have the options and advantages of Conrad Murray.

So, why does Murray need an Incarcervention? Simply put, he is out of control and reckless without showing signs of remorse or any acceptance of responsibility. Look, he’s on trial in the death of his patient and yet he is seen out and about in Los Angeles as if he doesn’t have a care in the world getting pedicures and going to Disneyland. This from a man who should have learned his lesson years ago as he ran out on children, wives and debts. An Incarcervention may have helped sobered him up with a reality check years ago and maybe even resulted in the loss of his license. If so, would Michael Jackson be alive? Maybe or maybe he would have utilized one of his other doctor feel good’s. But, we must remember that Jackson and the Jackson family are not on trial here- Conrad Murray is.

Conrad you need to start preparing for prison. I gave you loads of advice in a previous blog and have made it very clear that your attitude needed to change. But, Conrad you are simply is going to have to learn the hard way that there are consequences for all actions. I would rather spend my time working with somebody who wants to make that change. But, CONRAD MURRAY here is some advice for you- “Look at the man in the mirror.” Like I always say, change is possible but it takes lots of work. And, when you decide you are ready call a good prison coach 1-866-229-8264.

FOLLOW @incarcervention

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Filed under Conrad Murray, Criminal thinking, FAMM, Federal Prison, Michael Jackson, prison consultant