Category Archives: forgiveness

The week of liars…Lance Armstrong and Brian Williams!!! YOU HAD TO BIG SHOTS…

Seems to be the American way- deny, deny, deny. In a week that has seen the scandals of two HUGE names- Lance Armstrong and TV Newsman Brian Williams- one has to wonder what makes people who seem to have it all- LIE.

But what I wonder is why is this a surprise? More interesting to be me as somebody who is a legal coach and crisis manager– why is this all so shocking???

The fact is that most people lie about something, sometime in their life. SO why are these two bringing out such outrage? To me the answer is simple. Something I work with everyday with people from all walks of life. It boils down to two things. The cover up and the MOTIVE.

Really most people do not set out to commit crimes, lie or deceive. This might sound strange, as many people I work with, including myself, have committed white-collar crimes. Shockingly even these are not really about greed usually, but about grandiosity, power orientation and often a small lie that builds. As they say- the cover up is worse than the crime.

Same is true with Lance Armstrong and Brian Williams. Yet I think the motives are very different. But the outcomes will be the same- FAMOUS becoming INFAMOUS. The question is will either see forgiveness and redemption?

I say with Brian Williams if he and NBC get a grip on the scandal fast the answer is YES. And with Lance Armstrong NO CHANCE- the nine lives are over with the lie about his stop for DUI and asking his girlfriend to well- LIE and say she was driving. That is the mark of a true Sociopath. But that is nothing new for Armstrong who seems to be addicted to lies, Scandals and bringing others down. Amazingly he has escaped prosecution up to NOW- unlike Barry Bonds who was convicted in the BALCO steroid scandal in major league Baseball.

In fact, Lance Armstrong is one of those who fits the word INCARCERVENTION– he is in need of one as the years of illegal activity, betrayal and lies are finally catching up with him. As anybody who has watched the documentary about Armstrong knows, he is one cocky and selfish dude. He even seems to have manipulated his work for cancer research to justify his illegal and immoral behavior.

For Brian Williams the lies about being shot down while covering wars, Katrina and more have escalated to a remarkable level. Why did he lie in the first place? Probably good stories that he never expected to repeat and once he did since it was a lie, the story changed! SURPRISE!!!! That is what happens with lies. For Williams the real issue is his apology. I must say the apology was a glimpse into the world I work in. A person with such an ego, so out of touch and so manipulative that he felt saying he had made “mistakes” was enough. AND Williams did this while on his TV throne during the nightly news. Hardly the place to apologize and lie

Why not go on the tonight show or Today and explain, say WOW I am sorry and move on? Again simple. Williams does not get it. He needs a humility check and fast. NBC is now in a tight spot. This is a crisis manager’s dream. But did NBC learn from Sony? Looks like it with the leave of absence Williams is now on.

Celebrities and Networks need to understand that social media and the audience is now part of the process. Information is readily available and people want and deserve answers. Just look at how Brian Williams is #TRENDING. So is Armstrong. This is 2015- WE are all running the studios and networks.

Like all the work I do, I try to look for the lesson and take away in order to help build awareness, educate and help people. Here it really is a lesson in humility and walking the walk. Do that and people will forgive you, move on and even let you DWTS!

NBC seems to understand this and I believe Brian Williams will as well. As for Lance Armstrong- he needs to do a lot of work and THERAPY- I would not bet on that and his days as a hero and more are over. Now he should focus on his children and try to save some part of his legacy. But that would mean putting others first- nah- doubt that will happen.

The moral of the story or this blog is look at Martha Stewart and others who have lived through scandals and even myself. Stand up, speak out and never forget you are lucky to have a second chance.

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. 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 Barry Bonds, Brian williams, crisis management, forgiveness, incarcervention, Lance Armstrong

Why is the Colorado Killer’s Family standing by him???

I have said it before

James Holmes Mug Shot

James Holmes Mug Shot

and I will say it again- FAMILIES ARE THE FORGOTTEN CONSEQUENCES OF CRIME. This is true for families of people at all levels in our criminal justice system. From a small misdemeanor to the horror of the killings in Colorado, families pay the price long after a prison term is served.

I work with families all over the United States. In many of these cases I have never worked for their family member who is incarcerated. I am hired to help families establish boundaries with their loved one while he is inside, help find resources for them and provide the must needed answers of how to move on with their own lives. I also serve as living proof that this can be done, and of course provide my insider’s point of view.

These families live with guilt, shame and many fear retaliation should they decide to in some ways support their family member. Truly guilt by association. Families are the only segment of our criminal justice system that have no representation and are not presumed innocent.

Should we blame the families, especially when they become part of the crimes like Cindy Anthony and George Zimmerman’s wife? Do we blame the family of Amanda Knox and John Hinkley who stuck by their children?

With crimes come consequences. One of the consequences that we read and see little about are the families. Families on both sides- victim and victimizer. Those consequences include the children of incarcerated parents and the cycle that often repeats should the child not have a good support system. This is why many prisons have good protocol in place for family visits and contact. Remember, most people inside a prison today will be released and the majority in less that 5 years. That brings up the problem of re-entry with families.

Many of those incarcerated assume that upon release all will be forgiven and they will automatically be back and bonded with their children. This is rarely the case. Re-Entry takes work and effort and must be very carefully handled. Yet another family consequence of crime.

The past weekend’s mass murders in Colorado saw the media immediately going after the family of the killer Holmes. But, in reality what would one expect these parents to do or say? Especially when they too were just hearing this news and are now victims. Is it possible they knew their son was “off?” Of course, but then what? Should we blame them, or have compassion for them? Families of infamous murder cases are a particular group in that they must also deal with media attention and in many cases fear for their own lives.

If anything good can come out of tragedy it is an open discussion. My hope is that the Colorado case does just that and helps to shine a light on families and crime and what our society can do to learn more about this taboo subject. I for one will continue to write about it and of course work with these families as part of my everyday practice. Think about them before you judge. What would YOU do? And how would you hope to be treated?

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, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR 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 Casey Anthony, Colorado killings, Criminal Justice, forgiveness, George Zimmerman, perjury

Forgiveness and how it should work…

As a criminal justice expert and consultant, one of the questions clients always ask me is about forgiveness. Often they are told to try and make amends or simply ask for forgiveness from those in their life and those they have harmed. Yet, this is rarely such a simple task and if taken lightly can cause even greater harm.

First of all I think that Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, and I have both forgiven others and been forgiven myself. But, I said forgiven not forgotten. None of us should ever forget what poor choices we make and the consequences of those choices. Too often people re-enter society from rehab or prison and feel entitled to forgiveness. There is no such thing. Forgives takes work on all sides. Simply apologizing, or as 12 step groups call it “making amends” is not enough. You must mean it and earn it.

In criminal justice circles there is a concept called Restorative Justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime when victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational. This is much more than saying I am sorry or asking for forgiveness. It is also a way of owning one’s own actions.

Think about it- in all aspects of life we need closure and simply asking for forgiveness may be one sided. This is why forms of restorative justice work. But a key question I ask my clients when they complain about not being forgiven is simply- “DO YOU FORGIVE YOURSELF?” Ask somebody this and often the response will be “I never thought about that.” It is my experience that one should not ask for forgiveness without doing the work and starting with themselves. Once you forgive yourself the rest will fall into place.

In a world that has gone a little crazy and in times of stress, forgiveness goes a long way towards the healing that usually needs to take place. Currently, many courts and even prisons around the United States are looking into this concept to bridge worlds that have been affected by crime. Those re-entering society should always look inward first and once done- they will have a more successful time.

I know that change is possible with hard work. So now let’s all look at somebody in our life and start the process of forgiveness.

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 forgiveness, prepare for jail, prison coaching, Restoratice Justice, success after prison