Category Archives: prison

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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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

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

My Birthday in Federal Prison

 

Yes, today is my birthday. And as I sit here watching the new Netflix show Orange is the New Black, I am reminded by the birthday I spent in a Federal Prison Camp. Life is a trip, and if we remember the good times and the bad times with some humor, the ride is a lot more fun and compelling.

As my readers and followers know, I am now a highly sought after legal coach and crisis management strategist. But I never forget that SIX short years ago I celebrated my birthday with strangers. Strangers, yet some of the most loyal and interesting people I ever met. And yes, many of us keep in touch. Sorry DOJ.

In fact, my dorm mates decorated my cubicle, made me gifts and of course a legendary “prison cake.” I always say that prison is a great equalizer and nothing proves my point more than memories like this one.

What happens in the secret world inside is not only a tale of survival, but also one of humanity. After all, on the outside when the going gets tough, who is really there for you? How often do people, especially friends, go out of their way to make you feel special? Sadly the truth is that many of us are way to “busy” to really think about people in our lives. Even people who are important. That is one of the “gifts” of prison– time! Time to reflect and time to make the most of the little things, not trip out on them. Would I go back? Of course not.

My birthday party was filled with fabulous decorations- toilet paper streamers- gourmet dinner- a rice and cheese soufflé- and the glorious prison cake. A prison cake is a specialty that many learn to make. It is made up of bags of crushed up cookies and prepared in the community microwave. And the gifts I received ranged from the popular crocheted scarves, to specialty water smuggled from the warehouse. Ah, the little things…and the maxi pads!

Orange is the New Black is just a sneak peak inside our world, but the memories, good and bad are very intimate. I can never replace the time lost with my family and children. But the people I met inside made me realize to never take things for granted, and I try hard to live this everyday. So on this birthday never let it be said that I have forgotten any of the unique and bizarre times that have led me to the place I am today. The past is just that, and the present is a gift that I love opening everyday.

 

 


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 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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Filed under jail, prepare for jail, prison, prison coaching, prison consultant, prison re entry, probation

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

HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRISON MATTERS-PREP 101

Here we are in November, the busiest time for criminal cases, and yet there still is a disconnect between what lawyers and judges think happens once convicted and what actually happens. To be clear, I am only talking about non-violent offenders. This is the population I work with and was a part of. This why people who are about to go on trial or enter a guilty plea must be PREPARED. Yet, few are urged to even by their own lawyers. Every day I am faced with clients who are not educated at all as to what they will face once the judge says guilty.

I understand they do not teach much of this in law school, and lawyers and judges have not spent even one night in jail, but there is no excuse to not think about the client and what is going to happen next. There is prison and then there is re-entry and life after. I am going to go over a few major things that I prepare my clients for.

First of all, in many cases there is the option of self-surrender. That is a date is picked by the judge where the defendant is told to show up at the prison or jail .It’s like checking into a hotel. That simple until you get inside. Once inside there will be the standard search, cough and squat and other things you must prepare for. If eligible, I urge all clients to ask for this. Last week I had a high-profile client and the lawyer was refusing to ask and said she could just go through the regular county jail transfer process. Really?? My answer to the lawyer was “You do it. It’s awful.” And so they lawyer asked and was GRANTED a self-surrender directly to the prison. This, in State prison is known as a GATE surrender. That way one can avoid county time and the awful process of being transferred in a chain gang.

Next, I make sure that all of my clients have learned a little humility before they go. This way it will not be such a shock and the staff and other inmates will be able to relate to them easier no matter who they are. Right now there are many rumors about how Conrad Murray’s stay in county jail is going poorly. Much of that could have been avoided had he been properly prepared for both a guilty verdict and jail.

Lastly, make sure that you understand what the prison is like, what the rules are. You can get these online or through a good prison coach, and what will come after. That means halfway house, probation or maybe community service. EDUCATE yourself and your family. Remember that when a defendant goes to jail, so does their family. It is a difficult time.

PRISON is a different world. Once lawyers and judges understand this, their clients will understand it too and things will go more smoothly. And, yes, the better the prison experience the better the chance for a successful re-entry. Once again, over 95% of everyone in prison is getting out and most within 5 years. We all need to be prepared and better educated. This problem is not going away, but a good prison consultant can help. Ask any of my clients, but maybe not their lawyers! Change IS possible for everyone, even lawyers!

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

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JOE PATERNO- CONSPIRATOR

A CONSPIRATOR IS A PERSON WHO TAKES PART IN A CONSPIRACY–AKA COVER-UP.

Why is this so confusing to people? I am not saying that old man Paterno should be arrested and hauled off to jail, but he is at this point an unindicted co-conspirator. He did not have to witness the crime to be a conspirator. But, there seems little doubt that he was in some way part of a cover-up. That could mean a true cover-up where information is hidden or a cover-up by OMISSION. That is a handshake not to disclose what he knew and when. Maybe it even meant urging others not to go to the police.

The actual facts regarding Paterno may never be known. We do know that for over 10 years various Penn State officials knew about a child rape, criminal complaint and massive inappropriate behavior.

Jerry Sandusky fits the profile of child predators. Even down to starting a charity to enable him to have more access to boys. This makes him sick and no doubt mentally ill. So, how do we explain the behavior of McQueary? And for that matter Paterno and everybody else?

As with many crimes and criminal acts, we cannot excuse them, but often we can explain them. But, the case of Penn State and the child rapes seems to have only one excuse and that is MONEY. Big, college football money.

The question now is, will this turn into a Federal case–I would bet YES–and how many others will be charged? Remember, people can be charged with conspiracy and obstruction. No wonder Paterno and the rest have hired high-priced criminal defense lawyers.

To Sandusky I can only say that the one place a child rapist never wants to go is PRISON. Karma and some good inmates will take good care of you.

FOLLOW@INCARCERVENTION

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