Category Archives: Wendy Feldman

The Art of the Apology

DONUTGATE AND ARIANA GRANDE…

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Another day, another scandal. First of all, don’t forget that a crisis is different than a scandal. A crisis can be fixed often without anybody knowing much, while a scandal lingers and needs full-blown image control, damage control and a solid moving forward plan at the very least.

This week we have singer Ariana Grande and ‘DONUTGATE’!

And we also have our old “Racist Paula Dean back for more. Add these to the ongoing Bill Cosby issues and of course Brian Williams and others and you see what I mean- Where are the SINCERE APOLOGIES???

And that will of course bring us back to none other than Reality Infamy hall of famer Teresa Giudice. Yes, I worked with Giudice for over a year night and day, and we see now none of the apologies I helped her compose meant anything. Except they did earn her a very light sentence and her Juicy Husband a staggered surrender which is rarely done. Nice job if I do say so myself. Yet- really not as that time and energy could have been used to help somebody who really wanted to show humility and change.

Let’s start with last week and Ariana Grande. Oh even her name is grandiose isn’t it!? What looks to be silly and a childish prank, turns into a major ordeal now being investigated by the cops and other agencies. That is actually fair, as turnabout is fair play, and if the donut shop owner was not trying to exploit Grande, no one of would know about this. Yet he did sell the tape and now guess what? The owner is in trouble for health code violations- Poetic Justice to be sure!!!

But for Ariana Grande this has now turned serious. SO she licked some donuts. Yes, that may be disgusting and arrogant, but it is her anti American comments and FAT SHAMING that has people upset. And then of course her “APOLOGY’- a total dismal disaster from somebody old enough to care, but young enough to do this. She definitely needs some crisis management help before this turns into a scandal. Ms. Grande needs to apologize on a platform her fans relate to and do it with sincerity and humility and she needs to do this NOW.

As for the lovely Paula Dean– this now crosses her over into Infamy I am afraid. After all, she was in trouble for saying and then DENYING she said the N Word. Now old photos are tweeted of her son in Brown Face! Yes, these were tweeted by her social media person, but Ms. Dean- the buck always stops at the top at that would be YOU. Had YOU apologized with any sincerity the first time, this would not be so difficult. But you did not. You read a script aka teleprompter on The Today show of course, and it had no depth. No feeling, no honesty. I am sure she is sorry, but sorry she was busted. I did not feel her sorry in her soul for saying things that many of us have said. The apology was worse than the action. The lie is worse than the event. Just like always.

Brian Williams also recently apologized on the Today show- that apology fell flat also- WHY???? Because there again was no depth and no real emotion. It was forced, and I am sure it really was in many ways. An apology needs to be real, and emotive and is very telling. We have not really heard an apology from Cosby and at this point there is NO point for him to do so. It should not matter and it would not be real. Plus, he may harm himself in a way that is not obvious yet. So, Cosby gets a pass. Not because he does not owe one, but because he has no vehicle in which to do so, so many issues have harmed so many and he is OLD. But, I would ask- Bill, have you apologized to victim number ONE- your wife???? That he should do and the remaining children for ruining their legacy and dragging them all through the slop. That would also make him more appealing even just slightly, and if he were my client I would try to get him to do just this. I will not hold my breath!

I help people with the ART OF THE APOLOGY everyday. Sometimes it is before a judge and sometimes it is to build a bridge with a family member. An apology is not something you tweet or put on social media. It must be something you feel deep inside. Sometimes I get clients to feel the apology by thinking of how their circumstance has harmed their loved ones. Then I ask- do you wish to be forgiven- the answer is always YES- MY question then becomes HAVE YOU FORGIVEN YOURSELF?

That is where I get interesting responses and can start working on what I call THE ART OF THE APOLOGY- this is a process and one we need not forget or brush off. It is indicative of how you live your life and what you expect from yourself and others. SO many people expect others to behave one way and yet hey behave another. What is so hard about an apology? Well many things- first it makes one admit they are not above others, and also an apology makes one accountable. Things that are very difficult for many and more so for celebrities who surround themselves with enablers.

But it is simple- we are a very forgiving society, but we do need meaningful apologies and then move on. That simple, say it, mean it, do it and MOVE ON…

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande

 

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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July 13, 2015 · 1:53 PM

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

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

Teresa Giudice- The Countdown…

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Well, here we are days away from the surrender to Federal Prison of Teresa Giudice. I always told Teresa, as I tell many of my clients. The day of surrender will be a relief. An actual light at the end of the tunnel. A count down instead of an endless count and a road to nowhere. Yet that is a hard concept to grasp. She will wish she was on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here.” Who knows, she may even think that?!

There is much speculation about me, Teresa and the entire mess. Oh and of course the amazing interest in what prison is like and what awaits her and then Joe. First things first. I do not intend to discuss the details of our arrangement, but to those who think I have violated confidentiality I suggest looking at what I have actually discussed. All is my opinion or facts that are my own. The actual crimes are never something I discuss with any of my clients. The reason is my job is to guide people through situations, not judge or defend them.

I work with people from all walks of life and on matters of criminal, custody and civil issues. I also handle media for many people and myself. Yet Teresa and Joe presented a unique situation. A husband wife both charged in FEDERAL COURT with many different crimes and still on a hit television show. A bizarre mix of crime, punishment and pop culture. Or a perfect  storm. A chance to draw attention to our broken criminal justice system and how it really works. I think if anything that has happened. I tell my clients- commit a financial crime and you have relationship for life with the Feds. This is true. Yet we have Martha Stewart, Wolf of Wall Street, Steve Madden and myself who have all come out and better than before. BUT with very hard work and as open books.

The case was also a test of social media and the court of public opinion. The amount of misinformation that was out and is still out is astounding. Almost impossible to navigate. Take all of this and add in all of my other clients and it was as I say in my upcoming book “A Year That was Bananas”- oddly the year ended with a client of mine known as the Banana Queen. Perfect.

Our society is fixated on crime and punishment, but we forget the rehabilitation component. Prison is easy. Re Entry is difficult. You can’t just waltz out of prison and think all is well unless you are a sociopath and you walk in that way. I am asked daily if that is the situation with Teresa. The answer is I have no idea. I do not think so. But I do know that a lot went into the sentencing and the hearing. The speech she read that every observer in court saw me sitting next to her all day madly rewriting. That speech was in process for weeks. It was a “collaboration”. The words however needed to be felt and then lived up to. For example, “I will make this right… Only time will tell.

I do know that it is well documented why I left the matter yet a major piece I have yet to share and will not at this time. I will say it is NOT a violation of privacy to voice my opinion and there is of course no NDA that I signed. Things should have turned out differently. There should have been no letter to Judge Salas as designations happen naturally everyday and the request for halfway house and community service now looks like what I said it was- FOOLISH-

WHY? Because there has been no effort, not even a tiny one to do anything good for anybody. No community service. No acceptance of any responsibility, no I am sorry, no I will make “this” right. There has been nothing. Well, some photo opps and a lawsuit blaming a former lawyer where discovery alone will open a new can of worms. But nothing. This was a golden opportunity for Teresa to own her actions whatever they were and show people that you can comeback. You can rehabilitate and you can change you life.

There is forgiveness but only if you admit there have been actions that need to be forgiven. It is not easy. It is not fun. It is why I worked with Teresa. I pick and choose my clients very carefully and many are pro bono. I have received almost 600 emails about Teresa. Few positive about her. Yet on social media I am the one bashed daily. That is OK as the message is more important than the messenger.

The fact is that as a mother that first night in prison is like none other. Teresa will lie on the top bunk of a metal bed and it will start to sink in. Day one you pee in a cup in front of an officer, are strip searched and must cough and squat to make sure you have no contraband. Prison is the ultimate equalizer. You are known by your registration number and last name. The lights never turn off and you wear a uniform with steel toe boots. It is not a bad place and the people are more interesting than those on the outside, but close your eyes and if you have a SOLE you realize this is America- Land of The Free- and your choices have led to your incarceration- how pathetic. Land of the free! Not for 15 months…

So, back to daily life in prison, what mental state Teresa is in and when she will surrender (probably not January 5 at 2 pm)…That’s for another day. For now all I know is as I always say change is possible but it takes hard work and honesty.

 

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 Bravo, community service, crisis management, Federal Prison, Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice, Wendy Feldman