Tag Archives: restorative justice

George Zimmerman and Family what’s next???

Now that George Zimmerman is FREE what’s next for him and his family? Will they be able to move on with their lives and will they ever practice some Restorative Justice and do the right thing?

Just as many clients of mine, they will have an adjustment period. It is not as simple as being acquitted and now you are FREE! Freedom comes in many shapes and sizes. For sure Zimmerman and his family will need a lot of therapy and help. They have a lot of work to do and may never be accepted back into society. For one, it is hard to tell if he has any remorse and thus Zimmerman himself is NOT a sympathetic character. Can he be rehabilitated? I am not sure, but as I always say, change is possible, but he would need to admit he made poor choices and thus needs to change.

There are two components to a successful re-entry after jail or a trial. They are family support and community ties. The community ties are absent here. One idea if they were my clients is to have Zimmerman begin doing Community Service and walking the walk so to speak. As for his family, they too are victims as families often are. Families are always the forgotten consequences of crime.

George Zimmerman may have “gotten off” but he is far from free and able to lead a decent life. After all, what was his life like before he used his gun to kill somebody? That is the question and the answer is that sadly many “rent a cops” are not qualified to carry a weapon and should not be. Now Zimmerman has a second chance and an opportunity to make something of his life and maybe help others. Time will tell. But for the short term, I suggest Zimmerman assemble a quality team to assist him with his transition so that nothing like this ever happens again. The trial is over, but the hard work is just beginning.

 


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 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 George Zimmerman, prepare for jail, prison coaching, prison consultant, Restoratice Justice, Trayvon Martin

REESE and the DUI…DOING RIGHT

 

Reese Witherspoon has it right. Well, she had it wrong when she was arrested in the ATL for “drunk and disorderly conduct” but she is quickly redeeming herself. WHO is her legal coach???

Over the weekend her husband, CAA agent Jim Toth was arrested for alleged DUI whiled driving a Ford Focus after one too many. As everybody knows, I write a lot about celebs and their choosing to drive vs. a car service or taxi, but a FORD FOCUS?-

The only thing funny is how Reese pulled the celeb card in a non-celeb city, driving a Focus late at night and not looking like herself. I think she forgot ATL is not LA.

But in a smart legal move, Reese has taken responsibility for her behavior and apologized. Keep in mind that she is charged with a very insignificant “sober up” crime while her husband is charged with DUI, so she has nothing to loose but her dignity.  That can be repaired as she has already started. She certainly has attempted some damage control and some restorative justice. I am sure we will not see her on Celebrity Rehab anytime soon! As for her husband, Toth needs to start working on an Alternative Sentence ASAP.

What may need some work is her long-term attitude of entitlement and the legal issue her husband now finds himself in. The issue many celebs have and what those with criminal thinking often have is ENTITLEMENT and GRANDIOSITY. These are two of the criminal thinking errors that plague many of us.

But the good news is that this is a perfect chance to shine the light on DUI and the silly choice to drink and drive. Let’s hope she continues to try and do right not DUI and make some changes while helping others. Maybe some good will come out of this…Stay tuned.

 

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 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 alternatvive sentencing, celebrities, d.u.i

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

Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman- THE LESSONS

I have written much about both of these cases. Everything from the odd Anthony family jail visiting tapes to my opinion that the Zimmerman case is an example of everything wrong with our criminal justice system. I still believe this, and the arrest this week of Zimmerman and his wife for lying on a bond declaration prove my point. Now the trick will be to use both of these high profile cases to shine the light on many issues.

There remains no doubt in my mind that Casey Anthony and her family will all resurface once Casey’s probation comes to an end. Never underestimate money and MOTIVE. We may see separate interviews and then a “family” one if the price is right. Twisted- Yes- but true.

I have also written a lot about how I viewed the Casey Anthony jail visits from her parents as suspicious. They were and still hold the keys to what really went on in the death and subsequent cover up of Caylee Anthony. The visiting conversations simply were not consistent with a family grieving the loss of a child. The behavior since that time confirms my thinking. There is deep mental illness and criminal thinking by every member of the Anthony family. What we can learn is that the consequences of this are deep. From the abuse and death of a child to the cost to tax payers and how even something as simple as probation was mishandled by the court, jail and MEDIA.

In the case of George Zimmerman and the death of Trayvon Martin, there are also many criminal justice issues. These range from the shooting, the cover up and of course all of the media misrepresentations. And now we have perjury. Wait!!! We also had perjury in the Anthony case- CRIMINAL THINKING.  And of course we also have jail house visits that are very suspicious. For the record: inmates know these visits are recorded. SO, why risk talking in code or anything that will bring negative attention to the case? The negative attention of course. For these types of people the attention is everything. Remember we are not dealing with normal psychological profiles.

The many things in common between Anthony and Zimmerman will continue to grow. Maybe we will eventually see a joint FLORIDA jailhouse lessons interviews with all of them. The key thing to remember is not the players but the lesson. We must learn more about our criminal justice system in order to change it, and we must shine a large spotlight on crime, punishment and redemption when it is valid. Neither of these cases will earn that privilege. My motto is “change is possible” but I am very clear that takes work, and these two, and those around them will keep blaming, scheming and looking for the easy way out. Here is hoping that we can learn the lessons and the two deaths will serve as turning points for positive change and build awareness.

 

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, Judith Regan Show, WNYC 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, George Zimmerman, jail, prepare for jail

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

Casey Anthony + Probation= EPIC FAIL

Here we go again. Another month, another probation report and meeting between Ms. Casey Anthony and her Florida probation officer. Remember, Anthony is on formal probation. That means she has requirements ranging from therapy to financial matters. Casey also has to prove that she has a job or goes to school.

Thus far it has been apparent to me that Anthony has been working the system. Yes, this started when she was first let out on bond and continued while she was in county jail. Then she worked her magic during her trial. Somehow this case became so confused that the Florida Department of Corrections sent Anthony a letter while she was in jail that she had completed her one-year of probation. As I said on numerous media outlets, that would be impossible, and of course when challenged, Anthony was ordered to serve her formal probation in FLORIDA.

What makes Casey Anthony so special? The media attention and the fear that brings the system when there have been grave mistakes made. Yes, I am sure that the Florida Department of Corrections, her probation officer and the criminal court system wishes she would just fade away. How naïve! In fact, Anthony and the attention she brings will only build as we begin summer, and as luck would have it will climax just in time for the upcoming fall television season.

I have written and said numerous times that I thought Anthony had already violated her probation. I stand by this comment. After all, she claims to have no money, no job and no resources, yet she is making video blogs on a NEW computer and of course selling them. Who does she think she is? Is it any wonder that she is delusional and grandiose? Of course not. Did you ever think just who has been paying her bills?

Here are my thoughts- Some based on rumor, some based on non published yet factual information:

Casey Anthony has had a series of benefactors ranging from crazy fame whores to people who think she is innocent.

Anthony has been selling her information to various outlets like Radar Online. There is NO such thing as “leaked” information in this case. Everything has been potted and planned.

Anthony has received cash payments from other media outlets and “friends” of hers have also filtered some of this money to her. In the real world this is called money laundering.

Anthony does not have a job and still provides her probation officer no source of income. After all of these months a regular person on probation would be called to task. In this case we even have Anthony flaunting her success in front of the world and still no action by the judicial system.

The Federal Government is looking into this matter because Anthony has I.R.S. tax liens that she is making no payments on.

SO, what to conclude and what’s next????? I still maintain that at some point Anthony will be called on all of this illegal behavior. The problem may well be that the probation department has made errors just like the Department of Corrections did and like the court itself did. They are embarrassed.

As anybody who follows my work and me knows, I am a believer in EQUAL JUSTICE. Nothing about the probation of Casey Anthony has been equal or fair. This I know having been on probation myself. I urge everybody to demand more while keeping our eyes on the bigger picture of child abuse and use this case as THE example to make positive change. Do not let the initial success of Casey Anthony take the focus off the fact that a child is dead and 5 children die EVERYDAY in the U.S. from abuse or neglect. We must stop child abuse.

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 Casey Anthony, Caylee Anthony, child abuse, Criminal Justice, Prison Consulting

Blagojevich-the first night is the toughest…

That’s it! Rod Blagojevich has reported to Federal Prison to serve his 14 year term. Yes- 14 years! The sentence seems as absurd as Blago himself. As a prison coach and criminal justice expert I see all kinds of cases and people. Really, I have seen it all and then there is Blago. Now he will be known by his infamous last name and hi inmate number. What did he do last night? He probably watched American Idol like everybody else did! I am sure we will be getting Blago updates but he will fade from view as the rest of the infamous unmates do.

To keep the 14 years in perspective we must remember that Blagojevich had many bites at the apple. His first trial ended in only one conviction and he could have accepted responsibility and cut a sweet deal at that point. But, no- Blago had to prove he was innocent, the wiretaps were fakes and he was destined to be a reality star and media darling. Vintage client profile of mine and somebody who is grandiose, narcissistic and full of entitlement. Remember the 8 patterns of criminal thinking I have written about??? There are 3 right there.

The reason Blago received the 14 years is that his case has cost the rest of us millions of dollars to prosecute and DEFEND. Yes, defend. After the first trial, Blagojevich claimed he could no longer afford his defense and so as with any defendant, some of his legal bills were picked up by the same government trying to put him in prison. Now it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep him in prison.

And, we have not even talked about the most important part of this case. The VICTIMS- aka the wife and daughters of Rob Blagojevich. Families are the forgotten consequences of crime. We have seen very little of Patti Blagojevich except when she took her husband’s place on the reality show “I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here” and in a few recent interviews. We have also heard nothing about the children and the fact that they will now grow up without their father and with the stigma and shame he has left them. This is the sad part of the story and makes one wonder why Blago didn’t think of this. I understand that when he was on his crime spree of calls, the family got lost in the mess of his mind. I have been there. But, when the jig was up and he had the opportunity to accept his role and do a small prison stunt he just could not do it. Not even for his family.

It seems that even now Rod Blagojevich will not go away quietly. He will have one last press conference. Sorry Rod- no more reality shows, no more memoir, no more talk shows just inmate number 40892-424 and a lot of time to grow up. Even for you change is possible.

As for Patti Balgojevich and her girls. They need lots of support and professional therapy. They also need to be involved in their community and show that it was not them who committed the crime and that they are going to learn and grow from this experience. This can be done and even while they stand by Rod and support him. After all, sometimes prison can be a transformative experience and maybe they will become closer in a more authentic way.

Wendy Feldman is a prison consultant and criminal justice expert. She is available as a media commentator and for private clients and speaking events. To contact Wendy visit www.custodialcoaching.com or email Wendy@custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under Blago, Federal Prison, prepare for jail, prison coaching, prison preparation, rod blagojevich