Making Crime Pay: Prison Consultants
A web site is where Vickie Skidmore, stumbled onto Michael Frantz, an ex-convict who runs Jail Time Consulting as an experienced prison consultant. Ms. Skidmore was seeking help getting a transfer and some medical assistance for her son, Marcus Rosenberger, sentenced to 33 months on several counts of wire fraud related to real estate transactions in Florida.
She talked to several consultants and settled on Mr. Frantz, she said, because he listened to her, sounded intelligent and lived in her home state. And he’d done time.“I asked lawyers to help me, but they don’t understand what goes on in the inside,” she said.
One consultant, not a prior inmate but a prior prison guard, stated, “You think a warden is going to change a decision based on advice from a former resident?”
The ex-convicts in the business see things differently, arguing that relevant experience matters. Mr. Frantz, of Jail Time Consulting, prefers this metaphor: “If you have to have someone take your appendix out, would you go to a guy that runs a gas station?”
Mr. Frantz, 65, earned his nearly 36 months of experience in a federal prison camp and a low-security prison in Miami after pleading guilty to tax evasion and Medicare-fraud charges.
He hired a prison consultant, and the experience led to an epiphany: crime could indeed pay. He decided to become a consultant himself. Besides, his options were limited. “I knew when I got out, I’d be 62 years old, a convicted felon”, he said. “Who the hell was going to hire me?”
While in prison, he spent time in the law library, learning about penal regulations. He wrote “Jail Time,” a book about what to expect in federal prison that he published in 2009, a year after he was released, and started Jail Time Consulting. It was promptly shut down by a judge, who suspended the operation until Mr. Frantz ended his supervisory release in 2011.
In this business, the bad news is just another marketing opportunity. Mr. Frantz’s Web site now reads: “Jail Time—the book a United States District Judge doesn’t want you to read.”
Like other prison consultants, he questions his competitors’ business practices. Their rates, he says, can be outrageous.“You want a transfer, I’ll charge you $625, for goodness sake,” he said. “Other people are charging $2500. Come on!”
Do Consultants Make a Difference?
They certainly can, according to people who work in the criminal justice system. A sharp consultant, they say, can help with complicated paperwork, in much the same way that a college consultant can help a family navigate complicated financial aid forms. Contact Jail Time Consulting to see how we can help you!
April 22, 2012 – PRLog