Excerpts From Ritu Prasad’s BBC News Article
Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff, NFL players Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress, reality stars Teresa Giudice and Abby Lee Miller. They’re just a few of the celebrities who have reportedly had prison consultants guide them through the justice system.
These advisers can help with the entire process from charging to sentencing to release – reviewing casework, petitioning for perks, taking midnight phone calls from frazzled families.
All this hand-holding comes with price tags ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand to upwards of $100,000 (£75,000).
So what exactly do these prison coaches do when they go all-out for the clients who can afford them?
“Because of the 44% average overcrowding, people who are scored for a camp are going to low, medium or high-security prisons,” says Michael Frantz, director of Jail Time Consulting.
“They can put them anywhere, 2,000, 2,500 miles from family. In a low [security prison], there’s a little bit of violence but not a whole lot.
“When you get up to a medium or high – that’s where the rapes occur, the stabbings, the beatings, the gangs and the violence.”
Mr Frantz – who spent 36 months in federal prison – helps clients petition for safe locations that allow as much freedom as possible, while also taking into account a client’s personal preferences.
“If he’s an exercise nut, you don’t want to go to a camp that he can’t exercise in,” Mr Frantz says.
“If he wants to be alone and read, that’s a consideration. If he wants a certain food, then we look for those kinds of camps – and they do exist.”
Michael Cohen, for example, is serving his time at the Otisville camp, a facility in the upstate New York countryside known for kosher meals and Jewish services.
Reality star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Billy McFarland, the man behind the Fyre Festival, are among the 113 inmates Mr Trump’s former right-hand man will be bunking with.
The advice for rich convicts once they’re in custody is the same across the board: keep your head down and get used to not getting your way.
White-collar clients are most fearful of assault and being unable to keep in touch with family, according to prison consultants.
While the facilities they serve time in are generally safe, racial and political tensions are present, and there are codes of conduct to follow.
Mr Frantz cautions that in Michael Cohen’s case, he should be wary of any Trump supporters he might be bunking with and try to “stay under the radar”.
“The Trump lovers aren’t gonna give this guy a break at all,” Mr Frantz says.
“Things happen in the middle of the night – urine is poured on you, inmates hold you down and smear faeces on you. That stuff happens all the time.”
And it’s not just the inmates – falling afoul of prison guards can have serious consequences.
Mr Frantz served his time at a minimum security camp, but when the guards thought he misbehaved, he was still sent into a ‘special housing unit’ where he lived in a concrete cell with another inmate, unable to leave for 91 days.
Mr Frantz offers similar programmes as well, including reputation repair, five (5) sentence reduction programmes, transfers, furloughs, and many other inmate programmes including a basic How to Survive Federal Prison course.
That course is the cheapest option at $495 (£376). Purchasing the company’s exclusive package that includes all the offered programmes plus direct access to Mr Frantz himself, 24 hours a day, is a cool $35,000.
“They don’t want to take chances and they have the money,” he says of clients who select that option.
“They spent close to $1.5m on their attorney so what’s another $35,000?”
When asked about the ethics of their work, prison consultants contacted by the BBC said they were doing their best to help all clients, not just the ones who can afford to pay for the full menu of services, and all engage in some pro-bono work.
Mr Frantz tells me he tries to keep most courses under $2,000 and offers no-interest payment plans.
View full article here.