The Criminal Justice System is so Fucked Up that You Cannot Predict Anything! – short essay by kra – 3/24/20
I am not trying to impress you [when younger, I wanted to impress people; today I don’t give a shit what anyone says or thinks about me, I just tell it like it is!], but I have had over 700 trials and lost only two… by being prepared!
From ’73 to “83, when I was a full time “hot shot trial lawyer”, I knew well before trial, each time I stepped into the courtroom, that I was going to “kick ass”. Now, I never said to a client “we’ve got this one”, because it ain’t over ’till it’s over. But I had my client prepared.
My client almost always testified. If they had to take the 5th Amendment, I hammered this into the jury more than once in closing argument: “Now, folks, Mr. (or Ms.) X invoked the 5th Amendment a few times. The judge will instruct you to not conclude anything from that. Folks, when someone does that, it does not mean that they are trying to hide something from you. THE RULES OF EVIDENCE ARE DESIGNED TO GET TO THE TRUTH, and they do a very good job of doing that. In every criminal case, the burden of proof is on the State, to convince you folks, beyond any reasonable doubt, of the accused’s guilt. And that is how it should be, with all of the State’s power and resources, before anyone is convicted of a crime”! If the State had 2 prosecutors on the case against me, as they often did, I pointed that out: “Look, the State has two lawyers here, they have the state police, endless money … but YOU stand between them and a grave injustice: convicting an innocent person.” Look the jurors in the eye, and tell them shit like that!
But I knew the law, I knew the rules of evidence, I knew the facts, and my closing argument would be most persuasive! 🙂
But those were the days when the system worked well. Jurors had time to do the right thing. Today, due mostly to our “war on drugs”, one cannot predict anything. I have seen recent trials; the judge … nobody … takes time to do things right. The courts are so overloaded -here in Delaware the caseload for judges is three times the number recommended. It’s crazy, and the result is that the system is a train wreck. Civil courts, including Family Court, are no less discombobulated.
It is so fucked up … judges are so stupid, lazy, and or sloppy, that one cannot predict anything!
READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/ = I remember when the system worked well; justice nearly always was the result. Today it is a total train wreck – perhaps the most vivid manifestation is that we are imprisoning hundreds of innocent people every year. This is WHY it is a train wreck!
Texas: man dies by apparent suicide at Ice family detention center Death comes Ice faces calls to reduce detainee population and unauthorized arrests of migrants amid coronavirus outbreak
This reminds us that this shit goes on and on and on in our tRump inspired “detention centers”, the worst prisons in America.
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/prosecution-imprisonment-will-stop-prison-abuse-demand-avoid-deaths-prison-guards/ = How to avoid the deaths of prison guards and inmates … or do you want to join the countless officials who refuse to acknowledge this huge problem called prison abuse?
And you should remember that most people being detained are guilty of nothing more than seeking opportunity in America! READ Letter to the Editor or Op Ed Submission – The “Illegal” Immigrants – 6/19/19 – PUBLISHED! Updated. = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/letter-to-the-editor-or-op-ed-submission-the-illegal-immigrants-6-19-19/
Excerpts from the Article:
A man died by apparent suicide at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) family detention center, according to a legal group that was representing him. The group, Raices, did not identify the man, and Ice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But in a statement late on Wednesday, Raices said it was representing the man while he was detained at the Karnes county residential center in south Texas, around 160 miles from the US-Mexico border, between Laredo and San Antonio.
His death on Wednesday was the ninth to occur in Ice custody since the start of the governmental fiscal year in October, exceeding the eight deaths that occurred in the prior year.
It comes as advocates have called on Ice to reduce its detainee population and its operations to arrest migrants in the US without authorization amid the coronavirus outbreak. Ice said on Wednesday that it would scale back enforcement to focus on detaining “public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds”.
“We anticipate that this won’t be the last death at Karnes unless Ice immediately releases all those detained at this detention center and in custody around the country,” Lucia Allain, a spokeswoman for Raices, said in a statement.
And she added, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the US: “A dirty and cramped detention center in the face of a pandemic is unsafe and inhumane.”
In sworn legal declarations the group released on Tuesday, two migrants reported getting sick from the drinking water they are provided at Karnes, which had 680 people in detention last week. Another migrant said detainees are denied access to hand sanitizer. They are instead told to use body wash used in the showers to clean their hands at all times.
Already, illnesses spread quickly in Karnes and other detention centers, said Andrea Meza, the director of family detention services for Raices.
“When you’re there, all the kids are coughing,” she said. “Everybody has a runny nose and a sore throat and diarrhea.”
17 Employees, 21 Inmates Test Positive For Coronavirus In NYC Jails In addition to the 38 people who tested positive for COVID-19, 58 more are being monitored in contagious disease units.
Coronavirus will spread like mad in a prison because they don’t do anything right! You think I am kidding; just watch! And they lie about the numbers, like they lie about everything!
If you have a friend or loved one in jail or prison, you’d better start praying!
Excerpts from the Article:
In a letter to criminal justice leaders, Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman wrote that at least 58 other people were currently being monitored in contagious disease and quarantine units. “It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” Sherman warned, predicting a sharp rise in the number of infections.
“The best path forward to protecting the community of people housed and working in the jails is to rapidly decrease the number of people housed and working in them.”
In the past six days, she wrote, the board learned that at least 12 Department of Correction employees, five Correctional Health Services employees, and 21 inmates have tested positive for the virus.
The city’s jail agency and its city-run healthcare provider did not respond to messages seeking comment on the letter. On Friday, the city’s Department of Corrections said just one inmate had been diagnosed with coronavirus, along with seven jail staff members.
Late Saturday, the department acknowledged 19 inmates had tested positive — two fewer than in the board’s letter — and 12 staff members. The city-run agency that provides inmate health care did not respond to messages seeking comment on the board’s assertion that some of its employees were also infected.
New York has consistently downplayed the number of infections, The Associated Press has found in conversations with current and former inmates.
More than 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States — more than anywhere in the world — and there are growing fears that an outbreak could spread rapidly through a vast network of federal and state prisons, county jails and detention centers.
It’s a tightly packed, fluid population that is already grappling with high rates of health problems and, when it comes to the elderly and the infirm, elevated risks of serious complications. With limited capacity nationally to test for COVID-19, men and women inside worry that they are last in line when showing flu-like symptoms, meaning that some may be infected without knowing it.
The first positive tests from inside prisons and jails started tricking out just over a week ago, with less than two dozen officers and staff infected in other facilities from California and Michigan to Pennsylvania.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and even death.
The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases may take three to six weeks to recover.
The fucking guards should pay, inasmuch as THEY bring in most of the drugs! If you don’t think so you have NO clue about what goes on in our prisons. I have seen it!
Excerpts from the Article:
On March 15, 2019, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) implemented a change to its disciplinary procedures for prisoners. Policy No. 803 now mandates that prisoners requiring hospital treatment for substance abuse must repay the cost of “all medical related expenses,” including ambulance transport, as well as the “cost of staff overtime.”
ADOC spokesperson Bill Lamoreaux said that while the department “understands that the struggle with addiction is not an easy one,” it believes that “obtaining contraband illegal drugs while incarcerated requires a series of deliberate and extremely poor choices.”
Even prior to this policy change, the ADOC charged prisoners a $4 copay for healthcare visits and took 10 percent of deposits into prisoners’ trust accounts to cover medical treatment costs. ADOC prisoners who test positive for illegal drugs must also pay for the urinalysis test. Prison officials insist the policy is designed simply to hold prisoners accountable for their actions.
ADOC prisoners with jobs typically earn 10 to 80 cents an hour. About seven percent of the state’s prison population – around 3,000 prisoners – receive drug treatment, though 78 percent have “significant substance abuse histories,” according to a March 2019 ADOC report. Methadone is only provided to pregnant prisoners who are addicted to opioids, per accepted medical protocols.
Rebecca Fealk, program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee in Arizona, said prisoners have told her group, “Oh yeah, my treatment was a worksheet that asked me about negative outcomes from using.”
Karen Hellman, division director of Inmate Programs & Reentry for the ADOC, admitted to the state House Judiciary Committee in March 2019, “I could not today treat everyone in the system who needed treatment immediately. The need of the inmates is greater than our capacity to deliver.”
Dr. Josiah Rich, director of The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Rhode Island’s Miriam Hospital, said that Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a disease and the new policy betrays “an ignorance about what the disease is and how to treat it.”
“People don’t decide, ‘Hey, I think I’ll overdose today,’” Rich said. “They don’t decide, ‘Oh, I better not overdose today because I might have to pay money from my account to pay for the treatment I’m going to need.’ People overdose because there’s a discrepancy between how much tolerance they have and the amount and purity of the drug and the potency of the drug that they consume.” Dr. Kimberly Sue, medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition and a physician at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, agreed that the ADOC’s policy “runs counter to the reality of addiction.”
“An opioid overdose inside a prison indicates medical mismanagement of a treatable disorder,” she said, adding that “for the people currently incarcerated, we should be providing medications if at all possible in the case of [OUD].”
Treating addiction as the poor choice of people who just need a stronger sense of morality is really “just reflexively punitive and entirely counterproductive,” noted David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project.
“From a public health perspective, this is the worst policy imaginable,” he added. “The solution is treatment, not punishment.”
The ADOC is struggling to meet the terms of a class-action settlement reached in 2015 over its healthcare services. For its failure to do so, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Duncan levied a $1.4 million fine in June 2019. [See: PLN, April 2019, p.56; May 2018, p.28].
In December 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver named an outside evaluator to report on the ADOC’s medical services. Fathi said the new policy “certainly is consistent with some of the resistance that we have seen in the case to providing even basic and life-saving healthcare,” and “This obviously does affect the ability of our clients in [the class-action suit] to get necessary healthcare.”
Our prisons are utterly unprepared for coronavirus! If you have a loved one in prison … PRAY!
Excerpts from the Article:
A few weeks ago, I found myself watching the TV news from here in a Washington state prison, while drinking my morning coffee. This was my normal routine. Apparently, there had been some sort of an outbreak in China that officials were starting to call the coronavirus.
At the time, I didn’t pay much attention. Like most things, I figured it was far away — everything can feel especially far away when you’re in prison — and would hardly have an effect on me or those around me.
In fact, my fellow prisoners and I were essentially joking about how the world was coming to an end. A good friend of mine and I are huge fans of apocalyptic movies and shows, so we started to shoot the breeze about how a zombie virus had taken hold in China and would soon spread across the globe. I remember telling him in jest, “This is it, my friend. We better stock up on food and be ready with a plan of defense.” He laughed. We discussed how we could make body armor out of magazines and where we would steal the tape to do so.
But before long, we learned from TV not only that the virus had spread throughout the world, but also that the state of Washington had become the United States’s ground zero. As each day passed, the numbers continued to get worse. The nursing home where the national news was saying that so many people were infected was less than 20 miles away from us.
Like everyone in the free world, those of us on the inside began to worry about our families, especially our older folks, and their safety in the face of an unknown predator. Even in the best of times, it’s hard to know how our families are doing.
And then we started to wonder about our own safety. What measures were being taken to safeguard us from the spread of the virus within the crowded prison walls? We knew that on the outside, people were buying everything they could to prepare for disaster, especially toilet paper.
Toilet paper scarcity is no stranger to us — having more than two rolls in your room at any given time is an infraction — so we became focused on the things we weren’t prepared for, and just how little we each have in our cells for protection. We don’t have cleaning wipes, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (it’s contraband), or anything else that the CDC is recommending citizens use to prevent spreading the virus. The only cleaning solution we have is a mild “all-purpose cleaner” that is not germicidal and, rumor has it, is safe enough to drink.
As the virus continued to spread in the outside world, I along with many others inside waited for instructions on what we would do to keep the prison prepared for when it came knocking on our door — or rather came knocking on our sally ports, metal bars, and barbed-wire fences.
Prisoners and corrections officers alike inquired about what was being done to disinfect the facility. The unit porters (prisoners who work as janitors) usually can’t use bleach on the common areas. Having a small amount of bleach, even if you’re just using it to clean, will get you in trouble.
Eventually though, I noticed that the porters were given spray bottles filled with diluted bleach to wipe the living areas down. Nevertheless, one cannot expect someone who is paid at most $55 a month for full-time work to do a thorough, painstaking job of cleaning. On one wall, non-alcohol-based sanitizer was taped there without a proper dispenser; it’s just a useless substance sloshing around in a plastic pouch. Even things like cleaning rags can be impossible to find, which is difficult to comprehend, as there are large bins of old scraps in our clothing room. Possessing too many rags is also considered contraband, and could get you an infraction, which could mean losing recreation or getting sent to solitary.
The DOC has sent out messages to prisoners via paper handouts instructing us to keep our hands clean, not to touch our faces, and to clean our cells. But how can we do any of this if the proper cleaning equipment is criminalized?
I was not surprised last week when an employee who works in the living units opposite of mine tested positive for COVID-19. After that, they posted signs down by the phones instructing us to put a sock — yes, like you wear on your foot — over the phone receiver before using it in order to avoid spreading germs. There was no mention of where these socks were meant to come from; we’re only allowed a few socks at any given time or we risk being written up.
The most drastic measure they’ve taken so far is putting the entire side of the prison where the employee worked on “quarantine.” My fellow prisoners on quarantine are functionally on lockdown, which is what happens when there’s something like a fight. They are confined to their windowless cells for almost the entire day.
There is pretty much only one way for quarantined prisoners to communicate with the outside world: JPay, the prison email system. But given that many people cannot afford the $150 it costs for a JPay tablet, there are many who have no way of communicating with their loved ones during lockdown.
Further, even if you have a tablet, many of our outside loved ones who are at most risk for COVID-19, the elderly, may not have access to or know how to use the complicated JPay email system. When I talked on the phone with my 76-year-old grandma, who has a severe heart condition and no internet, she was full of worry. I tried to explain the situation in here and had to tell her that soon, a time may come when I will have no access, or very limited access, to the phones. I’m one of her only sources of emotional support as she awaits her heart surgery.
When I walk through the unit now, I cannot help but linger on the faces of the elderly prisoners, some of them who have been like father figures to us younger men, and think about how they are unlikely to survive this.
I think about my friend Bill. He’s in his eighties, newly in remission from cancer, and has been a mentor to many of us over the years. I’ve watched Bill, who has an MBA, patiently tutor younger men through their math classes as they earn GEDs and other degrees. He has also been a facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Program—the impact of his kindness surely extends far beyond these prison walls. Bill is one of the many prisoners currently under lockdown. He, and people like him, are in severe danger. I continue to dwell on what would happen if he does contract the virus. How can we protect people like Bill in a place many have referred to as a “tinderbox” for a virus like COVID-19?
My prison may be one of the first to have a known case, but we are not unique. There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States—something has to be done beyond dirty socks on phone receivers.
Everyone in the cell block is speculating about what will happen when one of us shows signs of infection. The consensus among those who’ve been around longest is that guards in hazmat suits will take us to the Hole. I mean, they can’t take us to the infirmary. Prisoners with cancer and suppressed immune systems are there.
But of course, we all know what that means: The prospect of the Hole is likely to preclude people from volunteering to report symptoms.
If you actually think Barr will do the right thing here, he has deceived you again!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Justice Department is creating a special task force to address criminal misconduct by federal Bureau of Prison officers at several correctional facilities after a loaded gun was found at the same jail where wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself, Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press. In an interview with the AP, Barr said he was planning to establish the task force that would “have a very aggressive review of potential misconduct by correction officers in certain institutions around the country.”
Those facilities include the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, where Epstein killed himself last summer and where federal investigators found a loaded gun earlier this month. The gun’s discovery followed a weeklong lockdown that turned up other contraband —including cellphones, narcotics and homemade weapons — and led to a criminal probe by prosecutors in Manhattan into guard misconduct focusing on the flow of contraband into the lockup.
The establishment of the task force comes as the nation’s jails and prisons are on high alert in response to the threat of the coronavirus, stepping up inmate screenings, sanitizing cells and canceling visitation at all 122 federal correctional facilities across the country. Correctional officers and other Bureau of Prisons staff members who work in facilities in areas considered hotspots for the coronavirus or at medical referral centers — which provide advanced care for inmates with chronic or acute medical conditions — are also undergoing enhanced health screenings, including having their temperature taken before they report for duty each day.
The ability to smuggle a gun into the Manhattan jail, which had been billed as one of the most secure in America, marked a massive breach of protocol and raised serious questions about the security practices in place at the Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for more than 175,000 federal inmates.ber of high-profile inmates, including attorney Michael Avenatti, who gained fame by representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits involving President Donald Trump. Federal prosecutors allege that the two correctional officers assigned to watch Epstein’s unit were snoozing and shopping on the internet when he took his own life in his cell in August, and later forged records to make it look like they checked in on him.
Barr named a new director earlier this month to take charge of the Bureau of Prisons, which has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Epstein took his own life while in custody in August. The agency has been plagued for years by serious misconduct, violence and staffing shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts.
Just this month, an inmate was killed by another prisoner inside a high-security federal prison in Illinois, four Bureau of Prisons officers were indicted for lying about three inmate deaths at a prison in North Carolina in 2019 and the Justice Department’s inspector general found a warden at another facility directed an acting warden not to report misconduct to internal affairs for a week, among other issues.
After Barr swore in Michael Carvajal as the new director of the Bureau of Prisons, the two met privately and Carvajal told him he wanted to “step up, substantially, enforcement efforts against correctional officers or managers who engage in wrongdoing,” the attorney general said.
Barr said with the leadership changes at the Bureau of Prisons, including the appointment of Carvajal and his immediate predecessor Kathleen Hawk-Sawyer, who remains at the agency as a senior adviser, he is “very optimistic we’ll be able to turn things around” at the agency.
Letter to the Editor – Pardon Doctors and Other Health Care Workers NOW – 3/21/20
I happen to specialize in Applications for Pardons, Clemency and Commutation of Sentences. In most states, the process to get a pardon takes from 14 to 24 months, and in the federal system, even longer.
In this time of national emergency, I call upon all Governors, and legislatures if necessary, to change the Pardon laws to expedite the Pardon process for all health care workers.
Change the laws and announce that all Applications may be filed immediately, and will be considered and decided within 14 days of their submission, and that all agencies shall do whatever is necessary to restore the Pardoned person’s ability to work … i.e. reinstate their license, remove restrictions on accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients, etc.
We should do the same thing with Applications for Clemency/Commutation, to get health care workers out of prison NOW! Each case still must be decided on its merits; for example, the doctor who abused hundreds of children, Earl Brian Bradley, must never get out!
Do lawmakers really care about your health and safety? Tell them to just DO this!
Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
It’s about time! The Supreme Court ruled on this in 2012!
Excerpts from the Article:
AFTER THE Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it is unconstitutional to impose mandatory life-without-parole sentences on anyone under 18, a number of states acted to bring their practices in line with the court’s requirement that judges consider the unique circumstances of each juvenile offender. More states took action after the court four years later applied the ruling retroactively.
Virginia, much to its discredit, was not one of those states. Instead, it chose to try to deny relief to juveniles who had been locked away for decades. So it is welcome news that Virginia has finally recognized the imperative to respect court jurisprudence, treat juveniles differently and adopt a law that will allow for a more just treatment of these fraught cases.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) this week signed a measure that will make anyone convicted of an offense committed before the age of 18 eligible for parole after 20 years in prison.The law, which becomes effective July 1, essentially does away with sentences of life without the possibility of parole for minors, making Virginia the 23rd state in the country (in addition to D.C.) to abolish the draconian practice. The United States has been an international outlier in its enthusiasm for sentencing people to prison for the rest of their lives for crimes they committed before 18. As in many areas of criminal justice, this misbegotten practice disproportionately has affected African Americans.
Reform began with the Supreme Court understanding that children, their brains and character still forming, are constitutionally different from adults in their level of culpability and capacity for growth. That understanding led first to a 2005 decision that a death penalty for a crime committed by a child under the age of 18 violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, then to the rulings on life without parole. Children, as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2016, deserve to have “hope for some years of life outside prison walls.”
That doesn’t mean all such children will eventually win release; it certainly does not entail the glossing over of horrible crimes. “Children must be held accountable,” said Jody Kent Lavy, executive director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth — but in an age-appropriate way, with an opportunity for rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
The Virginia law, approved with bipartisan support, will give more than 700 inmates the opportunity to go in front of a parole board that will review their cases. “While there are many individuals who remain dangerous, there are many more who have made strong efforts to turn their lives around while incarcerated and are worth the parole board taking a look at whether they can be restored to society,” said Sen. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), a sponsor of the bill. Legislation similar to Virginia’s is pending in Maryland; we hope lawmakers there also decide to give this population a chance.
These prison consultants provide very little useful help! They prey on wealthy criminals, and many have complained about them. Lock THEM up!
It is extremely rare to get from one of these clowns some of the good advice mentioned in this article!
Excerpts from the Article:
You’re going to prison. Four words that can strike fear into even the most hardened felon. But imagine how a jail sentence could affect criminals like Harvey Weinstein who never, ever, thought they would set foot inside a jail cell.
“Our prisons are violent, brutal, dangerous places,” said Paul Wright, who served 17 years in maximum security and is now the executive director of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center. The center advocates for prisoners’ rights though the publication of the monthly Prison Legal News.
“People are afraid of the unknown,” Wright said. “Especially if you’re like Harvey Weinstein, whose only knowledge of prison is literally in the movies he’s produced or the movies he’s watched.”
What can a newbie do to prepare besides watching “Get Hard” or the horrific room scene from the 1994 movie, “Shawshank Redemption?”
If you’re a person of means, like Weinstein, you can hire a prison consultant.
“You hire a tax professional for tax advice, you hire a lawyer for legal advice, so of course you’re going to hire an ex-prisoner for prison advice,” Wright said. “It’s all about working the system.”
On Wednesday, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for last month’s convictions on first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape.
How to work the system depends, of course, on the type of prison you attend. If the crime wasn’t violent — often known as “white collar” crime — and it’s your first offense, you could be lucky enough to attend one of the minimum security Federal Prison Camps.
You’ll live in a dorm with bunk beds and community showers, hopefully with separate stalls. There will be a gym (most likely with dated equipment), a library (most likely with dated books) and a room to watch television with your fellow inmates. There are no fences or barbed wire. Fortunate (and likely rich) inmates have been known to arrange work release opportunities.
“Jeffrey Epstein got to do his 2008 sentence with a work release,” Wright said. “He slept at the jail and went to work each day at his home office in his mansion.” Later, of course, it was discovered that he continued to abuse women during his work release, and that program was suspended.
Life isn’t as “cushy” in higher level security prisons, where Weinstein will be incarcerated.
“He will serve his time inside of fences and barbed wire, and when his family visits, it will be inside of those fences and wire,” said convicted securities broker Justin Paperny, founder of White Collar Advice, a consulting firm on what to expect in prison.
“He’ll be in with a much different population,” Paperny said. “And he needs to be sure he doesn’t make life there worse. And believe me, matters can be made much worse if, for example, he’s associating with the wrong prisoners, smuggling in contraband or associating with guards.”
Prison consultants say getting ready for prison begins well before the cell doors slam shut, even well before the sentencing hearing. Accepting responsibility for your crime, beginning restitution and creating a personal narrative of remorse are key to any chance of convincing a judge to reduce the maximum sentence. That can be tough for rich, white collar criminals and people like Weinstein who are “used to having their way,” according to ex-con Christopher Zoukis, a prison consultant who has published several books on prison life and writes for The Huffington Post and Prison Legal News.
“A lot of people who are his level, first of all, don’t believe that they did anything wrong and certainly don’t think they deserve any kind of punishment,” Zoukis said.
“And when they do get punishment, they don’t believe they deserve this kind of punishment, and they go into prison with this ‘holier than thou’ attitude,” Zoukis added.
“Wake early and exercise, then spend more time in the library than the chow hall, where there are a number of gangs and fighting, and drug dealing takes place,” he said. “If you can, learn to live off the food in the commissary and go to bed early.”
Prison consultants can tell you the basics — like what to expect during the initial strip search, what the bunks and toilets are like, visitation regulations, telephone rules and costs (sometimes $3 a call), what you can take with you into prison, and how that can differ from prison to prison.
More important to survival is prison etiquette, which seems much like what we teach children: Be respectful. Don’t be loud. Don’t complain. Wash your hands after using the bathroom. Don’t cut in line. Do your assigned job.
“Don’t pay for services, like paying someone to do your job. Are you so lazy you cannot do your prison job? That is incredibly off-putting to those who will do it,” Paperny said.
“I got a call six months ago from a woman whose husband is serving time in a medium security prison who cut in line,” he continued. “They beat him up with a lock.”
But the biggest mistake that people make when heading to prison is not having a plan to overcome their worst antagonists of all: the fear and despair of what the future holds.
“It’s important to, as they say, ‘Do the time, but don’t let the time do you,’” Zoukis said. “Find a way of succeeding in prison by doing something productive toward a future life, so that when you get out you have some options.”
Paperny advises his clients to begin planning for life after prison before they set foot in the door. That’s what Claudia Calderon did in 2016 when she plead guilty to wire fraud for stealing approximately $2 million from two Los Angeles-area businesses.
She worked with Paperny to “take responsibility for my actions from the very beginning,” and craft her narrative for the judge: “I wanted to apologize to the federal government, and I had no idea how to do that.”
She admitted to her alcoholism — “I was afraid they would take my daughter and autistic son” — and shaved 18 months off her 60-month federal sentence by entering a residential drug abuse program. Most importantly, she says, she was able to plan for a future with her husband and children.
“I took advantage of all the opportunities they offered in prison, including the education they offered, and I became a GED tutor for the educational department and earned a certificate in sustainable foods and also in business administration,” Calderon said.
Prison consultant fees range depending on clients and length of consulting periods, and easy reach into thousands of dollars. But for Calderon the price tag was worth it. Today she has a job as an administrative assistant for a property management company, is paying restitution, and has a family that she says is strong and whole.
“I was able to make my time in prison brave and productive,” Calderon said. “Without a consultant I would have had no idea what I was facing or what I was doing.”
Letter to the Editor – YOU can help to Disbar Barr! – 2/11/20 – kra
A G William Barr is licensed in D C and in New York state.
Copy and paste my Letter, seen here, modify it slightly and send it out to both of those Bar Associations under YOUR name!
Dear Sir of Madam, 2/11/20 It is clear to all of us that William Barr, the U S Attorney General, is injecting politics into his office, is eroding the rule of law, and therefore should be disbarred. Please disbar this man. Thank you. Ken Abraham, Dover, DE .. on my letterhead with all my contact info.
Here is the list with the mailing addresses: https://lnkd.in/eBaVqGF
READ this and it will tell you where to send such letters: https://lnkd.in/dsj-r45 – Report Bad Lawyers – DO IT!
Ken Abraham, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, former Deputy Attorney General, Dover, DE 302-423-4067