Should You Hire A Prison Consultant?
That’s a question only you can answer. Let’s start with the basics. What is a prison consultant?
A prison consultant offers advice to people who are about to begin serving prison sentences. Typically, consultants are ex inmates. Their advice can include techniques for reducing your sentence, advice on getting into drug treatment programs, and “street wise” ways to behave as a prisoner and get along with fellow inmates and staff. Some charge thousands of dollars for advice, while others are free.
The New York times recently published an article about prison consultants. The piece points out that the industry gets more attention when a high-profile convict, such as Bernard Madoff, retains a prison consultant.
It may come as a surprise to discover that most criminal defense lawyers do not give advice along these lines. According to Alan Ellis, a San Francisco based sentencing lawyer, “Ninety-nine percent of lawyers don’t understand this stuff, and the 1 percent who do, are doing time themselves. Most criminal-defense lawyers hate, hate, dealing with that bureaucracy.”
Mr. Ellis is the co-author of The Federal Prison Guidebook, a guide geared towards defense lawyers as well as prisoners and their families.
Here are a few links to prominent prison consultants:
- American Prison Consultants
- National Prison and Sentencing Consultants
- National Center on Institutions and Alternatives
I have included these links for informational purposes only. I do not have any specific information about these organizations, nor do I endorse them in any way.
Prison is a frightening prospect for anyone, and it makes sense to get as much information as you can before beginning your sentence. If you choose to hire a prison consultant, do your homework and seek references before relying on anyone’s advice.
Keep in mind that nothing contained in this article should be construed as legal advice, nor is it a recommendation to hire a prison consultant. Do your own research and make your own decision.