Originally Published February 10th, 2020
Prison life is hard for everyone. It’s a world completely unlike the one we know outside. It operates on different rules and social hierarchy. For first-timers, it can be totally overwhelming.
That’s where prison consultants enter the picture. They prepare their clients on how to cope inside the prison. Their services can range from giving tips on how to avoid being caught in prison riots to making prison delicacies. In short, they make prison life easier for those who can afford to pay for their services.
Yes, a prison consultant’s services are of great help to a new inmate. But it comes with a steep price tag. Service fees could go as high as $550 an hour. No wonder most of their clients are white-collar criminals, celebrities, high-level drug dealers and politicians.
Here are other things you didn’t know about prison consultants:
MOST OF THEM ARE EX-CONVICTS THEMSELVES
There’s nobody better qualified to give you prison advice than someone who once did their time too. For this reason, many ex-convicts who have turned their life around are making money as prison consultants.
Some previous jail officers have jumped in on the bandwagon too. But a lot of people think that a former inmate can give a better perspective about life in prison.
THE PROFESSION IS NOT REGULATED
Yes, there is no government agency overseeing prison consultancy services. The Federal Bureau of Prisons know about them but they just couldn’t care enough. Some companies offer prison consultant certifications but none of them are accredited by the government.
So take certain precautions when dealing with prison consultants. Ask relevant questions, their qualifications and how they came to be working as prison consultants.
THEY GIVE ADVICE TO LAWYERS TOO
Apart from giving their clients advice on how to survive in prison, they also advise their lawyers on how to lobby for a lesser sentence. Sometimes they even give advice on where the best prisons to be incarcerated in so the lawyer can lobby for that too.
SUCCESS IS NOT GUARANTEED
When a prison consultant guarantees success, they probably aren’t the real deal. That’s because prison consultants can only do so much. A lot of other factors can affect how an inmate will fare in prison.
For one, they could choose not to follow some of the consultant’s advice. Or their personality gets in the way of them getting along with the other inmates. Thus, successful assimilation in prison can never be guaranteed.
THEY GET NO SPECIAL TREATMENTS FROM THE FBP
No matter what they say to the contrary, prison consultants don’t get special treatments from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP). Their requests are treated just like everyone else’s. So if they’re claiming to be on the FBP’s VIP list, start looking for other consultants.
THEY PREPARE CLIENTS FOR POST-PRISON LIFE TOO
For most inmates, life after prison could be just as scary as the one inside it. Their conviction record can severely affect their employment prospects. The years they’ve spent in prison could also make it hard for them to integrate back into society. (Related: What Happens After One’s Release From Prison?)
This is one of the services provided by prison consultants. Aside from providing advice on how to survive in prison, they also help them get back on their feet once they are released. Along with it are tips on how to avoid going back inside. Inmates who can’t afford to shell out large amounts of money for this service, however, usually turn to prison support groups in their community.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the power of sharing knowledge. Having extensive experience in the prison industry, she wants to share what she knows with the world. Judy also loves to write about political and legal topics.