The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed. In 1980, there were approximately 220 people incarcerated for every 100,000 Americans. In 2010, the number had more than tripled, to 731 for every 100,000. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.
The scale and the brutality of what goes on inside our prisons are a moral scandal of American life. Lock yourself in your bathroom and then imagine you have to stay there for the next ten years, and you will have some sense of the experience. Prison rape is so endemic—more than 70,000 prisoners are raped each year—that it is routinely held out as a threat, part of the punishment to be expected.
The culture of violence that plagues so many of our prisons has terrible consequences for our society. It is harmful to inmates, staff and volunteers. And it endangers our communities when inmates return home after years in such turbulent environments. For first time offenders, especially high-profile wealthy individuals, being sentenced to prison is frightening. The biggest challenge white-collar offenders have when entering prison is their lack of street smarts.
Preparing For Prison: The Power of Prison Consulting
Prison coaching, also called prison consulting, provides newly convicted criminals with advice on how to cope and survive in the unfamiliar surroundings of prison. A prison coach is able to offer a unique perspective for people facing prison. These individuals bring their own unique perspective, insight and experiences to their clients. Consequently, more ex-offenders are entering the prison consulting industry.
Prison coaches also provide a client’s attorney with advice on how to lobby the sentencing judge for a shorter sentence, and how to get a client sentenced to a lower security level prison (the higher a prison’s security level, the more violent and dangerous). Some of their clientele are white-collar and celebrity criminals, high-level drug dealers and disgraced politicians.
Attorneys should never under-estimate the important role a prison coach can play in their law practice and with their clients. The prison coach, as a very brief resource, can be utilized to quickly calm people’s fears in the lead-up to a possible sentence, as well as give relatives and friends a quick overview of the issues their loved ones are facing. A prison coach or consultant gives the newly convicted and their families a view of the reality of what happens, rather than the objectives the prisons. They are able to do this because most, but not all, have learned the ropes by serving prison time themselves.
A prison coach can help navigate early-release programs and will recommend entry into a drug or alcohol rehab program even for clients who were not recognized as abusers in their pre-sentencing report. The coach may advise about Federal Bureau of Prisons employee personality types, how to defend one’s self in a prison fight, and how best to avoid being raped, stabbed or beaten. Clients are warned to expect strip searches and to accept a complete loss of personal control to the guards.
With over 600,000 prisoners being released each year, the level of violence inmates experienced inside prison will play a large part in determining the type of neighbors they will be after their release. In order to survive inside a violent prison, a prison coach provides newly convicted criminals with “skills” to survive while in prison. But these same “skills” can make inmates anti-social when they are released, which is why the re-entry services prison coaches provide to inmates after prison are essential to their successful return to their community.
The trust between the Prison Coach and client is crucial to your survival in prison. A few simple steps of preparation now could save your life!