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  #1  
Old 10-15-2018, 02:48 PM
newtolife newtolife is offline
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Default Can Prison Consultants help get you more release time?

Can Prison Consultants help you get you more release time than the BOP doing it with you on your own. They claim to get you the maximum time using the Second Chance Act law & working directly with the BOP & the region Halfway House Re-entry. They almost guarantee 6-12 months earlier release on a 24 months sentence if you work with them.
Do anyone have any experience working with them?
Some examples are Herbert Hoelter, Bruce Cameron, Hosea Santana, Michael Frantz, Patrick Boyce & Justin Paperny
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:00 PM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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Are any of them offering you a refund if they don't succeed? The decision on the amount of community corrections time you will be offered depends on the warden's policies for each prison (who has to approve the CMs release plan), and the case manager's decision to do what the warden wants, or not.

It's only money, which criminal cases are great at sucking up anyway, so it's your decision to spend some more on a consultant, and/or an appeal lawyer, or not. But there are definitely no guarantees.
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:14 PM
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Some will also guarantee you get into RDAP, but a good defense lawyer will get you into that RDAP at sentencing.

We didn't hire a prison consultant, but we have also learned that having a short sentence (18mos) disqualifies you from a lot of things that one would be eligible for if my husband had a longer sentence. For instance, the Second Chance Act. His sentence isn't long enough. He will only wind up serving just over 13 months.

Many prisoners where he got into RDAP on their own, not because of a prison consultant. Many had lousy lawyers and now hired prison consultants. In some cases, you get what you pay for, but in many, they can't get you anywhere.

We had a prison consultant call us randomly after my husband was sentenced. Apparently since his case was in the press, the guy was following it and couldn't wait to jump on us. He tried to get my husband to hire him, didn't stop harassing us, also wanted my husband to go to a different facility (a low instead of a camp), almost guaranteeing he could get him out a few months early, but not guaranteeing it, obviously. It wasn't worth the $20k or whatever it was he was asking. He also didn't want to go to a low when he was already going to the Camp he requested and received. Then the guy tried saying he could get him into some program a the camp and get him out earlier and again pushed for some ridiculous amount of money. My husband again said no. When they're really pushy like that, you know it's not that black and white.

As fbopnomore said, unless they're offering you a refund if they don't come through, I wouldn't give them a dime.

There are things a consultant (or lawyer) can do to help you make a better case for yourself at sentencing and things like that, but I wouldn't hire one who is telling you because they can get you a reduced sentence after the fact.

A lawyer is really your best way to go, and there are plenty that can help and are respected in that field.
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Old 10-15-2018, 07:22 PM
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Herb Hoelter is a very respected consultant who has been in the criminal justice business over 30 years and has a large organization with many operations. He doesn't need to fleece anybody, since he basically invented the field of mitigation consultant and has the history, degrees and reputation to keep him in business.

Bruce Cameron has a solid background in criminal justice, but I don't know about his practice.

There is an association of sentencing advocates and mitigation specialists who I find are reliable. http://www.nlada.org/NASAMS.

If the only qualification the consultant offers is a prison experience, that is not enough to warrant professionalism. Very few reliable consultants charge $20,000 or anything near that. And while they may reach out once or twice, they don't harass. If they don't work with your lawyer, especially pre-sentence, anything said to them can be subpoenaed. Only by working under a lawyer's work product doctrine is the information you provide protected. If the consultant cannot give you references from good lawyers that you can follow up on, I wouldn't have anything to do with them.

I've had excellent experience with several former BOP staffers in getting advice. That's another avenue to explore.

The BOP is even more chaotic than usual now with 2 directors in as many years. Each facility seems to do it's own thing. I don't think the professionals focus much on the Second Chance Act, but that doesn't mean you should accept what the BOP says. You have to be your own advocate once inside and can find reliable help to give you the odds of early release. The law allows for inmates to return to the community a year before their sentence is up, but it seems very few people are able to get this.

It's good to be vigilant and this is a very stressful process in dealing with a system that doesn't make getting information easy. Hang in there and PM me if I can give you any more info. Linda Sheffield is an excellent post-conviction lawyer in your state who is very knowledgeable and a short consultation will probably answer most of your questions and give you relief.
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Old 10-27-2018, 05:14 AM
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I hired one out of desperation and I will say what he taught me wasn’t anything I couldn’t have learned to do myself. Was not worth the money and lost hope. Basically he wrote a letter to the case manager truing for more HWH time...and that letter did absolutely no good.

I’d save your money. But here is the key. More community out corrections time is not a reward for good behavior. It is need based. So if you want more time in CC, you need to come across as needing it. You need a place to live...you need to find a job. That is the stuff that will get you more time. The “I am a model inmate” and “I have a job and home to go home to” will result in less community corrections time, not more.

And chances are your CC time is already set on its trajectory as your PSI outlines a lot of what they use to gauge your need. You can’t go into your case managers office and ask for more time by saying you have no job or home to go home to if your PSI says otherwise.
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Old 10-29-2018, 10:35 PM
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This was great and this was the information I wanted because Bruce Cameron, which seems to be a good prison consultant says he can get me more Halfway house or home confinement because I have 2 years.
I also have to Self Surrendor and the place I suppose to go to has sustained major hurricane damage now no one knows yet where I will go but I chose the 1 and the judge approved it & BOP agreed, now I don't want to go to a bad 1 so I'm trying to find some help to decide where I want to go instead of them sending me...the consultant said they could do it but I will contact the lawyer you gave me to ask questions about it or if you know who I should contact because Probation knows nothing.
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Old 10-29-2018, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellisq View Post
Herb Hoelter is a very respected consultant who has been in the criminal justice business over 30 years and has a large organization with many operations. He doesn't need to fleece anybody, since he basically invented the field of mitigation consultant and has the history, degrees and reputation to keep him in business.

Bruce Cameron has a solid background in criminal justice, but I don't know about his practice.

There is an association of sentencing advocates and mitigation specialists who I find are reliable. http://www.nlada.org/NASAMS.

If the only qualification the consultant offers is a prison experience, that is not enough to warrant professionalism. Very few reliable consultants charge $20,000 or anything near that. And while they may reach out once or twice, they don't harass. If they don't work with your lawyer, especially pre-sentence, anything said to them can be subpoenaed. Only by working under a lawyer's work product doctrine is the information you provide protected. If the consultant cannot give you references from good lawyers that you can follow up on, I wouldn't have anything to do with them.

I've had excellent experience with several former BOP staffers in getting advice. That's another avenue to explore.

The BOP is even more chaotic than usual now with 2 directors in as many years. Each facility seems to do it's own thing. I don't think the professionals focus much on the Second Chance Act, but that doesn't mean you should accept what the BOP says. You have to be your own advocate once inside and can find reliable help to give you the odds of early release. The law allows for inmates to return to the community a year before their sentence is up, but it seems very few people are able to get this.

It's good to be vigilant and this is a very stressful process in dealing with a system that doesn't make getting information easy. Hang in there and PM me if I can give you any more info. Linda Sheffield is an excellent post-conviction lawyer in your state who is very knowledgeable and a short consultation will probably answer most of your questions and give you relief.
Bruce Cameron was the consultant I had been speaking with & I spoke with Herbert Hoelter firm too. But my initial problem if my Self Surrender destination has hurricane damage & I want ton chose where I go so I can get a good 1 because the judge let me choose & BOP approved but now they have shipped their inmates in temp houses at a facility and not camp & they are all going to be shipped elsewhere..so who do I need help to get sent somewhere else close by home & a good camp. Probation seem to not know anything and says it's all up to BOP. Can a consultant help with this or someone else or can I contact someone directly.
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Old 10-30-2018, 07:31 AM
bellisq bellisq is offline
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I'm afraid I have some reluctance when I see the word "choose." You can influence through your requests with the BOP, but "choose" is stretching it. If you have certain departures, the government is more likely to help you get the placement you want. Also, a judicial recommendation has value, but is not a guarantee. there are a lot of factors that impact designation, but the decision only begins after your sentencing.


Did you reporting date change? Seems you have to go in tomorrow.

Last edited by bellisq; 10-30-2018 at 08:12 AM..
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Old 10-31-2018, 11:55 AM
fentastic0076 fentastic0076 is offline
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It's a perspective thing I guess. Are you willing to put in the time and learn on your own, or do you need somebody who knows the law and has time to write letters, provide information, etc?
My fiance self surrendered to Alderson FPC in June, and I did hire a consultant. I negotiated his rate to 50% of his initial offer since a lot of what they can help with is done pre-sentencing. However, where it's been beneficial to me is being able to call and get information quick. You can get an account on Pacer, but you'll pay every time you access it. You can spend time doing your own research, but I work between 80-100hrs most weeks, and my off time is pretty valuable to me. I wish I had hired them much earlier in the process, as there isn't/wasn't much he could offer after sentencing. It's a touchy situation. Can he get you more HWH time? Technically it's impossible to answer that question from any direction, as the correspondence they initiate never comes back to them. When they send a letter to the sentencing judge, or to the BOP, it is then taken from there and it either happens or it doesn't. The judge doesn't send a return response to the consultant...I hope this makes sense. So, even if you or your LO would be rewarded additional HWH/HC time, there isn't any proof either way as to the consultant having anything to do with it.
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fentastic0076 View Post
It's a perspective thing I guess. Are you willing to put in the time and learn on your own, or do you need somebody who knows the law and has time to write letters, provide information, etc?
My fiance self surrendered to Alderson FPC in June, and I did hire a consultant. I negotiated his rate to 50% of his initial offer since a lot of what they can help with is done pre-sentencing. However, where it's been beneficial to me is being able to call and get information quick. You can get an account on Pacer, but you'll pay every time you access it. You can spend time doing your own research, but I work between 80-100hrs most weeks, and my off time is pretty valuable to me. I wish I had hired them much earlier in the process, as there isn't/wasn't much he could offer after sentencing. It's a touchy situation. Can he get you more HWH time? Technically it's impossible to answer that question from any direction, as the correspondence they initiate never comes back to them. When they send a letter to the sentencing judge, or to the BOP, it is then taken from there and it either happens or it doesn't. The judge doesn't send a return response to the consultant...I hope this makes sense. So, even if you or your LO would be rewarded additional HWH/HC time, there isn't any proof either way as to the consultant having anything to do with it.
Just wanted to check in and see how you’re fiancé is doing now. May be sentenced here
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:19 PM
Remorseful900 Remorseful900 is offline
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One of the things I read from prison consultants is that the defendants should write a personal narrative to the judge to have your attorney submit it along with their sentencing memorandum

Has anyone ever submitted a personal narrative to a judge before the sentencing hearing explaining your life story and what you have learned from your crimes
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:40 PM
Dino2016 Dino2016 is offline
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Default Elderly provision in First Step Act

My LO is serving a 25 month sentence that began on July 17, 2018 and would end on August 17, 2020.

According to the BOP website, his discharge date is May 9, 2020 (so he has been given credit for good time). I supposes he might go to the HH and then to HC maybe the last 2 months (which would be 10% of the original sentence) of his sentence, so approximately March, 2020.

The First Step Act expands the Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program to include ALL facilities, age for qualification reduced from 65 to 60, 2/3 of sentence must be served to be eligible (25 months x 2/3 or 66.6 percent =16.65 months), must be a first time non-violent offender, etc...….well, he fits all that criteria.

16.6 months served would be approximately December 1, 2019. So as I read it, that would be his discharge date based on the expansion of the First Step Act. **If that were to be his new discharge date, would his good time come off of that or not? **And would the good time come off of that as well?

Very anxious for Grand Prairie to start implementing the changes that should occur with the First Step Act....and there seems to be no one to ask.

My LO seems to think if we don't hire an attorney to start some process of inquiry that nothing will ever happen. I believe there is a deadline of sorts wherein the BOP has to implement the new program.....yes or no?

Thanks for any insight. At the very least, he can ask to be moved closer to home as he is 450 miles away and there is also a new provision that allows prisoners to ask to be moved closer to home even if they are within 500 miles of home. Of course, I'd rather for him to stay put as he is settled in, doing good....just homesick!
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:00 AM
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It's difficult to know what the bop will do to implement the First Step Act, or when. A "pilot program" is usually very limited, but that doesn't mean it won't include your husband. His unit team case manager will be important, as will his warden, so he should discuss it with them at his next unit team meeting. Under the Second Chance Act, he could receive up to 12 months in a HWH, which could include up to 6 months on home confinement, but the same folks will decide that too.

I don't have a clue if hiring a lawyer would help or not. I hope the bop will take the new law seriously.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:01 AM
rockchalk1 rockchalk1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino2016 View Post
My LO is serving a 25 month sentence that began on July 17, 2018 and would end on August 17, 2020.

According to the BOP website, his discharge date is May 9, 2020 (so he has been given credit for good time). I supposes he might go to the HH and then to HC maybe the last 2 months (which would be 10% of the original sentence) of his sentence, so approximately March, 2020.

The First Step Act expands the Elderly Home Detention Pilot Program to include ALL facilities, age for qualification reduced from 65 to 60, 2/3 of sentence must be served to be eligible (25 months x 2/3 or 66.6 percent =16.65 months), must be a first time non-violent offender, etc...….well, he fits all that criteria.

16.6 months served would be approximately December 1, 2019. So as I read it, that would be his discharge date based on the expansion of the First Step Act. **If that were to be his new discharge date, would his good time come off of that or not? **And would the good time come off of that as well?

Very anxious for Grand Prairie to start implementing the changes that should occur with the First Step Act....and there seems to be no one to ask.

My LO seems to think if we don't hire an attorney to start some process of inquiry that nothing will ever happen. I believe there is a deadline of sorts wherein the BOP has to implement the new program.....yes or no?

Thanks for any insight. At the very least, he can ask to be moved closer to home as he is 450 miles away and there is also a new provision that allows prisoners to ask to be moved closer to home even if they are within 500 miles of home. Of course, I'd rather for him to stay put as he is settled in, doing good....just homesick!
Good time credit comes off the full original sentence.

We had an attorney, and when my husband turned 60 in January after the First Step Act was passed and had already served 2/3 of his sentence, we had him look into the elderly provision. Unfortunately, it is discretionary and while my husband did meet all of the provisions, the bottom line ultimately came to the issue with "pilot" programs and whether or not his facility would be designated as a pilot program if and when. It wasn't going to be worth the $ to spend to have the attorney file any kind of paperwork to find this out because again it is all discretionary and the attorney can't pick which prisons are being picked for the pilot programs. Also, in my husband's case he was being released soon thereafter anyway.

At the end of the day, it means next to nothing. The first part of the First Step Act is supposed to be implemented in July, including the adjustments for good time credit, but the BOP has already said they're behind in the first stage of the implementing due to the government shutdown.

My husband should have received 10 extra days of good time credit, which he didn't get and will never get. Hopefully they will take care of that part in July as they should. But the other stuff like the elderly provision and programming will take a lot longer. I know guys who have 3 more years on their sentences that actually think they're getting out to home confinement this summer. Not sure what they're smoking, but if that's what gets them by each day, then good for them. Honestly, people need to be realistic and hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Everyone where my husband was that has filed any kind of motion of paperwork with the warden has been shot down. It's only for you to determine if it's worth spending the money on a lawyer or not.

We needed our lawyer for one issue in the halfway house and it helped greatly as my husband was supposed to be on home confinement and they were dragging their feet. Aside from that, there wasn't much else the attorney could do in getting anything done but it was nice knowing he was available when we needed him and it didn't cost us a fortune.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:21 AM
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Unfortunately, very few lawyers have the skills and information to make a substantial or meaningful impact on affecting change in the Bureau of Prisons. Literally, under 10 lawyers total have a decent track record on getting good results with the BOP. And even less "private consultants" have an affect.

The Elderly pilot program original time has run out. I believe 11 people were released under this program, which seems was designed to fail. That was a big disappointment. I was stunned to try to use it for a client. I'm not sure why Congress bothered, but any bill that allows the BOP to set up the rules unsupervised will be designed to keep people in, not get them out. The system is broken. Doesn't mean anyone should allow these barriers to stop them from pursuing their goals. Occasionally, they are successful.

Anyone should feel free to discuss potential hires for BOP assistance on PTO and get feedback. If I know about them, always happy to share.
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
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Good time credit comes off the full original sentence.

We had an attorney, and when my husband turned 60 in January after the First Step Act was passed and had already served 2/3 of his sentence, we had him look into the elderly provision. Unfortunately, it is discretionary and while my husband did meet all of the provisions, the bottom line ultimately came to the issue with "pilot" programs and whether or not his facility would be designated as a pilot program if and when. It wasn't going to be worth the $ to spend to have the attorney file any kind of paperwork to find this out because again it is all discretionary and the attorney can't pick which prisons are being picked for the pilot programs. Also, in my husband's case he was being released soon thereafter anyway.

At the end of the day, it means next to nothing. The first part of the First Step Act is supposed to be implemented in July, including the adjustments for good time credit, but the BOP has already said they're behind in the first stage of the implementing due to the government shutdown.

My husband should have received 10 extra days of good time credit, which he didn't get and will never get. Hopefully they will take care of that part in July as they should. But the other stuff like the elderly provision and programming will take a lot longer. I know guys who have 3 more years on their sentences that actually think they're getting out to home confinement this summer. Not sure what they're smoking, but if that's what gets them by each day, then good for them. Honestly, people need to be realistic and hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Everyone where my husband was that has filed any kind of motion of paperwork with the warden has been shot down. It's only for you to determine if it's worth spending the money on a lawyer or not.

We needed our lawyer for one issue in the halfway house and it helped greatly as my husband was supposed to be on home confinement and they were dragging their feet. Aside from that, there wasn't much else the attorney could do in getting anything done but it was nice knowing he was available when we needed him and it didn't cost us a fortune.

Thank you for your insight. Always good to hear from someone who has been on this journey. I was thinking that I read that the elderly provision would include ALL prisons this time per the First Step Act.... who knows? Of course, my husband is getting all kinds of “legal advice” from within from “ jailhouse lawyers”. We have a lawyer and my husband insists that it’s time to get him involved again..... I disagree but I haven’t told him so in as many words..... Im just saying ok, Ill check it out, etc. as he can become depressed easily and when he does, I’m afraid he will not get the medical attenti9n he needs. He has a diagnosis of manic-depression that is well documented. He has been in for 8 months and so far he has done well.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:46 PM
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This is why I am not a big fan of how the federal bureau of prisons, an agency that believes they are above the law, operates.

The bop has always resisted each and every legislative change meant to help prisoners. They are doing it again with the First Step Act by refusing to calculate the retroactive additional good time as they did with rockchalk1's husband, and thousands of others. It would be nothing for a computer programmer to change 47 days to 54 days for those prisoners (95%+ who earn good time) but they have decided that Congress must first correct a minor terminology error in the law.

This is the same bop that has been fighting against giving every one of it's millions of prisoners (95% of them anyway) 54 days of good time since 1984. 54 days is the amount of good time passed into law over 25 years ago in the Truth in Sentencing Act, but the bop decided that Congress really meant 47 days instead, and they have been allowed to get away with it as an "administrative adjustment". Is it any wonder that they are again dragging their feet in awarding the 54 days demanded by the first chance act?

One week of additional good time per year doesn't sound like much, but since they have refused to give that week to an average of 120,000 prisoners per year (35,705 total bop prisoners in 1984; highest 219,238 in 2013, and 185,618 in 2017), that works out to over 28,500,000 extra "prisoner days" over that period, and it continues even today. Any one who has served even one extra day probably understands the magnitude of one day, let alone 28 1/2 million of them.

The bop's always consistent actions also include "compassionate release" of terminally ill prisoners, and any other legislative law that caused them to release anybody even one day sooner. ADA, HIPAA and probably a bunch of other acronyms too, they do whatever they please, with virtually no oversight.

At least Congress finally started requiring the bop to comply with some provisions of the First Step Act, knowing full well that otherwise they would be ignored. But it looks to me as if the bop has again found a way to slither out of following the law about 54 days of good time, so what's new?
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:07 AM
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Has anyone hired Bruce Cameron for consulting?
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