For those growing up middle-class to wealthy, the idea of spending time in prison may be close to unthinkable. Even if they were caught committing a crime – maybe shoplifting or driving without a license – it may land them in hot water momentarily, but in most cases paying a stiff fine would get them off the hook. A luxury only those with money – or at least friends with money – have.
Sometimes, however, even the rich (and famous) get caught doing something so utterly wicked, there’s simply no avoiding serving a sentence behind bars. And then what? If no one in your social circle has ever been locked up, who do you call to prepare you for life on the inside of a cell?
A prison consultant. That’s who.
- What does a prison consultant do?
- Do I need a qualification?
- How much money can I make as a prison consultant?
“I’m like a cross between a psychologist, a marriage counsellor, a life coach and a priest.”
This is how Larry Levine, founder and director of Wall Street Prison Consultants, explained his specialised work to the BBC recently.
Basically, white collar convicts would hire someone like Levine to help them learn the ropes of the prison system. This helps ensure that their sentence runs as smoothly as possible and that they make it out in one piece upon completion.
Unlike a lawyer, prison consultants do not offer legal advice, but rather something closer to life coaching. While they will not necessarily be able to identify loopholes in your case, they will certainly be able to help you transition into life as a prisoner.
Here in the UK, prisonconsultants.co.uk’s ‘About Us’ page reads:
“If you do go to prison we are here to help you and your family through what will be a traumatic experience. We shall help and advise you prior to any custodial sentence and shall be available for the duration of any sentence.”
As mentioned earlier, prison consultants are not lawyers. Therefore, no need to enrol in law school or try to sneak your way into the bar Mike Ross-style.
Rather, you would have had to spend some time behind bars.
Yes, that’s right! All you really need to be a good prison consultant is some real-life experience of your own. Or, at the very least, experience supporting a loved one through a prison sentence.
Alternatively, having carved out a career for yourself as a senior prison officer, prison governor or prison healthcare worker could also come in handy.
“Our consultants, both male and female, have experience of prison life from ‘behind the door’, They are graduates of the prison system, ex-offenders who are able to offer words of wisdom based on real experience,” states prisonconsultants.co.uk.
Of course, to be able to support people as professionally as possible, completing a counselling course or undergoing Samaritans listener training would be a good idea.
Think you tick all the boxes to help guide others through the prison system? Want to investigate being a prison consultant as a possible career path?
Well, this might also set you on a path to making some pretty good money!
According to the BBC, the likes of Levine charge anything from “a few hundred dollars to a few thousand to upwards of $100,000 (£75,000).”
The amount you charge, of course, depends on how deeply you get involved with the case. If you just offer some initial guidance to help an alleged criminal find a suitable lawyer or barrister, you will only charge a few hundred pounds.
However, if you assist them throughout the entire process and offer regular consultations while they’re in prison, your fee will become exponentially more substantial.