Wealthy first-time convicts hire members of a cottage industry of prison coaches with advice on what it’s like inside the big house, says USA Today. Consultants counsel anxious inmates for fees of up to $20,000. White-collar convicts like Martha Stewart and Bernard Madoff got penitentiary insight from the Baltimore-based National Center for Institutions and Alternatives. The agency’s Herbert Hoelter says it waived its fee for Madoff because his assets were frozen. At least a half-dozen similar firms have emerged. Steven Oberfest touts himself as an “inmate adaptation specialist” and offers a course in close-quarters combat.
Larry Levine, a Los Angeles-area consultant, changed his company name from American Prison Consultants to Wall Street Prison Consultants. Levine, who served 10 years for drug trafficking, securities violations, and distribution of machine guns, says his “Fedtime101” course helps offenders avoid assault, cope with the “daily grind,” decode prison lingo, and avoid “bad prison jobs.”