Ex-convict Patrick Boyce, founder of Federal Prison Alternatives in Columbus, Ohio, offers advice to prospective inmates as “federal mitigation specialist,” says the Chicago Tribune. Boyce, 41, is one of a handful of consultants who gear their services toward a white-collar population that includes mortgage fraudsters, tax evaders, and Ponzi-schemers. He cites experience “as the best teacher,” citing his own 27-month prison term for conspiracy to commit fraud.
The cottage industry is dominated by ex-offenders, retired jailhouse employees and advocates who support prison alternatives. High-profile cases during the 1980s and ’90s, including corporate raider Ivan Boesky and former junk bond financier Michael Milken — both of whom used prison consultants — have helped heighten awareness. Some criminal defense attorneys remain skeptical, and question whether the consultants can deliver what they promise. John Webster of the Nashville-based National Prison and Sentencing Consultants, charges $3,500 to $10,000 for prison coaching. Some consultants try to strengthen a defendant’s presentencing request to be enrolled in a 500-hour federal drug and alcohol abuse program, which can result in a shorter prison stint. Others document medical reasons that argue why an inmate needs a lower bunk or special diet.