Former congressman Anthony Weiner cried when a judge sentenced him to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl. Prison is tough and most felons have no idea what to expect. For a few thousand dollars, high-profile felons like Weiner can hire a “prison consultant” to help smooth the transition to life behind bars, MarketWatch reports. For non-violent criminals like Weiner and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, now behind bars in a Brooklyn jail, prison “is a totally different environment than they’ve ever been, it’s crazy in there,” said Michael Frantz of Jail Time Consulting, who served 36 months in a federal facility for tax evasion. “They come from a world where there’s order,” Frantz said. “They have people under them and tell them what to do. When you get into federal prison, you have no control whatsoever. In the real world, there’s order and rational thinking. In the [federal] Bureau of Prisons there’s absolutely no rational thinking.”
A combination hand-holder, shoulder-to-cry-on, and red tape slicer, prison consultants prep future inmates for life behind bars, teach them how to make the best use of their time on the inside, and can help inmates shave time off their sentences. Many of the consultants have been to prison themselves and know from personal experience how to navigate the prison bureaucracy. Prices for their services range from $500 for advocating for better medical care in prison to $20,000 to for comprehensive post-prison consulting to help ex-inmates rebuild their lives by starting new businesses. Ex-cons shouldn’t shy away from their checkered pasts, says Justin Paperny, a one-time Bear Stearns stockbroker who went to prison after pleading guilty to hedge fund fraud. Some prison consultants offer “reputation repair” services that bury unflattering Google search results. Paperny, founder of White Collar Advice, preaches the opposite for his white-collar crime clients, who he says are unfairly “kicked aside” by society.