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However, this route usually creates more problems than it solves. Due to today’s climate of mass incarceration, the criminal defense field is suddenly being flooded with former inmates who are magically expert consultants the day after they leave prison. They monitor the court dockets for new cases and immediately solicit new defendants directly. These defendants are extremely vulnerable at that point and retain these “consultants” primarily out of fear of the unknown.
lack of attention given to preparing them for prison. That is why it was so heartening to hear this issue raised by a Supreme Court justice, because the truth is that every inmate in every prison in America could say the very same thing about their lawyers and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to anyone.
This blog post originally appeared as an Op-Ed in The Legal Intelligencer.
ole as a sentencing consultant, I always discuss the prison environment, and how both clients and their families can successfully navigate the coming years behind bars. I can accomplish this because I am familiar with the terrain behind prison walls. For attorneys who are less familiar with the world behind bars, such guidance may be less helpful. Many attorneys also do not have the credibility (i.e., “bond”) with their clients at the end of the adjudication process. – Charles Lanier
Most defense lawyers have neither the time nor the real experience to explain what happens in prison — I suggest that someone should be available on the ‘rolodex’, who knows, who has done time, to meet with clients, especially the more vulnerable ones. It’s not an ethical duty, I’m sure, but could save a life or two. – Charles Hargreaves
Prison is a terrible experience, even Lompoc. How does one prepare a client whose freedom, for ever, could possibly be taken away by the Justice system? – Carl Knudson
Criminal attorneys should absolutely understand prison deeply. They ought to be required to see prison in real life. It might also motivate them to work harder for their clients. One of the most disappointing aspects of attorneys and prosecutors is their lack of real world empathy in the justice system. practicing law is about real people beyond all of the thought exercises. Judges are using the first to forget this it seems. Go spend a week in a prison setting. It will change anyone. This is definitely not a CLE course by the way. – John Richards
We are grateful for all donations this past year to our Ministries. These donations enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion, empathy and accurate information. Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is a CT Religious Corp. with 501c3 status –
all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. We hope you will consider making a donation to our appeal this year. Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal here, at the “Donate” button on on our site, prisonist.org or by sending your check payable to: “Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.” P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883. We have enclosed an addressed envelope for your use. Thank you.
The darkest days of a person’s life can be a
Jim Gabal, Development
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