As horrendous as it may seem to some people a crime is a crime… is a crime. As a white collar criminal, some don’t believe what they’ve done is worthy of jail time. Some white collar criminals believe that white collar crime should simply be a matter of a civil case. No matter the severity, no matter the number of victims. It only takes one victim for something to be considered a crime. Be that victim a white collar criminal themselves.
Surviving Prison as a White Collar Criminal
What is a crime? To me, the taking of something whether it be spirit, money, merchandise, memorabilia, childhood … this list could go on forever.
What I have been asked in some of my blog posts is to help and ease the fear in a growing number of business people being sent to prison. I think this all started with the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme. For whatever their crime against their fellow man – the truth is this – that while a weapon was not used to perpetrate the act – the act was still committed. So, without much ado and fanfare – the lesson on how to go and serve your time as a white collar criminal is about to commence.
What Should White Collar Criminals Expect?
- Expect that the accommodations will not be as lavish as you once had.
- Expect that your neighbors may not be as friendly as they once had been.
- Expect that your meals will also not be as fine a dining experience as one might remember. But, like most humans we learn and adapt.
The first rule is to expect the unexpected and prepare for the worse. It can only get better from there.
What White Collar Offenders Should Expect The First Few Days:
Accommodations: While you easily recall strolling through your large home with nary a care in the world except for that funny pounding on your door (you will never forget how a police officer pounds on your door). You now find yourself in a strange room no bigger than your wife’s shoe closet. Prepare for this – try to spend time in that shoe closet for maybe a few hours. Then the next day spend 8 hours and bring it up to 20 – that is what it will be like while you are processing for a few weeks to a month. Also, don’t bathe.. more on this in a moment.
Now, you can try this little exercise or simply just try it for an hour to know that it is going to be rather boring – you may opt to bring a book. Now spend that time with your family and do everything in your power to ensure their safety (financial and otherwise) while you are still out and about. I cover all this in my book by the way.
Your New Neighbors: Often times you may not see a neighbor for days on end but you will smell them though. There are those still out there that believe soap and water are not as important as one might hope. You do remember your old neighbors. You’d share a beer, maybe help each other out with projects? No fear of them taking your food or stealing a kiss while you sleep?
If the prison you go to is not as overcrowded… although it probably will be, you may be in a solitary cell while waiting for your new accommodations. Quite possibly you may be in a 2 man unit or a large open pod. Its different everywhere and its all based on the lowest bidding contractor. It’s here where you meet your new neighbors in the yard and in the dining facility.
If allowed access to the yard be very weary of these new faces. Do not get attached to anyone here as you have no idea of their crime and really don’t want to associate with someone unworthy.. this will find you as guilty as they are in the eyes of the other convicts and inmates. Yes there is a difference in convicts and criminals as well you need to know who to watch for and who to hang out with… more in my prison survival book.
Your New Meal Program: If you are locked in your cell and are tray fed I want you to first do a few things prior to chowing down:
- Smell the tray – if your sniffer is good you may notice the smell of urine – toss the tray and only eat what is in packages. Also – do not bitch to the guard about this –
- Look at your food closely – if you even think their is dirt or hair or anything foreign don’t eat it; and again, do not bitch to the guards about this.
- Think about your diet and try not to load up on fatty, greasy foods. This will be the time you may lose that nagging 10 last pounds – or in my case I dropped 15 my first two weeks. Drink plenty of water and try to visualize the food you’ll have once in the main facility. Or even the food you’ll have once free.
I am not telling the white collar criminal, or you, the reader, these things to scare you, but simply to help you navigate the first few weeks. It’s within the first few days where you’ll see that it is simply a game of keeping ahead of “the game”. Its quite possibly the ultimate game of survival – more mental sometimes than physical. The physical aspect, I write more about in my book on surviving in prison.
A Few More Things I want You To Try and Accomplish:
Most of this is based on you while you are at trial, out on bail or have not yet been arrested. I’ll walk you through that in the book I wrote about pre-prison survival, but first a few more tips:
- Get your financial house in order. Make sure someone you trust is in charge of your accounts.
- Open up to people that you may not have communicated with in recent years. Talk. Talk to your family, your friends, coworkers, priest, rabbi whomever. You will need these people to communicate with you while you are inside. Their is nothing like getting a letter from loved ones.
- Prior to surrendering, take a few hundred dollars with you in the form of a money order.
- Surrender in a small city or town a couple of hundred miles from the jurisdiction that has an arrest warrant for you (if state). If a federal surrender where you are supposed to spend your time.
- While incarcerated before trial, please – SHUT UP! Talk to no one about your crime or possible involvement or non-involvement. The only person you will confide in at this moment is your attorney. Don’t talk to anyone about your charges. Don’t talk to the police (unless your lawyer says to), don’t talk to your bondsman, don’t brag to your fellow inmates, anyone on the phone etc. If asked about why you are there, or “What did you do to end up here” – it is no ones business but your own – simply reply: “Same as you, I got caught” or “Nothing, they hate that”.
- You may want to run and hide but its best to surrender showing that you are going to show responsibility to handle this matter.
As a writer for many years and having been incarcerated for something done foolishly in my youth (not a white collar criminal). I am able to bring a little hope to those being sentenced or on their way to county jail, state or federal prison. To any family member of those incarcerated, this book may help shed some light on what goes on behind the walls and may also prompt you to help your loved one through what appear to be dark times.
Now, that’s not to say the victim is not still there waiting for closure – we all are. Let this sentence be the closure they need and lets pray that those convicted turn their lives around not because they are scared of prison or its confinement, but to truly change as a human being.
If you find yourself alone, not knowing what is coming or what you should be doing to prepare for this stage in your life as a white collar criminal – my book is available to help guide you white-collar criminals.
Good luck and peace be with you. – Pete