Are you getting sentenced to prison?

March 26, 2015

Are you getting sentenced to prison?

Much of my attention has been directed towards completing the new Federal Prison Advice membership site. I have been writing, filming videos I could never share on YouTube, and recording podcasts that will provide value to our members. I’m excited to be able to reach and impact more people.

The membership will be available for a one time registration fee of $497, then after 90 days the cost will be $19.95 a month. That modest monthly fee will allow me to continue to coach members, provide guidance through our weekly office hours, our webinars, and it will help offset the massive amounts of new member content we will be adding monthly. This is not some static site, but rather a site that will continue to evolve with content designed to cover all aspects of the system, including essential tools for post-prison life. For that reason, family members are welcome to participate, engage and learn. In sum, I created a program my family and I needed when I read:

Justin Paperny V The United States of America

An additional benefit to the membership program, is a sentencing tool that helps prisoners get an extra 1-6 days off their sentence (yes, I know it is not the game changer of the century, but time is time!). Note, this tool only works if you can pick your surrender date (as I did), or go in at a different time after you received a date. It is possible to rearrange your surrender date with some planning.

This tool also gives you the ability to try to pick your prison because you will see the space available relative to capacity. If you have interest in getting a few extra days off and trying to ensure you get the best institution before you surrender to prison, watch this video to learn how. This sentencing tool will be available separately, and also part of the larger Blueprint Training program I created.



Free Registration at Federal Prison Advice


March 9, 2015

The new site at will be live in a week or two. I am busy creating content, filming courses and adding more content to the membership page. As a courtesy to those who have interest in program, I will offer some videos, a copy of Lessons From Prison, and a lesson plan for free. The content below is what I will add to the free registration page. I already have at least 6 people waiting to enroll, and will stop at 100! Exciting. Reach out and get on board before I shut it down for the year. JP


Author of Lessons From Prison, Ethics in Motion and The Blueprint Training Program

“Justin is an amazing resource for my law firm’s criminal defense clients.”—Dmitry Gorin, Criminal Defense Attorney; Former L.A. Deputy District Attorney

“Without this program I am certain that I was on a path to fail,”—Mark Land, Prisoner, Terre Haute Prison Camp

Dear Friends,

Thank you for participating in this free, no obligation offer to test The Blueprint. It is my job to say this, I suppose, but I know if you make the effort to learn (as I and my clients do) you will emerge from this experience differently than those who continue to fail. If we can do it, I know you can too.

Frankly, the fear of the unknown can feel so paralyzing some of us never begin preparing. And I know some of you have come across my work before, and just did not feel as if the timing was right. For that reason, I offer this portion of The Blueprint for free to get you going, to work your way into action. I truly believe there has never been a better time in our history for felons to actively work to level the playing field (or even be further along) than those who have not endured our experience, or gained our perspective. With our help, you will seize opportunities because you will be ready to take them!


Once you log in you will have access to videos, books and lesson plans for your review. You will also have access to a training podcast I collaborated on with my partner, Michael Santos. Further, to truly enhance and shorten your learning curve you are invited to schedule a complimentary call with me.

Again, I created this free content so you can begin taking incremental action in the privacy of your home. Personally, there is nothing more exciting and powerful than sitting down, thinking and preparing to overcome what some would call the “battle of a lifetime.” You may call it something else, but whatever the name, if you prepare with our “Blueprint” you will succeed, of that I am sure.

Like any educational or transformational process, you will get out of this journey what you put into it—flip through it for three minutes here and there and you get nothing. Take a few notes, implement one minor strategy and you get no meaningful impact. Contemplate the strategies, however, and you begin to create the lasting change that is needed to emerge successfully.

A lot of people (including some angry competitors) have asked why I’m doing all of this: giving away a book I wrote in prison, creating all these free videos and tools, posting so much free content all over the web. The answer is simple. We all need a little help. I was blessed to work alongside and learn from Michael Santos for each of the 388 days I spent in prison. I was blessed and fortunate to be put on a path to success and transformation in my life, and I feel this need to share it with as many defendants and families as I possibly can. As I wrote in Ethics in Motion, “none of us have truly arrived. Rather, we are all works in progress.” I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to give. Teaching and giving back helps me accomplish both.

I also trust you will find value in the free resources and then one day join The Blueprint or consider hiring me personally to coach you throughout this whole process. There is a lot we can get done together.

For now, I encourage you to fill in your email to the left and get started. Please take the time and get started today.

Talk soon,
Justin Paperny

P.S. – Once we have 100 members training through The Blueprint, we will close it until 2016. Scores of clients are already benefiting through this program, so I do not suspect it will take too long.

Where do I rank?

March 3, 2015

In addition to working as a prison consultant and online trainer, I do still enjoy speaking about ethics and white-collar crime. Below is some feedback from my presentation in New York.

Dear Mr. Paperny,

On behalf of the IMCA Specialty Conference Committee and staff, thank you for participating in IMCA’s 2015 New York Consultants Conference. We’ve received very positive feedback from the conference attendees on the quality of the program, and your time and commitment is certainly a factor.

Below is your session evaluation scores and comments. The scores are on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest and the average speaker score was 4.06. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

General Session 7: Lessons Learned from Prison (Ethics), Justin Paperny

Content was of value. 4.19
Overall Presentation. 4.19


1 Very brave and stand up individual, it is good that he is taking advantage of his second chance
2 Excellent….Sobering
3 Very impactful.
4 Interesting anecdotes from a convicted felon.
5 Nothing new for those who stay within compliance.
6 Great way to make a dry topic interesting.
7 Great and unique approach.
8 Ethics is a tough topic to do well. I thought what he said was valuable.
9 Compelling
10 Good job.
11 Scary.
12 Eye opening and valuable lesson.
13 Passionate speaker.
14 Great speaker!
15 A perfect way to end the conference- after all, there is no point applying any of the material learned if one is not going to be ethical in their practice!
16 He was a great speaker and his story was insightful. Thanks for bringing him.
17 Very brave.
18 We need more stories like this/examples. Great speaker – the best one!
19 Very good talk.
20 Good perspective!
21 Outstanding heartfelt delivery of tough story.
22 Terrific!
23 Excellent presentation! This was most worthwhile of the conference.
24 Hmm? Food for thought.
25 Great ethics session, wish they were all this good.
26 Young broker story. Not a good fit for experienced advisor audience.
27 Awful story. Hopefully this guy is rehabilitated.
28 Interesting. Eye-opening.
29 Great ethics lesson. Need more like this. Reminders and examples of what not to do.
30 Great lessons! Thank you for transparent comments.
31 One of the best ethics sessions and presenters I have seen in all of my IMCA conferences.
32 Poignant. It’s easy to slip over the line and it’s good to be reminded about how easy.
33 Doesn’t sound very repentant and still seems to believe any of us would act the same.
34 Appreciate that the committee looks for interesting Ethics speakers. I hope they continue to find interesting speakers instead of the BORING ones we have had in the past.
35 Very dynamic speaker
36 Interesting. However, not speaking to the right audience. Should be talking to folks entering the business. FAs with CIMA and the like are not likely to need this.
37 Always a compelling presenter in this spot @ NYC. Maybe unfortunate that this spot is so reliably filled but lessons presented are illuminating and hopefully preventative for some.
38 Couldn’t relate to it at all. Just stupid decisions. What he didn’t say was if he even played at USC. Non-scholarship athlete etc. Sorry for him and his family but it’s hard work to get where they are….
39 He was a great speaker and how he shared what he did and how it could happen was really well done.
40 He didn’t bring his story full circle of how to be on the lookout for signs of ethical lapses. He really was a whiner and a blamer and his acts were criminal. It wasn’t ethical issues that led him to the poor choices he made, they were criminal. I would change his topic to not what we could do but what OSJ’s and supervisors should look out for.

Many Thanks!

Stockholm Syndrome In Federal Prison

February 25, 2015

Stockholm Syndrome In Federal Prison

Understanding our tendencies helps in life. It really helps in prison. To that end, I share a video I filmed about a client’s tendency to speak to guards. I offer reasons why many white-collar offenders tend to speak to guards without fully understanding the ramifications of doing so. If you are going to prison, and have interest in preparing, I would watch this video.

As an aside, The Blueprint Program I mention in this video will be going live next month at I will open the initial membership to 50 people. All of my private clients (and their families), of course, will have access. I will write more about The Blueprint in the coming days, weeks, and months. If you have interest, reach out.

Justin Paperny

The Number One Thing To Do Before Federal Prison

February 22, 2015

The Number One Thing To Do Before Federal Prison

“In a way it is just easier, keeps hope alive, and after all, some do win,” a prospect skeptically said to me while justifying $50K he is spending on an appeal.

“Well, given your unusual financial condition $50K seems like a drop in the bucket, so you should pursue your right to appeal. Good for you. I wish you well. Should you wish to prepare more aggressively for the inevitable—after all you will be in prison while the appeal is being heard—I am available,” I told this doctor from Oregon.

“I am sorry if I gave you the impression I am wealthy. I am not. I will be borrowing the $50K from my in laws to pay the lawyer who is REALLY encouraging me to do this. He likes our chances, thinks we got a good chance.”

“You should feel so fortunate and grateful you have wealthy in laws who believe in your innocence enough to support your appeal. Make sure you nurture that love and remind them that you will work hard to feel worthy of their support—not with words, but deeds.”

“They know I am grateful, but they are not wealthy. Both live on a pension. In fact, my father in law will have to liquidate his retirement account to make it happen.”

“You are indeed fortunate, so fortunate. I beg you to prove worthy of this gift. May I ask you some more questions.”


“On a scale of 1-10 how well are you preparing for the obstacles that await you and your family? Prison, life after prison, employment (like many licensed professionals he went to trial in part because he feared the consequences of losing his license), probation, and so on. Not some lawyer selling a modicum of hope for $50K, but how well are you preparing?”

“I would say a 6. Putting a lot of faith in that appeal, so I am holding back from going all in. Plus I expect to be in front of the board within 5 years to try to reclaim my license. I have time.”

“Scary” was all I could muster.

After some penetrating questions I learned a 6 was the gift of the century.  That made up number was not rooted in reality.

When I pressed him again on why he was not preparing, he said.

“As I said, just taking in the recent court delay, you know. Thinking about what’s next. I will get there. My lawyer told me to relax a bit; he’s got it covered. He told me RDAP would knock a year off if I go, but that winning my appeal would get me out even sooner. Going away this weekend to chill. Hey to your fee, will you work with me? I’m also looking to hire someone to cover up my government press releases. So that cost and this appeal is setting us back, big. You seem a little serious for me, but I still think you can help me, though. Let’s talk brass tacks: What’s your bottom number?”

“Based on everything you have told me, together with your unwillingness to prepare, I will not take your money—or rather your in-laws money. Based on your actions that you described to me you are not ready. You are trying to buy your way out of this, and not once have you told me what YOU will do, how YOU will prepare, how YOU will bring relief to your struggling wife, what YOUR strategy is to get some dignity back and prepare for a better outcome. Judges are tired of hearing lawyers extol the virtues of their clients—even Bernard Madoff’s lawyer had to offer some good deeds to the court I presume. That is what lawyers do—it is what they are paid to do. What are YOU doing to demonstrate to the court you are different than their version of events? Until you begin to answer these questions, you will remain stuck in La La Land.

“Little harsh, huh.”

“You told me to speak honestly to you—that you called me because you heard I was different than other prison consultants that sold results without effort. Do you want me to appease or mollify you? I did that in my 20s—it was a tendency that helped lead me to prison. You told me three minutes ago your wife and children mattered the most to you, that they are your highest values. But your actions belie such statements, my friend. Your grinding me on a fee I will not accept, but allowing your in-laws to go broke to pay a PR firm and finance an appeal that data suggests you have little chance of winning. Now, tell me: Are you really living faithfully to your values?”

I continued, “I’ve been to federal prison. I know about life in federal prison and now earn a living offering prison advice. That experience of going to prison and studying success and failure tells me what is in store for you if you do not prepare. Take action or not, but do not say you were not forewarned.  Success, as you define it, will not happen without effort and I would not take anyone’s money unless I thought they were willing to work. At this time, on this call, you are not willing to work. Am I wrong?”

“No, you are not wrong. This is just hard, really hard. The delays make me feel good as if somehow this will continue forever without finality. I am not honest with my network, in laws and even my wife. I have convinced them I was wronged. I was not. I am delaying the inevitable. I do not want to go to prison and be away from my wife and kids. This is just really, really hard. “

“Now, we are making progress,” I told him as he began weeping. “Let’s schedule a call with your wife and let’s walk her through the complexities you are facing and begin to create a plan of action that will better prepare all of you for your future.

“Okay, it will be hard,” he said.

“Not preparing is harder,” I assured him.

Money is usually not the reason someone doesn’t hire me. It might be their excuse, but it is usually not the reason. Part of the reason is because too many people are unwilling to embrace the reality of their new life. It is easier to write a check to a lawyer and hope.

I speak to defendants in the same way I needed someone to speak to me. Rather than obsess over getting an extra month in the halfway house because of the 2nd chance act, I needed someone to tell me that without preparations life after prison would be 10,000,000 times harder than any prison term.

Many of the people that reach out to and hire me have the strength and courage to ask the hard questions and begin taking massive amounts of action. Others, I know because I was there, choose the easy escape from preparing by avoiding. Through alcohol, denial, laziness, or the “I will get there eventually you know”, they avoid responsibilities that would improve their life and allow them to live faithfully to their highest values: their family and their freedom.

At times it is just easier to delay doing the right thing, to divert attention to more pressing matters. “I am going away this weekend to decompress, to access my options,” I often hear. When they do not admit is that it is no vacation—they are already in prison. Before my guilty plea and sentencing I took myself to the Ojai Spa and Bath Inn. Thirty-six holes of golf a day, good food, wine, and tobacco consumed my attention. But I was already in prison and later hated myself for vacationing when I should have been preparing.

Delaying or avoiding certainly presents some shorter term rewards, but I know through experience it is the most effective strategy to guarantee long term suffering. Life is hard, prison is hard, I know. I speak directly because I was once the defendant on the other end of the line. I needed someone to tell me that I was a walking contradiction, that I was lazy, full of denial, regret, and that taking action would be much harder than simply scratching a check to someone.

I’m so passionate because I want my readers to prove to their network that their professed values are not clichés or platitudes, but real. At any moment you can take action and feel that sense of accomplishment for keeping a positive attitude, especially when so much is imploding around you. When you take that positive action, you will no longer drown in a sea of pessimism or misery. And that is the number one thing to do before federal prison: take some sort of positive action.

To close, it is the rarest of individuals who can live in denial, avoid preparing and somehow achieve success.

Justin Paperny

P.S. –  This defendant asked me to share this dialogue so others would learn from him. Since our call we have spoken repeatedly, and with his family, created a blueprint for the road ahead.

Bill told me I was right!

February 14, 2015

Bill told me I was right!

It’s hard to maintain discipline and perspective during the really dark days. I know. Besides my own experience I interviewed and learned from many of the good men with whom I served time. From them I learned a great deal. And working as a prison consultant has also brought many lessons. To begin, I’m not alone. We all endured our own level of trauma as a result of our conviction. The degrees vary but it would be a lie if I did not acknowledge this experience can be traumatic. Still, with perspective, discipline, and an indomitable will to succeed, we can overcome.

I share these thoughts because today I received a call today from, Bill. I originally wrote about Bill from prison (the blog I wrote about him is below). Bill called to me tell me I was right about “deeds and time”. It took many years but Bill has finally reconciled with his family.

Why? Simple, really. He worked and proved worthy of a second chance. He told me his efforts to atone inspired his family, and that if anything, they eventually apologized to him for so easily giving up on and not believing in him. “Who are we to throw stones in a glass house,” they told him after many years. “We love and admire how hard you have worked.  We are sorry we were so stubborn.”

Look, Bill’s success did not materialize by accident or by magic. He worked. No one succeeds without work. He saw the end game and aggressively pursued the means to make it happen. I admire him because he took a punch, I mean a left hook that keeps most down, and got up.

It pleases me to provide this update and share the original blog below.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fifty-Five Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp

I felt sad to have heard a story a fellow prisoner told me.  Bill was serving a three year sentence for a financial crime.  Bill was in his early 40s and relatively new to his prison term.  The sentence he served was not as long as some of the other people in the camp, but Bill was struggling because of conditions he faced at home.

Bill’s parents had been so humiliated at their son’s criminal conviction that they disowned him.  They would not accept his telephone calls.  When he wrote to them, they returned his letters with the marking “unopened and unread.”  They expressed their wishes that Bill never contact them again, and didn’t even want a connection with Bill’s child.

To cope with the trauma of hardship over loss from family, Bill told me that he would wake in the middle of the night to sit alone in one of the bathroom stalls.  Prison did not have any place where a man could expect complete privacy, but closing oneself into the bathroom stall could provide the illusion of privacy.  Bill said he would just sit on the commode and mourn the loss he felt.

I could relate to Bill’s sense of separation.  I have a close relative on my Dad’s side of the family who expresses hostility because of my imprisonment.  Although we were not particularly close, the rejection pains me because I know that it saddens my parents.  The pain also distresses me some because I don’t like the reality that I am now a bit of an outcast as viewed by some in my family.

I spoke with a friend of mine in prison who served many years.  He told me that at one point, his grandparents had disowned him as a consequence of the criminal conviction.  To cope, my friend said that he first focused on growing up in ways that would redeem his crimes. Five years passed before he healed the wounds with his grandparents, but the family bond had been restored.

When I counseled Bill, I explained to him what I had learned from my friend  Although his parents were troubled now, he could redeem his actions over time and restore the relationship.  A criminal conviction can challenge  family relationships, as law-abiding citizens don’t like to feel the stigma of a troubled name.  Those who struggle through the system can serve themselves and their family members well by seeking first to understand, then to be understood.  Rather than striving to explain or excuse the behavior that led to a clash with the criminal justice system, the more prudent choice may be to understand that time and deeds can heal the wounds or humiliation that are ancillary to a criminal conviction.

I know that I am blessed to have had the loving and generous support of my family.  Other prisoners are not always so fortunate.  To bolster their spirits, I urge them to focus on how they want to emerge and redeem themselves.  It’s a better approach than serving time by the hour.

Justin Paperny

How To Avoid Problems In Federal Prison

February 12, 2015

How To Avoid Problems In Federal Prison

Two days ago I lectured in front of roughly 1,000 money managers in New York. My job was to walk the audience through my journey as a federal prisoner, and to convey the consequences that could follow unethical behavior. Last evening, I noticed on my twitter feed that Megan Leonhardt, a journalist for wrote a piece that included some of the key takeaways from my lecture. In reviewing the piece this I was reminded at the parallels that exist between my career as an ethics speaker and my career giving prison advice through my prison consulting business. To highlight some of these similarities I filmed a short video. If you have interest in making better decisions before, during or after prison this video might interest you.

Justin Paperny



Disciplinary Infractions In Federal Prison

The Hardest Thing to Do

February 7, 2015

Disciplinary Infractions In Federal Prison

As a man who makes a study of prison I am amazed at the poor decisions new incoming prisoners make. Those who succeed realize that imprisonment is harder on those that love and support them. Indeed, nearly everyone that reaches out to me tells me that this process has been harder on those that love and support them. One could reason, then, that ones highest values before, during and after prison should be family.

If that is the case then why do so many incoming prisoners act contrary to their beliefs?


The Hardest Thing to Do

Simple. Much like the behavior that led us into trouble with the system we still do not fully understand how one comment or statement could impact the rest of our life. The same goes for prison adjustment.

Yesterday, I received a call from a frantic wife whose husband was sent to the SHU. Despite her husband’s proclamations that he would serve his 8 months productively, lose that weight, read some books, teach a class and so on, he got into a foolish argument with a prisoner, a gang member, no less. Some people in prison do not care if they go to SHU or get transferred. The people with whom I work, do.

Now, his wife with my assistance is working with him through the disciplinary process. He will probably lose his halfway house time. More than that, however, and more germane to my email, he is a walking contradiction. Despite his promises about serving time with dignity and a plan, he is failing. And he is making matters worse on his family.


The question How Good is Your Word on a roll of toilet paper to

To those reading let me offer some really easy prison advice: Prepare. To those reading this I can predict your success by how dedicated you truly are to the values you profess to live by. I recognize not all can afford a private prison consultant to walk you through the process. To the extent you can, then, read my blogs, watch my videos and spend the time to create a realistic plan. If I can be of assistance, reach out. Lastly, to those who have interest, I will send you my new lesson plan on Disciplinary Infractions. Just email me at [email protected] or call 818-424-2220.


Going Back On The Road!

February 5, 2015

Going Back On The Road!

Following my release from prison in 2009, I invested many hours honing my skill as a public speaker. Besides reading a Dale Carnegie book at Taft Federal Prison Camp, I had never studied public speaking before. Reading a book helped, I suppose. But to learn you just have to do it, and be prepared to really endure some growing pains.

Before I took the stage for the first time I said, “what’s the big deal? It is not like they can send me back to prison if I fail.”

Between 2009 and 2013, I traveled all over the country. Law firms, business schools, corporations, government, leadership summits and so on invited me in. The experience was life changing. To stand up and address more than 4,000 people without notes was liberating. It was not hard in the end—I was just telling my story after all. As I approached the end of 2013, however, I realized I had had enough.

Despite a lucrative speaking career I started turning down events. I stopped seeking events. No longer would my events be tied to my book—you may buy the book, I told them, but I will not be visiting to speak.

I placed more emphasis on consulting and preparing to settle down, marry and have children. More than anything, though, I was tired of telling the story. I also thought I could help more people through consulting than speaking. I still do.

Other than visiting Allstate in Chicago and Wells Fargo in Vegas last year, I did not speak too much. In 2015, however, I am taking a few more events. And after a long time away I am excited to speak.

This week I will travel to New York to lecture to more than 900 money managers for an IMCA event—I will also see many clients and some defense attorneys who endorse my work. Following my event on Tuesday, I will visit the NBC studio to sit for an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big To Fail. CNBC will also film portions of my event.

Upon my return to Los Angeles I will address nine classes at USC. I also just accepted an invitation to visit Omaha to speak for Mutual of Omaha—it will be my first visit to Omaha since I played in the College World Series for USC in 1995.

It feels good to be nervous, to have that anxious energy. I hope those in the audience will find value in my lecture.

Justin Paperny

Residential Drug Abuse Program

January 19, 2015

Residential Drug Abuse Program

I attach a short video and provide a brief overview on my lesson plan that covers the Residential Drug Abuse Program:

The Residential Drug Abuse Program results in 12-month time cuts (plus six months in the halfway house) for thousands of federal prisoners. Successful completion of the drug program, commonly known as RDAP, results in participants being released from a Bureau of Prisons facility 18 months sooner than if they did not participate. Unfortunately, many defendants do not learn about the Residential Drug Abuse Program––RDAP––until after they completed their pre-sentence investigation or surrendered to federal prison. By then, they realize that original statements they made during the Presentence Investigation process might forever disqualify them from being able to participate in RDAP or reap the benefits of an 18-month time cut.

At Federal Prison Advice, we urge all defendants to understand everything they can about the Residential Drug Abuse Program. The sooner defendants learn about RDAP, the sooner they can make a decision of whether they want to participate. Our program on RDAP discusses the program in its entirety, helping readers understand the advantages and disadvantages. Most of our clients realize the primary advantage of the RDAP program is that successful participants serve up to 18 months less in prison than they would serve if they did not complete the program. Others, like one of our RDAP coaches, Philip Jamison, highlighted the cognitive transformation RDAP presented him and other prisoners at Lompoc Camp. The primary disadvantage is the somewhat complicated process they must endure in order to ensure that they qualify.

Since the Residential Drug Abuse Program represents the only opportunity defendants have to work toward completing their sentence sooner, many want to learn about it. The more they learn, the more they realize that people with serious substance-abuse problems aren’t the only people who participate or benefit. We have worked with countless defendants who ran businesses, who were well educated, and who had achieved high levels of economic or professional success. By understanding how the system operated, they were able to position themselves to qualify for the Residential Drug Abuse Program. As a consequence of RDAP, those clients completed their prison terms 18-months sooner than they otherwise would have served.

If you think that you would like to receive up to 18 months off of your time in prison, then you owe it to yourself and family to learn everything you can about the Residential Drug Abuse Program. At Federal Prison Advice, we can help you position yourself to qualify for RDAP.

Justin Paperny