Tuesday, January 13, 2011

Mike Carona, The Former Sheriff Of Orange County

I read that Mike Carona, the former sheriff of Orange County, will soon surrender to federal prison. There’s a good chance the Bureau of Prisons will order that he serve his sentence in the Taft Federal Prison Camp. If the Bureau of Prisons doesn’t designate Mr. Carona to Taft, the chances are good that the former sheriff will serve his sentence at the camp in Lompoc. Either place will be fine, though I understand that Mr. Carona likely doesn’t see it that way.

I understand what it’s like to stare down calendar days waiting for the abrupt changes that come with a federal prison term. Mr. Carona has been enduring his anxiety for several years already. First he stood accused and he denied wrongdoing. Then he had to struggle through a criminal trial. A jury convicted him. Then attorneys convinced him not only to appeal, but to delay his prison term until the appeal’s court ruled. Now the time has come for imprisonment. I empathize with the mental challenges he’s about to endure.

My experience suggests that Mr. Carona would have been far better off to have taken a different approach. Although I am not qualified to offer legal advice to anyone, I know more than most lawyers know about what it’s like to stare down the long end of a federal prison term. The truth is, I would submit, Mr. Corona’s worst days are about to end.

The worst aspect of a struggle with the criminal justice system is the challenge of the unknown. Despite the outward show of strength that Mr. Carona has shown, I’m quite sure that anxiety has tormented his every thought. He has worried about imprisonment. It has hung over his head ever since he first saw the ominous words United States of America versus Mike Carona.

While Mr. Carona waited for his legal strategies to play themselves out, I doubt that he could commit to gainful employment. He likely couldn’t focus his thoughts on exercise. I’m quite sure that he has numbed out in many ways, but I doubt he was able to purge the turmoil from his mind. All of that ends when he surrenders to federal prison.

As I’ve written in my books Lessons From Prison and Ethics in Motion, once a man surrenders to federal prison, he’s able to bury the past and begin the climb out to a better life. I’m hopeful that Mr. Carona finds his time in prison as productive as possible. The strategies that guided me through 12-plus months would serve Mr. Carona, or anyone else well. I’m available for discussion about aspects of living inside federal prison camps. My name is JP and I can help!

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