Thursday, December 22, 2011

Walt Pavlo of Forbes and 500 Pearl Street, wrote a story about James Fleishman, formerly of Primary Global. Fleishman, I learned from Mr. Pavlo’s article, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, and in Feb 2012 he will surrender to Taft Federal Prison Camp–formerly my home for 388 days.

My interest in Mr. Fleishman lie not with the crimes that led him to prison, but rather with how he will adjust in prison. While living in a prison camp is hardly redolent of the prison shows we see on television, it is still prison. Too many prisoners, especially the educated white-collar offenders, begin their term with the misperception that life will be the same as life outside. It is not. It would be wise for Mr. Fleishman to understand that a basic social protocol exists. Violating this protocol can lead to unnecessary altercations with both staff members and other prisoners.

In other words, and as I wrote in Lessons From Prison, Mr. Fleishman must take the time to understand his environment. He would be wise to recognize that he is stepping onto a compound occupied by some for 1,5,10, 20 and in some cases for more than 25 years. Before seeking to manipulate the system–whether that means trying to hustle a better job or mattress –he must first understand this crazy system he is trying to manipulate. Failure to do so can have irreparable consequences.

I encourage Mr. Fleishman to adjust to prison exactly like I did. If he does, his time away from home will be nothing more than a much needed sabbatical, enabling him to achieve an invaluable perspective on life. This invaluable perspective, however, can only follow if he has served his served time properly, successfully.

Justin Paperny

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