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Probation Officers | Federal | The PSR

Probation Officers Representing The Court:

They Conduct The Presentence Interview,

This is critical – as from it they prepare

Your Presentence Report (PSR),

Which acts as your “referral” to

The Federal Bureau of Prisons for everything

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For a No Obligation Free Consult Call Dr.Blatstein at: 240.888.7778, or through email at: info@PPRSUS.com. Dr. Blatstein answers and personally returns all of his calls.

Probation receives and evaluates pre-sentence investigation requests.

Their Process:

  • 1st they interview you, and then
    • Identify and pursue leads to obtain evidence.
    • Gather and document evidence by interviewing involved parties, obtaining statements, reviewing and analyzing records and files, etc.
    • Gather criminal history, police reports, victim impact statements, criminal complaints, and information and review them prior to the interview with the offender.
    • Conduct offender criminal history checks, warrant inquiries, and driver’s license abstract checks.
    • Compile and maintain history and case records.
    • Inform offenders of their rights, responsibilities, and purposes of the pre-sentence investigation process.
    • Interview offenders are required by the courts to have a pre-sentence investigation completed.
    • Utilize PSI interview guide and the Criminogenic Domains of Criminal History, Education/Employment, Financial, Family/Marital, Accommodation, Leisure/Recreation, Companions, Alcohol/Drug, Emotional/Personal, and Attitude/Orientation.
    • Complete various extensive assessment tools to gauge offender risk and needs.
    • Collect PSI fees.
    • Coordinate investigations with other law enforcement agencies, regulatory agencies, and other relevant entities.
    • Confirm information gathered during the interview.
    • Communicate with the appropriate Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff, other state agencies, related organizations, other entities, volunteers, and the public to provide information, referral services, technical advice, and consultation regarding PSI.
    • Communicate with Courts, attorneys, law enforcement, and other agencies involved in a court-ordered pre-sentence investigation.
    • Document interview and investigation.
  • Identify and Inform crime victims of their rights.
    • Assist the victim advocates in coordinating victim requests for offender information; victim issues such as recovery from injury, financial losses, or victim mediation; preparation of victim impact statements and reports; communicate offender progress and victim assistance to various local, state, and federal officials, and to treatment staff.

Prepare The Presentence Report and

Recommend administrative, legal, and/or sentencing action.

  • Present evidence to prosecutors, legal staff, or courts.
  • Prepare and present testimony as required for legal proceedings or administrative hearings.
  • Report offender compliance with the presentence investigation to courts.
  • Summarize information gathered during the investigation and interview into the pre-sentence format.

Make sentencing recommendations

  • based on sentencing guidelines and a thorough analysis of:
  • Ensure the report is distributed according to Applicable Code standards.
  • Monitor programs for compliance with state and federal laws compliance.
  • Gather, compile, and maintain statistics for required and requested reports.
  • Investigate and confirm the information on offender release plans or interstate compact investigations.
  • Maintain working knowledge of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR) programs and community-based programs that are available for offenders.

Note: The duties of probation officers listed above are not intended to be all-inclusive.

YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW DETERMINES PROBATION, PRISON, BOTH, OR FREEDOM

 …WILL YOU BE PREPARED?

Humanize You To Your Judge Through: 1)Your Personal (Story) Narrative, 2)Prepping You For Your Presentence Interview, and 3)Prison Expectations – What Happens Day One (The Dos and Don’ts Inside)

Preparing defendants for their Presentence Interview (PSI) and first day in prison helps alleviate the fears that you and your family naturally experience. This informative PowerPoint presentation comprehensively covers various aspects, starting from how to prepare for your Presentence Interview to what to do after entering the prison.

For instance, counsel should verify if the court’s (or your) intake paperwork, such as The PSR and J&C, has been received before the defendant (you) arrives. Not doing so may result in solitary confinement or isolation, as it did in my case. This video is a good introduction, and I am here to help in any way possible.

 


OPTION 1,

 


Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein

We are not Attorneys; you need Legal Representation.


 

OPTION 2,

Presentence Interview Preparation  ⇒ The Most Important Meeting of Your Life.

Nothing Is Guaranteed, But Being Unprepared Is Unacceptable


In Video 19.1. To increase your chances of a favorable outcome, it is recommended that you provide your Officer with all the requested documents, including your Biographical Background (such as medical records), Personal Identification, and a well-written Personal Narrative and Release Plan. You may also consider providing these in both written and video formats, as this can make it easier for the judge to understand who you are as an individual.

Before submitting your materials to your Probation Officer, please ensure they are proofread, organized, and submitted 1-2 weeks before your interview. Your Probation Officer can copy and paste your written version into your Presentence Report while attaching the original document to the report physically. I hope this advice is helpful to you.

Please download our sample BOP (Bureau of Prisons) packet to show you what a strong placement request packet contains. We include the programs specifically designed to support a successful placement and rehabilitation, keeping in mind that even the BOP Medical Centers also appear affected due to physician staffing shortages. By providing this information to the court, you can demonstrate a clear plan for your client’s rehabilitation and increase the likelihood of a favorable placement outcome. 👉 FPC Alderson.


5 STEPS OF PREPARATION

 

STEP 1

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
PROBATION REPORT, THE PROCESS

BIOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND / PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION

The Critical Role of the Presentence Report is an article that I co-published. In this video, I read the article Published in The Federal Lawyer regarding Medical Care in Federal Prison, including my commentaries throughout the article. If you have a medical issue, I recommend listening; it is informative and detail-oriented.

Prisoners have the right to receive adequate medical care per their constitutional rights. However, lawyers representing criminal defendants often do not understand what this entails and how to get treatment for their clients. This article aims to address this knowledge gap by providing insights into the medical, mental health, and substance abuse programs and policies offered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Additionally, the article highlights the educational, vocational, and other relevant programs that are available to rehabilitate inmates and prepare them for their re-entry into society.

Equally important, the article explains the Critical Role of the Presentence Report (PSR) in determining whether and how needed treatment and programs will be available to a defendant. Documentation is paramount, and the diligent attorney must proactively gather and supply the appropriate documentation to the probation officer preparing their client’s PSR.


 

How well you are prepared for your Presentence Interview will affect your sentence and eligibility for specific BOP FIRST STEP ACT Programs. The Probation Report covers.

  1. Mental/Emotional Health and Physical Health
  2. Substance Abuse
  3. Education, Vocational and Other Skills and Military Career
  4. Employment
  5. Acceptance of Responsibility
  6. Criminal History

For each client, we create an individual client profile or history.

If you become aware that you are the target of an FBI inquiry, it is of utmost importance to engage the services of a legal professional. Begin by evaluating potential lawyers and posing pertinent inquiries until you feel at ease.

  • Your legal team needs to be empathetic and listen to and discuss any thoughts you may have, as well as you being forthright with them about the events of the crime, is vital.
  • Even though I thought I was truthful, in hindsight, I realized that I was still in denial and not the optimal client until years later.
  • You want to prepare your NARRATIVE and RELEASE Plan and begin asking for letters attesting to your Character. Your attorneys’ support goes a long way in building this team effort as you prepare for your Interview.

STEP
2

DECISION TIME: TRIAL OR PLEA

When dealing with court cases, the federal government boasts a remarkable conviction rate of 98%. Nonetheless, if you and your legal team are convinced that going to trial is worth it and you have faith in the strength of your case (remembering that merely feeling correct might not suffice), then you may want to pursue this option.

As you are looking to hire an attorney for a federal case, it’s essential to ask your legal team about their track record in taking similar cases to trial and winning. This information will give you an idea of their expertise and the likelihood of success in your case. It’s also essential to ask these questions before engaging your attorney, as it will help you decide whether to hire them as you listen to advice you do not want to hear -but it is honestly delivered.

Similarly, if you are considering an appeal, it’s crucial to know if your legal team has experience with appeals and how many they have won. This information will help determine if they have the necessary skills to handle your case effectively.

In summary, before hiring an attorney or considering an appeal,  ask your legal team about their track record in handling and winning similar cases. This information will help you make an informed decision and increase your chances of success.

  • If you lose, the prosecutor may ask for a harsher sentence, but you can still take measures to mitigate your sentence through your NARRATIVE.

STEP 3

YOU HAVE BEEN FOUND GUILTY

  • It doesn’t matter how long the sentence is because you can shorten it through your efforts and work; just don’t get disciplined.

2023, USSC 2 Level Reduction – An Overview. If you are eligible, this could instantly reduce your sentence.

RDAP: (Up to 1 Year off Sentence)

  • Eligibility should be included in your presentence interview if you are eligible.

Good Time Credit (GTC): 54 Days Per Year Off Sentence 

  • What is this? How do you get it? How do you lose it?

First Step Act (FSA): For some, after 2 years of Programs, it provides 1 Year Off Sentence.

  • Earned Time Credits (ETC) What is this? Is this guaranteed?

Second Chance Act: May provide more time in RRC or Home Confinement.

  • How does this work, and again, what is this?

Medical Care,

  • For a person facing custody, I have been stressing for years – that preparing your comprehensive medical history long before the Presentence Interview is critical to providing the court and BOP with your medical background as a baseline to refer to.
    • When it comes to providing medical care to individuals with unique medical conditions while in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), it is crucial to have a comprehensive medical history that includes all medical records, including reports of surgeries (including pathology reports), diagnostic X-rays, CT, MRI, ultrasounds, EEGs, EKGs, and PET scans (Reports on CD or Flash Drives). All recent blood tests, prescriptions (Drugs and Medical Devices), hospital records, and treatment plans from their treating physician.
      • To ensure that the patient/inmate receives the appropriate care, it is essential to gather all relevant documentation and contact information for physicians, including their name, phone number, email, and address.
      • It is advisable to prepare thoroughly for The Presentence Interview, especially if there are concerns about medical care from the patient, their attorney, or treating physician. Doing so makes it possible to plan strategically and ensure the patient-inmate receives the necessary care during their time in the BOP. Still remember, no guarantees once incarcerated, which is why attention to detail at the start is in your long-term interest.
    • Why is this detail important?
  • Fatigue after COVID, as a POST-COVID LONG-HAULER. Although CARES is finished, for those with a confirmed diagnosis, their symptoms will keep them from participating in Programming plus some Activities of Daily Living (ADL), putting them in the position of potentially getting multiple Infractions due to the on-again, off-again of their symptomatic rollercoaster.
  • Patient Care.
    Clinical care of inmates at Bureau institutions is under the direction of the local prison Clinical Director, who provides direct patient care and supervises other healthcare providers. P6031.04 6/3/2014, Page #5
  • The Clinical Director (CD) is not obligated to follow consultant recommendations. If the recommendations are not followed, the CD will document his/her justification in the inmate health record. P6031.04 6/3/2014, Page #8
    • All encounters by consultant providers will be documented on the SF-513. Contract consultants who evaluate inmates within the institution will not document on the Progress Notes(?).
    • All consultation reports will be reviewed, co-signed, and dated by the Clinical Director or staff physician. P6031.04 6/3/2014, Page 20
  • EMERGENCY/URGENT CARE
    • Each institution will have an Institution Supplement for 24-hour medical, dental, and mental health care. P6031.04 6/3/2014, Page #9
    • While the Mid-level Practitioner (MLP) acts as the PCPT’s primary care provider, physicians (MD, DO) are also responsible for providing direct patient care. Physicians will medically manage inmates with complex conditions on an ongoing basis, notwithstanding the assignment of that inmate to an MLP.  P6031.04 6/3/2014, Page #15

STEP 4

YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW 

The Probation Officer representing the court will conduct your interview and draft the Official Presentence Report. This report will influence your Judge at sentencing, the prison you go to, your security level, and how long your stay will be. It will determine the medical care you receive and your ability to participate in First Step Act Earned Time Credits toward early release.

Known as ‘The Inmates Bible,’ it is the Gift that keeps on Giving. This was my 2nd video and covers the Presentence Report. It is critical as it will determine where you sleep, what you eat, the classes you take, and how easily or difficult your time will be.

You have provided all of your background and personal information, answered the questions that all judges want to hear and learn about you through your written NARRATIVE and Release Plan, and provided everything in an organized format to your Probation Officer 1-2 weeks before your interview (The PSI).

  • Now, at your interview, you and the officer have the time to have a casual conversation (with your attorney present), answering any questions they may have.
  • In the end, your P.O. may come away from your meeting feeling that you are quite different than the person described in your Indictment as you came to the interview prepared, more than any other defendant they have interviewed recently. This, in turn, could result in a favorable recommendation to the Judge and a favorable Presentence Report.
  • But keep in mind at all times, there are No Guarantees as people are just people, and there are those who have good days and others who don’t. 
  • With that thought in mind, doing this work will ultimately benefit you in the long run.

STEP 5

SENTENCING

The Day of Sentencing and Your Allocution

The Allocution is the first time you and the Judge meet – a critical moment for you. This allows the Judge to converse with you, most likely because of your Narrative. Make this a sincere 1st impression.


Judges would rather hear from you during the sentencing hearing unless your attorney has new information not contained in your sentencing memorandum and other submissions.” By Now, You’ve taken your 1st step towards Shortening Your Time In Prison.


MAKING THE PLACEMENT REQUEST. 

  1. Supports your reasons regarding “Why” the request is being made,
  2. Provides examples from the BOPs’ own Guidelines and Programs Statements.
  3. It is done with a personalized court-ready BOP placement packet, PPRS Prison Match™ (Our BOP Packet For Presentation To The Court That Includes The Programs In Your Placement Request, for Example FPC Alderson).

PLACEMENT FACTORS
Security Level Requirements
Medical and Mental Healthcare Needs
Psychology Programs – Limited Availability
FSA Programming, and Criminogenic Needs, Risk Assessment

 

OTHER FACTORS
• FSA Pattern Risk Score: MALE, FEMALE
CARE LEVEL I-IV
Public Safety Factors
Management Variable
Accepting Responsibility
Mental Health Questioner
Expressing Remorse For Your Actions
• Remorse For The Pain You Have Caused To Your Victims
Do You Know Where You Fall In The USSC Sentencing Guidelines – Table,
* Tax Fraud
* Financial Crimes
* Drug Crimes, / Sentence Enhancements


Care has been taken to pick an appropriate prison facility based on USSC and BOP Policies and Guidelines.

*There is no implied or otherwise guarantee of final prison placement, medical or medication availability, or program enrollment once you’re incarcerated. The BOP has the final say on ‘All Inmate Issues,’ placement, and program enrollment once incarcerated.

In addition to the defense teams’ insight into their background and defense strategy, PPRS Prison Match™  is meant to be used solely as a ‘mitigation aide’ in the sentencing and prison placement decision-making process.

These are recommendations only from PPRS/PPRSUS, and the final responsibility lies with the legal team, court, and BOP.



If You Suspect You’re The Target of a Federal Investigation | Wherever You Are In The Process – There Are Still Things We Can Do

Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein

We are not Attorneys; you need Legal Representation.


WITH THE FSA👉EARLY RELEASE IS POSSIBLE. ⚖️

“STAKEHOLDERS”⚖️ NEED TO SEE REDUCTIONS IN CRIMINOGENIC TENDENCIES; ✍ WE SHOW YOU HOW

Dr. M. Blatstein

Dr. M. Blatstein

FEDERAL SENTENCE MITIGATION: PERSONAL NARRATIVE | PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW PREP. | ALLOCUTION | REENTRY PLANNING | RDAP | HEALTHCARE | MEDICATION AVAILABILITY | BOP PLACEMENT – I answer 👇 and personally return 📳 My calls.

PREPARATION. IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPT I WISH TO SHARE WITH THOSE FACING FEDERAL PRISON

Facing prison becomes real as your client finds themselves remanded or self-surrender. Being prepared for the possibility that they could be placed in an Isolation Cell on their first day is a preventable surprise that can be anticipated with a “heads-up” explanation before their arrival.

With Comprehensive Preparation for the Presentence Interview, defendants find themselves prepared for most eventualities. As part of their preparation, several days before their surrender date, they could have sent themselves books to read. Yes, these paperback books may start coming from Amazon (or home), and will remove some of the initial stress and boredom should they find themselves, right after surrendering, facing 23 hours per day in an isolation cell. This also sets up their habit of reading by showing their Case Manager that they are working to reduce their Improve Themselves, which positively impacts their Reentry Plan in the long run.


STAKEHOLDERS.

These are the persons responsible for incrementally reducing a person’s ‘Criminogenic Needs’ over time. This starts with the Judge, followed by Case Managers and Unit Teams (in prison), who determine everything a person does, from their job requirement to where one sleeps. Further, they are responsible for recommending programs as a result of their assessment survey, available through The First Step Act (FSA).

  • FSA BENEFIT. This offers up to 365 days off a sentence, with the remaining Earned Time Credits (ETC) going to extra time in a Halfway House or possibly Home Confinement, which is still under BOP control.
  • Other benefits include Good Time Credit, Second Chance Act (28 C.F.R. § 570.21(a)), Compassionate Release, and Cares (for a limited time).

THE PRESENTENCE REPORT (PSR).

All the while, the Presentence Report proves its reputation as ‘The Inmates Bible.’ This is because the first STAKEHOLDER your client will meet may be their Case Manager, who will have already read it in order to learn a little about the person they will soon meet.

If comprehensive, the Probation Officer who previously Interviewed your client will have weaved into Their Probation Report the NARRATIVEREENTRY/ RELEASE PLAN, along with ANSWERS to the SPARC-13 ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS.

No Narrative in the Defendant’s Presentence Report?

  • Then, all the STAKEHOLDERS will know about your client – will be what’s written in the DOJ INDICTMENT. I think we can all agree that this is not the most flattering way to make a great first impression on the Judge. Then, once incarcerated, the Case Manager, the Unit Team, and the Warden control when your client will be returned to freedom; now may be biased – just not in your client’s favor.

After your arrival and you’re all settled in, you’re now tasked with locating the computers, but not for emailing your loved ones. Rather, you need to take and complete your Risk Assessment Survey. This is because the First Step Act Programs you take will only count for Earned Time Credit (ETC) if 1) they have been recommended by BOP staff and 2) after you have completed your SPARC-13 Assessment Survey.

  • To be prepared to take the Survey and speak with the Case Manager, you can also mail yourself a copy of the FSA Program Statement 5410.01_cn2  to review before meeting with your Case Manager several days before your arrival.

INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT – REDUCING CRIMINOGENIC NEEDS.

PATTERN. Your Pattern Risk Assessment Score is another assessment score and is hardcoded. Approximately 50% still applies at your 1st assessment, which occurs within 30 days after arriving. See where you fit.

As your attorney and Probation Officer will know this by the time of the Presentence Interview, it’s good for the defendant to become familiar with the categories and address the issues that need addressing.


I. WORK – THE FSA IS MORE THAN JUST GOING TO CLASSES 

The only way I know of proving that you’ve,

  1. ...taken the classes,
  2. …demonstrated Incremental Improvements that your Case Managers need to see – (which I have learned from others),
  3. …is by daily writing (or documenting) everything constructive you do while in custody, which is by keeping a daily log or journal.
  4. WHY KEEP A DAILY LOG?

Consider this Insurance; similar to purchasing LifeHealth, or Auto: You hope you don’t need it – Until you do.

  • Next is Building this “New” Habit, practice – practice – practice. Then, repeating this skill daily until it becomes second nature. A great book on this: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

Why? What do you do if the BOP has No Record that you took that class – on that date – and you find this out 6 Months Later, what do, or can you do?

  • READ THIS, Great documentation-proof, ‘possibly,’ could have provided a more favorable outcome – Don’t Let This Be You: Legal Case: this person was denied their ETC (apparently without clear documented proof of ETC to support his position of 365, among other issues).

Ia. FIRST STEP ACT PROGRAMMING. Keep a running journal of everything Constructive that you are doing each day. This log will include the day, date, time, and your constructive activity – what you did and learned. Whether taking an FSA Class, reading a book that you could learn from, or other time well-spent activity, keep a record of what you learned and who taught that class (if this was FSA, include positive comments about the teacher). Then, at the end of the class, a brief note on lessons learned, how you will use them in daily life, and a brief thank you to your Case Manager for recommending that special program. This all goes towards building your Reentry/Release Plan.

 

If Your Case Manager, Counselor, and Warden, in their tenure, see hundreds to thousands of Adults In Custody (AIC, Director Peters’s new term) pass through their facility, how can you stand out in a good way? We all start off as a number – until we show them otherwise. If you’re looking to take advantage of the FSA and all it has to offer, no promises, but your efforts may result in an earlier release date.

Ib. NON-FICTION BOOKS – Remember What You Want, ‘TO GET HOME’ – start building this new habit. For as long as you will be in prison, pre-schedule books to be sent from Amazon (spread out among family and friends – on a schedule so that the responsibility and costs are spread out) to arrive every 2-3 weeks. Read daily and note the day, date, time, and specific “takeaways” that you have learned from each book by chapter, and watch your Release Plan continue to grow.

  • You still want OUT of The BOP – Right? Give credit to your Case Manager for what you have learned in your ‘Release Plan’. Now, they, too, look great in the eyes of their supervisors.

The books can be on any topic, you have the time, and possibly this could develop into a new career. Biographies of famous people, ArtArt HistorySciencePaintingLife SkillsHistoryFamous Women in HistoryGeologyreally anything you are interested in. If you’re unsure, go to my website. the books are at the bottom of this page, or get ideas from The New York Times, Forbs, Inc., – but buy from Amazon as the BOP guards are familiar with Amazon (and paperbacks are cheaper).

  • This is just an idea, a starting point – you may have an interest in Painting or Drawing, whatever it is, take this time and explore it; please don’t waste it on just TV. This is Temporary, and Eventually, you will be Released.
  • This is advice that I have learned from others who have developed a broader perspective. My wish for you continues to be PREPARATION.

Ic) You’re Educated With a Degree and Experience, Great – Create a Course

  • Plan a curriculum on a topic that you feel would be interesting.
  • Organize it for classes to meet 2-3 times per week for several months,
  • Then, run the idea by your case manager; maybe it could help those with their GED; who knows?
  • Once all parties agree, your case manager is happy, and your Reentry Plan grows – GREAT!
  • Let your Case Manager and Unit Team take the credit!
  • It’s just one more thing Working For You.

Id. Log every conversation you have with each BOP staff member by name, date, time, and topic; it’s for “just in case.” It can be an innocent conversation, but you will never know – until the day you need it, but if you forgot the day, date, and exact conversation – you’re out of luck.

Ie. Second Chance Pell Education Grant. Do you have your GED? Yes, Great! Do you have a College Education? The Department of Education intends to fully implement the legislative changes to allow eligible students’ college-in-prison programs to access Federal Pell Grants, beginning July 1, 2023. The Biden-Harris Administration has the following list of participating Colleges and Universities. Please check for Grant eligibility first.

II. THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM (FRP). Should you have a court-ordered financial penalty to participate in the First Step Act, you must offer to participate in the Program; otherwise, you could be denied participation in FSA programs and/or early release benefits. If the Judge ordered that you could delay payments (Yes, still offer something to your Case Manager. It will help you in the long run.). If the Judge ordered, for example, $25 per quarter, to offer something more to your Case Manager will elicit a similar response.

Recommendations:

  1. Do not keep $1000s in your Commissary Account. Why? Because the DOJ one day would like nothing better than confiscating 75% of your commissary money.
  2. Offer reasonable payment options. If your commissary account takes in > $1000s per Month, offer to contribute $200 per Month to your FRP; if your account takes in $200-500 per Month, offer to contribute $25-75 per Month (or quarter, depending on your ability to pay), to your FRP.
  3. Refusing is not an option – unless you wish to serve your full sentence and possibly risk the DOJ getting their wish of confiscating 75% of everything in your commissary account.

RELEASE PLAN, INTERVIEW.

  • No Reentry/Release Plan 👉 Why should a Case Manager recommend you for the Second Chance Act? If you don’t appear to care about your future – which is how they will view it, why should your STAKEHOLDERS spend their extra time on you?
  • No Reentry/Release Plan 👉 Why should a Case Manager recommend you to a Residential Reentry Manager (RRM)?
  • No Reentry/Release Plan 👉 Why, should a Residential Reentry Manager (RRM) take a chance and offer you one of their beds when there is someone else applying with a Great Release Plan? If someone has taken the time to 1)write a Release/Reentry Plan that has reviewed their progress during their time in prison, 2)explain why they need and how they will use the time while filling one of the limited Halfway House beds, or while on Home Confinement, who would you choose?
  • Case Manager recommendations are important to Residential Reentry Managers (RRM), as they need to know that they’re bringing in a qualified person who can continue their reentry successfully back into the community.

REENTRY/RELEASE PLAN. Starting it before your Presentence Interview isn’t easy, so explain that you researched content for your Release Plan Online at the MN Dept. of Corrections and ‘The National Institute of Corrections Manual’, and then use their template to start your Reentry Plan Into The Community. Print it, and mail it to yourself so you have a baseline.

  • NEXT INTROSPECTION: Review your investigation, criminal charge, plea hearing, trial or guilty plea, presentence investigation, and sentencing process. You can start just by writing, “I’ve had a lot of time to think, and I didn’t realize how bad my decisions were and how much pain they inflicted on the victims I created as a result of my actions…” I your words…
  • With preparation and more entries, you will see that a better outcome will emerge as you continue developing your reentry/release plan. We can’t change the past — but you can impact your future.
  • It’s early in the process, so that you won’t have all the answers now, but you could add that you reviewed the Risk Assessment Programs available through the First Step Act, and you recognize that there is much for you to learn – because you have much to prove this to your victims, community, family, and yourself.

This article also appeared on LinkedIn


YOUR JUDGE ⚖️WILL ASK FOR YOUR PLAN TO NOT RETURN TO THEIR COURTROOM → 🕊️WHAT’S YOUR ANSWER?

Home Confinement Info Sheet

WHY A RELEASE PLAN?

“ARE YOU READY TO ANSWER YOUR JUDGES QUESTION?”
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’LL SAY?

Release Planning should begin before your Presentence Interview if, for no other reason than at your Sentencing Hearing, your judge will ask you or want to know your plan to not return to their courtroom. In this video, I review why Release Planning should begin before your Presentence Interview if, for no other reason than at your Sentencing Hearing, your judge will ask you or want to know your plan to not return to their courtroom.

The Release Plan, Divided into ‘6’ Parts

Part I) Before your Presentence Interview (and is provided along with your Narrative to be woven into your Presentence Report), 


Part II) Before your Sentence Hearing (building and after giving more thought to your 1st Release Plan),


Part III) Once inside, here is where it grows – mostly by documenting your Personal Developmental Growth, which includes the FSA Programs and everything Constructive that you have been working on in areas of interest to you, including mentoring others or teaching classes.


Part IV) Before Release details what you will be doing once released. This can be started by following example forms developed by Rikers Island, the MN Dept. of Corrections – ‘The National Institute of Corrections Manual, or the Release Plan Prep Guide. All of this will, or should (as nothing is Guaranteed), make you appear a better candidate for a Halfway House. These beds are limited, and Residential Reentry Managers want to fill these beds with people who will reenter society successfully. Is this You? This video doesn’t cover everything, but I hope it provides some constructive insight.


Part V) After Release / Post-Incarceration Services

YOU ARE STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE BOP 

  • For many in BOP custody until he/she completes his prison term (for sentences greater than six months).
  • You’re in a Residential Re-entry Center (halfway house) or working with the BOP’s Community Corrections Management.
  • If you’re eligible to be transferred to home confinement (the last six months or 10% of the sentence, whichever is less), your client will transition from the RRC or CSC with another set of rules and requirements.
  • Even after leaving BOP custody, he/she will start his supervised release period, which is often for three years.
  • Each of these is a different branch of the Justice Department, 
  • You Do Not Want To Get Disciplined or have any Infractions that Could Return You To Prison

Part VI) Supervised Release/Parole/Halfway House –

  • You think You’re Out/Done,
  • But You’re Still Under “Federal” Control,
  • This could be the Hard Part – No Mistakes – Don’t assume,
  • For Questions, Ask your Probation Officer or Residential Reentry Manager First and Often. Not hearing back is Not an OK To do what you want to do.
  • Some are harder to deal with if your charge is a State Charge – But Make This Temporary.
  • Supervised Release – Probation

Probation or Supervised Release is No Joke. Follow the rules, and all will be ok.  Probation Officers have huge caseloads; unfortunately, they are overworked and expect the worst. Be the exact opposite, and good things will happen.


Now, with a New Director of The BOP (Dir. Peters, there is reason for hope and optimism), The First Step Act, the Second Chance Act, and the Work You Do In Investing In Yourself Can Earn Your Way To Freedom. For more on your Mitigation steps, call me.


This is a document that will grow over time and will influence your STAKEHOLDERS.

WHO ARE ‘YOUR’ STAKEHOLDERS

Your Attorney • The Probation Officer Conducting Your PSI• The Prosecutor • Your Judge • BOP 1st) Designation Staff, 2nd) Your Case Manager, and 3rd) Unit Team • Residential Reentry Manager (RRM) • Probation Officer, • and Others You Have Yet To Meet

Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein


 

When writing your Narrative, Allocution, or Reentry Plan, read it through the Lens of YOUR STAKEHOLDERS: WHAT DO THEY WANT TO HEAR? Through their eyes, there are victims, and there was a crime, but without your narrative, all they have is the DOJ indictment of you – so you may appear like America’s “Most Wanted.”  Only you can change this.

It’s best started before your Presentence Interview and will continue to develop as you add to it during your stay in the BOP.


 

Writing Your Release Plan, Now Before Your Presentence Interview 

Attempting to write your Release Plan, you don’t need to have all the answers today! Start will the small parts (bites) that I have provided below. Like the rest of your plan, it will develop over time; I know because mine did. Remember: One bite at a time.

But, if you have a letter from someone willing to hire you when you are released based on your skills and character – that is a GREAT letter to include in your plan, your Presentence Report, and with your attorney’s Sentencing Memorandum at your Sentencing Hearing.


 

Your Reentry Plan addresses your STAKEHOLDERS

You must be Your Own Best Advocate – 

Your Judge: STAKEHOLDER. If your Narrative (with your Reentry Plan) is included in your Presentence Report, you now have your Judges attention because he/she, among other things, wants to know your plan to not re-offend.

  • What are you going to do?
  • In addition to expressing remorse for the victim(s), understanding their pain, suffering, and how it has impacted them, 
  • You have reviewed what your life brought you to this moment that caused you to do this – with no excuses. 
  • You have reviewed the FSA Risk Assessment Program Questions, which had you reflect on what you’ve done and read about the many available programs to learn from.

Your Unit Team, Case Managers, and Counselors are your STAKEHOLDERS. For all of your meetings, just like with your FSA Programs and Books that you are reading, document their name, date, time of day, and conversation topic to recall later. Consider it insurance.

  • Review the FSA Risk Assessment Program Questions (SPARC-13) and
    • Weave your answers into your plan before your Presentence Interview.
    • What you hope to learn from the programs and how you need to implement their lessons into your daily life, work, or family life –
    • Include something Positive about the teacher.
    • Praise the Case Manager who recommended you take these programs.
    • For both of these, your Case Manager may ask your opinion,

Your Case Manager, Counselor, and Warden, in their tenure, see’s hundreds to thousands of Adults In Custody (AIC, Director Peters’s new term) pass through their facility. How can you stand out in a good way? We all start off as a number – until we show them otherwise. If you’re looking to take advantage of the FSA and all it has to offer, no promises, but your efforts may result in an earlier release date.

If release plans are not required, then why do them – To reduce Your Time Incarcerated?

  • Without a Plan, why should your Case Manager and the BOP give you a reference to a Halfway House Residential Reentry Manager (RRM)
  • There are not enough halfway house beds in the country to house everyone who wants to use them.
    • Halfway House Residential Reentry Manager (RRM) wants to fill those beds with people who will use them to reenter their communities successfully.
  • Case Managers will Recommend you, which the Warden signs off, and your file then,
    • goes to the Residential Reentry Manager to determine who is best suited for their limited bed space, who needs that time, and who will succeed.
  • Residential Reentry Managers decide who can use the limited number of beds by evaluating your BOP file, including your PSR, Narrative, and release plan.
    • They’re also being judged, so they want to show success. Inmates writing release plans are a way that halfway house managers can make that judgment.

Start your plan before your PSIIt Can Include Parts of Your Narrative,

  • Once inside, give the credit for your plan to your Case Managers and their recommendations as they offered FSA Programs to you.
  • Offer that you researched for your Release Plan: National Institute of Corrections website.
    • This template covers Personal Identification, Housing, Transportation, Personal Needs, Employment, Recreation/Leisure Time, Chemical Dependency Treatment/Aftercare, and your Support System.
  • Write as you review your investigation, criminal charge, plea hearing, trial or guilty plea, presentence investigation, and sentencing process. You will see that preparation fulfilled as you develop a reentry/release plan to achieve a better outcome. 
  • QUOTING something like…: “Since my indictment and arrest, I had the time to think about everything I have done. Previously, I didn’t recognize how BAD my decisions were, But I realize it’s Not About Me. It’s about My Victims, What I did, and What I have to do – to make it right.
  • Referencing your PATTERN Score, address applicable points for either Men or Women.
  • If you learn you have a Detainer (hopefully before your Presentence Interview)
    • Last week, the BOP quietly issued a change notice to its Program Statement on applying for FSA credits.
      • Before sentencing (or as soon as possible), your attorney learns that there is a Detainer; when filing this form, with no response after 180 days, it goes away.

1) Followed With copies of your Social Security Card, Driver’s License (expired?), and Birth Certificate. Know where your originals are kept so you can get them, and where are they now if they were taken from you at your arrest?

2) Be Honest with how you fill out BOP forms and talk in prison. If you lie and it gets found out by your STAKEHOLDERS (Judge), you may have more significant problems. Don’t say you have a substance abuse problem – if you don’t. This can be held against you by the Judge or other STAKEHOLDERS.

  • Some of those you meet will be biased against you (try not to let it bother you, be polite)
  • Writing is good, But Showing That You Have Learned You’ve Done Is Wrong Is Where You Want To Be.
    • (The Anger Management Course)
    • DOCUMENTATION OF EVERYTHING YOU DO,
      • CLASSES YOU TAKE, BOOKS YOU READ, AND FSA PROGRAMS YOU HAVE ATTENDED;
      • Because even if your case managers forget to document your progress, at least your records are complete and
      • You CAN NOW VERIFY, AS IT IS IN ‘YOUR’ COMPLETE FILE

3) Who will be your Support Structure?

  • This includes those who care for you to ensure you don’t return to the judge’s courtroom. This can be family, friends, or others and can include a potential employer willing to rehire you following your release, all who have provided letters attesting to your character, and who are aware of your past criminal behavior.

4) Employment Opportunities?

  • Will you still be allowed to run your own business? Was your business part of your criminal arrest? If Yes – then-No.
  • It is possible, though, to work For Yourself With a great release plan – Yes,
    • Probation May let you work for yourself and travel.
      • Were you working for yourself before your arrest? Yes,
      • If working for yourself – was this job part of your criminal activity? If No, OK
      • What will you do–keep it separate from your criminal conviction?
    • Who’s the owner?
    • Does it need to be registered with the state, licensed, etc?
    • Be Organized: “While incarcerated, I want to plan to own my own business, and these are the steps I will need to take.”
    • Will you need employment? No, I’m retired but volunteer or care for A Relative.
    • How realistic are your employment opportunities? You’re a physician – at best, you’ll need to reapply to your board, get your CMEs, etc. DEA and Provider Numbers, Medicare and Medicaid, OPM, and HHS.

5) At this point, your Reentry Plan is much shorter than it will be at the end of your sentence.

6) The plan will changeKeep your Case Managers Updated on your REENTRY Plan

  • This is why I need either 1 year in a Halfway House (or Home Confinement) – here’s what I need to do as I prepare to get back on my feet.

7) After sentencing, especially if the Judge gives you a downward Departure, start thinking about your Reentry plan, add what you wish you had done differently, and add what the judge said at sentencing before you forget.

 

 

BY THE NUMBERS

  • If you have over 12 months of ETC, they could be applied to Halfway House or Home Confinement.
    • If You Have the Appropriate Resources and Reentry Plan
  • ETC in Halfway House: for example, if you have 11 months, the BOP may apply that to early release.
  • If you have 14 months ETC:
    • 2 Months in Halfway House
    • The 2nd Chance Act,
      • The 5 Factor Review: 8 mo. Halfway House, 6 mo. Home
  • Released to Home vs. Halfway House.
    • The BOP now sends inmates to the Halfway House, where they are evaluated for their plan.
      • It is up to the Halfway House to determine if the person meets the Eligibility & Appropriate criteria.
      • It is up to our REENTRY Plan to show why Home Confinement is needed.

HOME CONFINEMENT INFORMATION SHEET

WHO AND WHAT ARE YOUR STAKEHOLDERS

STAKEHOLDERS

STAKEHOLDERS
It is important to understand that STAKEHOLDERS are individuals and organizations that have a vested interest in your growth, development, and reduction in criminogenic tendencies. These include the Courts, your lawyer, the DOJ (who issued your indictment), your probation officer, prosecutor, judge,  BOP staff, Residential Reentry Center/Halfway House Manager, and are responsible for you while you are on Home Confinement before you enter Supervised Release. As you approach your Sentencing Hearing, in this video, I review what and who your STAKEHOLDERS are.

 All events related to your case must be accurately presented in your Indictment. If this is not the case, providing your account of events may be necessary through a Personal NARRATIVE. Remember that these STAKEHOLDERS are scrutinizing your actions, so it is important to consider everything from their perspectives. How can you build trust and confidence with each STAKEHOLDER?


External STAKEHOLDERS

Additionally, your judge may already have a sentence in mind. It is crucial to understand that your BOP Case Manager may not completely understand your situation, as they can only rely on information from your Indictment and PSR. However, you can take charge by creating your Narrative and Reentry Plan. Taking responsibility, expressing remorse for any harm caused to victims, demonstrating dedication to rehabilitation, and highlighting unique circumstances can help you distinguish yourself from others in the criminal justice system. This, in turn, will enable you to understand their expectations better and work towards a successful reintegration into society.

Your Narrative and Reentry Plan, along with your Allocution, sparked your Judges interest to speak with you and possibly reconsider the sentence.


Internal STAKEHOLDERS:

It’s essential to recognize that the criminal justice system comprises Internal STAKEHOLDERS. Your BOP Case Manager has restricted knowledge about you and can only collect information from your Indictment and PSR. Nonetheless, you have an opportunity to exhibit your unique circumstances and showcase your dedication to rehabilitation by creating your Narrative and Reentry Plan. This will not only help you distinguish yourself from STAKEHOLDERS but also assist you in comprehending their expectations and working towards a prosperous reintegration into society.

 

If Your Case Manager, Counselor, and Warden, in their tenure, see hundreds to thousands of Adults In Custody (AIC, Director Peters’s new term) pass through their facility, how can you stand out in a good way? We all start off as a number – until we show them otherwise. If you’re looking to take advantage of the FSA and all it has to offer, no promises, but your efforts may result in a earlier release date.

  •  To achieve your desired results, it’s crucial to take into account the goals and objectives of your stakeholders. It’s important to effectively communicate your efforts to reduce criminogenic needs and growth to your case manager, even though this may be difficult as they come into contact with numerous individuals daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Although your case manager may document your progress in reducing criminogenic needs in their general file, it’s recommended that you keep your record or Reentry Plan. This will enable you to track your progress and identify areas for improvement. By adopting this approach, you will draw the attention of BOP staff and successfully reintegrate back into society and your home more quickly. However, it’s important to note that there are no guarantees.
  • Reading non-fiction books is a proven way to showcase personal growth. To develop this habit, you may consider setting up a regular delivery schedule from Amazon, receiving two books every 3-4 weeks. While reading, take note of the date, time, day, and any valuable insights or knowledge gained from the book. I listen to podcasts while driving and keep a tape recorder in the car to remember important points. I took notes on everything I studied to retain the information during my school days. You can also apply the same practice to your daily life to track your progress and accomplishments, which can motivate continued growth and success.

Before leaving The BOP, have you considered expressing gratitude to your Case Manager for all the knowledge you have gained? Doing so can leave a positive impression on stakeholders and may even help others achieve their goals. While success cannot be guaranteed, it is worth striving for in the long run. Reading books on various subjects, including biographies of famous people, art and art history, science, life skills, history, notable women in history, geology, and more, might even lead to a new career. If you enjoy painting, then go ahead and paint.

Halfway House Managers select pre-qualified inmates for successful reintegration into society based on recommendations from Case Managers who prioritize Reentry Plans and Incremental Improvement.


 

To date, all they know about you is what they have read in your INDICTMENT, which was not too flattering.

If You’re Not Satisfied With It ? ⇨ No, Let’s Rewrite Your Story – Your Narrative.

Show your STAKEHOLDERS.

You must first understand their “trigger points because they are seeing many people like you every day – how can you make yourself stand out?” Consider the following questions for each STAKEHOLDER:

  • What information do they expect to learn from me?
  • What is the best way to show them that I am different from everyone else they meet?
  • How can I best demonstrate that I am working toward changing my ways?

How To Communicate With Your STAKEHOLDERS.

  • Consider your stakeholder’s goals and objectives.
  • Show that you are working towards the desired outcomes by reducing your criminogenic needs, and be clear about them.
  • When you do this, you and your case managers will achieve mutually agreeable goals because they will get satisfaction from watching you grow and develop new habits while you prepare yourself for life after prison. Strive to create this “win-win” as you both will have something to be grateful for.

Your NARRATIVE should be included in your PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW, TO BE EMBEDDED INTO THE OFICIAL PRESENTENCE REPORT.

I) Your Narrative Is Your Story – or Autobiography,

This video covers why your Narrative is critical in your defense. Why? To date, the DOJ has published your Story or Autobiography in the form of your INDICTMENT, which was released everywhere across the net, and if you do nothing – that is what your Judge will read and assume is the gospel truth. If you don’t agree with 100% of your INDICTMENT, then you have a choice: to tell your story through Your Narrative. I hope this Video helps, and available for any questions.

Your Attorney: 1. Your attorney will learn more about your Biographical back story.

The Probation Officer: Following the interview and investigation, they will draft the official Presentence Report. Please take the time to proofread it with your attorney, in addition to practicing your Allocution.

The Prosecutor will still likely want to convict.

The Courts /Your Judge usually already has a sentence in mind. This is the 1st time the Judge gets to read your story or NARRATIVE. This could change their mind, in part depending on your conversation (Allocution), as Judges across the country agree, want to hear from the defendants because crimes do not happen in a vacuum.

This possibly opens the door for your ALLOCUTION. During the judge’s conversation with you, in addition to covering the points below, he/she may want to know, in the end,  your REENTRY PLAN or what you plan to do when you get out to not re-offend. A short but concise video.

During Your Allocution, Judges Look For,

  1. A sincere demeanor
  2. Discuss what “taking full responsibility” means to the defendant.
  3. An acknowledgment that there are victims (e.g., even when the PSR indicates “no identifiable victim,” as it does in most drug cases);
  4. A more impressive Allocution details how the defendant’s criminal conduct affected the victims.
  5. An expression of genuine remorse.
  6. A plan to use prison or probation time productively.
  7. A discussion of why the defendant wants to change his or her criminal behavior, perhaps most importantly, information that helps humanize the defendant and the defendant’s role in the crime.
  8. Tell their story, but don’t minimize the seriousness of what your client did.
  9. Judges will sometimes ask a defendant what he/she will do upon release to reduce their need to re-offend.
  10. Show his/her strengths and weaknesses.
  11. If you can show that you are on the same page with the court regarding the seriousness of the offense, the chances of accepting your other statements will increase.

II) Departure Factors (Woven into the Narrative)

E Factors:

E Factors refer to circumstances that may warrant a departure from the sentencing guidelines established by the United States Sentencing Commission. These factors include aspects of the offense or the offender’s background that the guidelines do not adequately consider. Some examples of E factors include:

  1. The defendant’s role in the offense
  2. The defendant’s criminal history
  3. The presence of substantial assistance provided by the defendant to law enforcement
  4. The defendant’s mental or physical condition
  5. The defendant’s acceptance of responsibility for the offense
  6. Any other relevant factor that justifies a departure from the guidelines

F Factors (Below Guideline Range Factors):

F Factors refer to circumstances that may justify imposing a sentence below the guideline range, even if a departure is not warranted. These factors are also considered under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and include:

  1. The nature and circumstances of the offense
  2. The history and characteristics of the defendant
  3. The sentence must reflect the offense’s seriousness, promote respect for the law, and provide just punishment.
  4. The need to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct.
  5. The need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant.
  6. The need to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment.

III) Your Narrative will influence people you have not met in the BOP.

BOP Office of Designation, Grand Prairie, TX: As part of your Presentence Report, it will impact where they place you, yet you have never met them.

BOP Staff; Warden, Unit Team, Case Manager:

For case managers and unit teams, these are employees, and they see hundreds of inmates/people (if not thousands), so how can you differentiate yourself – demonstrate that you are staying out of trouble, doing your assigned job, attending FSA Classes, and doing other constructive work. Reading Non-Fiction, teaching a course, and documenting everything you do (these are ideas I learned from others). Are you an artist? That is important as long as you have constructive interest that can lead to a career after release.

There are not many ways in prison to demonstrate – Individual Personal Development, but these are my recommendations unless you have a better idea.

IV) REENTRY PLAN gives your judge insight into your efforts to not re-offend.


Release Planning should begin before your Presentence Interview if, for no other reason than at your Sentencing Hearing, your judge is going to ask you or will want to know what your plan is to not return to their courtroom. In this video, I review why Release Planning should begin before your Presentence Interview if, for no other reason than at your Sentencing Hearing, your judge will ask you or want to know your plan to not return to their courtroom.

Going into more detail, with this as a starting point, I have divided the Release plan into ‘4’ Parts: 

a) is before your Presentence Interview (and is provided along with your Narrative to be woven into your Presentence Report), 

b) is before your Sentence Hearing (building and after giving more thought to your 1st Release Plan),

c) Once inside, here is where it grows – a lot, mostly by documenting your Personal Developmental Growth, which includes the FSA Programs and everything Constructive that you have been working on in areas of interest to you and

d) The last part details the specifics of what you will be doing once released. This can be started by following this form developed by the MN Dept. of Corrections and The National Institute of Corrections Manual.’ All of this will, or should (as nothing is Guaranteed), make you appear as a better candidate for a Halfway House. These beds are limited, and Residential Reentry Managers want to fill these beds with people who will reenter society successfully. Is this You? This video doesn’t cover everything, but I hope it provides you with some constructive insight.


1) You have already been prepared to offer to participate in the BOP Financial Responsibility Program if you have any financial penalty (i.e., Restitution).

2) You know of the FSA SPARC-13 Survey and would like to take the classes because you read about the criminogenic programs that could help you – if you were accepted.

3) Start Reading Non-Fiction Books where you have an interest, which will teach you something – possibly a second career. You can schedule yourself to receive 2 non-fiction books at a time, and then you are going to do the following for both the FSA Program Classes and the BOOK Reading,

  1. For the FSA Programs, you will document each day you take the class – what you learned – how you could use what you learned after release, and one aspect during that class where the teacher made a difference. 
    • Also, keeping your record acts as insurance in case 6 months after you take your FSA class, your case manager has no record of you being there – how do you defend yourself?
  2. For each book, you will write in the same softback journal-type notebook(from Amazon) what you felt you could incorporate into your life or a new career.
    • What do these two have in common for your case manager – Over Time? They Demonstrate Incremental Personal Development – What a Suprise and a Very Big Win.
  3. Continue journaling every contact with BOP Correction staff, Case Managers, and Unit Teams, Names, Dates, Times, and Topics, just for your records. For example, after each FSA class attended, keep your record of each class attended so that YOU HAVE YOUR Record to compare against the BOPs. Just to be safe. You want to get credit for each hour of Earned Time Credit you are entitled to. There are too many news articles where the BOP Autocalculation has Not Worked. If you have concerns, calmly take the time to ask your counselors or case manager why your Earned Time Credits are not Showing up. 
    • I am updating this June 2023. I read an article a while back about the new BOP Director Peters; TEN MONTHS IN, Colette Peters’s job HAS NOT GOTTEN EASIER. She faces many challenges as she diligently strives to right the ship/improve the system, and is being bucked along the way. After reading what Walter Pavlo wrote, my takeaway is that she is trying; the calculations will be done, even though some don’t like change. 
    • Try and stay strong; I am always available for questions, mostly 7/365.

4) RRC Manager (and BOP Staff; Unit Team, Case Manager)

When it’s time to be considered for Halfway House, your Case Manager Has Influence and is looking for,

    • INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS
    • Who’s Eligible – is this in your PSR
    • Who Has No Infractions
    • Your Reentry Plan has grown quite a bit from before your Presentence Interview.  All of this is good, even if it doesn’t work out.

The Residential Reentry Center (RRC) Manager has to consider,

  • Limited bed space
  • They’ll look for those who will succeed –  that will make them look good!
  • Depends on the BOP Case Manager’s Input regarding the inmate’s entire file.
  • The RRC Managers also want to show that they release successful persons from their RRC, successfully back into their communities and not back into The BOP.
  • After, you may transition to supervised release.

The Probation Officer. During Supervised Release and Home Confinement, will essentially get a biographical update of you before they meet you by reviewing your entire file, including your PSR and everything that has transpired since you were first incarcerated.


If You Suspect You’re The Target of a Federal Investigation | Before The Presentence Interview (PSI) | After The PSI – But Before The Sentencing Hearing | After Sentencing or You’re Already Incarcerated | There Are Still Things We Can Do

Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein

We are not Attorneys; you need Legal Representation.

FACING A FEDERAL INDICTMENT, FOLLOW THESE STEPS.

THE DOJ HAS A 98% ⚖️CONVICTION RATE 

YOU’VE BEEN INDICTED AND FACING PRISON

NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO GIVE UP

Admiral William H. McRaven, rising to become the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations commander, masterminded the successful special ops raid on Osama bin Laden in 2011. His experiences hold for any challenging situation, including those facing federal indictments and temporary imprisonment.

His Lessons to Live By, inspired by leaders from Mandela to a young girl in Pakistan, Malala, should leave you with hope. Take 15 Minutes and watch this video; it may change your Life, To – “NEVER GIVE UP.”

#10. ADMIRAL McRaven: LESSONS TO NEVER GIVE UP



Did the FBI  wake you at 6 a.m. this morning with their search warrant?

Yes, which of these below applies to you?

  • Were you involved in PPP or other Loan Frauds?
  • As a physician, was encountering the FBI unexpected?
  • Have you heard rumors that the authorities have been asking questions?
  • You’ve worked in business or government – have things suddenly changed?
  • Are you dealing with federal charges after all the years of hard work you’ve put into building your business?
  • Were issues related to legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, gambling, or other factors contributing to your charge?

‘First,’ you need Legal Representation – we are not Lawyers.


If you have heard rumors that the FBI has been asking questions or if you’ve received a Target Letter, you have run out of time and need legal representation. Listen to my video below, as this was how it started for me.

Unfortunately, worrying won’t help you or change your current events. It didn’t for me.

It’s decision time: do you go to Trial or Plea?

  • Trials are expensive and involve hours of discovery, not counting the trial itself. At hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour – understand that by the time you learn that the DOJ is knocking at your door, their Case is Mostly Complete, and their Conviction Rate is 98%, so you may want to ask your attorney; how many cases like yours they have taken to trial (or appeal) and won.
    • Unfortunately, our justice system is far from perfect, and just feeling that you are innocent (and You May BE INNOCENT) may not be enough. That said – if your case is strong – go to trial. But all is not lost, even if you lose.
    • Do not alienate to judge, because even with a guilty verdict, you can regroup, and prepare for a successful Presentence Interview.
  • A Plea will save you money in legal bills and possibly help at sentencing because the prosecutor won’t have to spend as much time preparing for a trial. Whether you elect to go to Trial or Plea, what you do next will impact your future.
  • Preparation for your Presentence Interview needs to include your Story (Autobiography or Your Personal Narrative), a Release Plan, and your Allocution. Should you feel that you may be too nervous to speak in court, (your conversation with your Judge), you can provide your Allocution in written or Video format before your PSI. You are also allowed to bring written notes into court with you. Why? Because judges have been interviewed, and they want to hear from you, the defendant, for many reasons,

1) They want to believe you’ve Accepted Responsibility for your actions.
2) They want to see that you have Remorse for the Pain you have inflicted on your Victims.
3) They understand crimes do not happen in a vacuum – what happened in your life that caused you to break the law?
4) What is your plan (Your Release Plan) not to return to their courtroom?
5) Were there other ramifications, such as losing your professional license to practice in a career you love?
6) Provided in written form is good, and accompanied by a short video is another great option that could be cheaply done on a smartphone.
7) Have you always provided community service or volunteered in your community – if so, talk about it and ask for Character letters for verification.


 

Attorneys know the law, but the nuances of navigating through Federal Prison aren’t part of a traditional legal defense. Are You Ready To Advocate For Yourself and Participate in Your Defense?

 

Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein

Sentencing mitigation requires a unique set of knowledge and skills that are of interest to both a) those facing prison and b) those who are responsible for preparing defendants to reenter society as law-abiding citizens.


PREPARATION AND KNOWLEDGE: THE 5 STEPS YOU NEED TO IMPLEMENT

1. YOUR DEFENSE
2. YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW (PSI): PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED
3. YOUR NARRATIVE AND ALLOCUTION
4. YOUR SENTENCING HEARING
5. YOUR RELEASE PLAN

1. YOUR DEFENSE 

  • Finding an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial when dealing with federal charges. The Department of Justice has a high conviction rate, so deciding on going to trial or plea should be carefully considered with your attorney. If the decision is “Trial,” ask your attorney how many cases like yours they have taken to trial – and won. Remember, the DOJ has a 98% Conviction Rate, meaning they usually don’t lose.
  • PROMISES AND GUARANTEES – DON’T LISTEN. Even if you have the Best Legal Team, and they tell you they have worked out an agreement with your Prosecutor for a Lessor Sentence Than The Guidelines, Be Grateful, and get it in writing.
    * Remember, Now Is Not The Time To Relax As Your Judge has Not Guaranteed, 100%, Reducing Your Sentence; Before Your Sentencing Hearing. Continue Your Preparation until the very end.
  • Properly preparing for your Presentence Interview is your next step and is critical for your future. Have you thought about what it entails?

2. YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW (PSI): PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED

a) YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW (PSI) – IT IS THAT IMPORTANT: Here, all your Personal Identification and Biographical Background information (proofread for accuracy) is provided to your Probation Officer. It is recommended that you include Your Personal NARRATIVE and Release Plan. WHY?

 

YOUR NARRATIVE INCLUDED IN YOUR PRESENTENCE REPORT – WILL HELP HUMANIZE YOU TO YOUR JUDGE.

    • Everything should be provided to your Probation Officer 1-2 weeks before your Interview. This will result in a less stressful interview day as the officer already knows your background and can take the time to get to know you personally. Asking any remaining questions they may have, they may come away with a more positive view of who you are.
    • The Probation Officer next drafts your OFFICIAL PRESENTENCE REPORT.

b) THE PRESENTENCE REPORT CONTROLS YOUR FUTURE – MEDICAL CARE:
(1) MEDICATION AVAILABILITY: This is important, and attention should be paid to the BOP Generic Drug List (Formulary) for availability as it is online – because this is All There Is. After surrendering, you do not want to learn your medications are different or unavailable.  Non-Formulary or Not Available medications must be addressed with your physician before your Presentence Interview, and should the need arise, these issues should be addressed and solved before your interview date.

(2) MEDICAL: This, too, is important. Why? A recent article noted: (1) 1 IN 4 INMATE DEATHS HAPPENED IN THE SAME PRISON. Being proactive includes providing a comprehensive medical history long before the Presentence Interview, and you set foot in prison. If you need another excuse to act, (2) October 10, 2022, Judge Holds Federal Bureau of Prisons in Contempt for Allowing Man To Waste Away From Untreated Cancer.

    • When providing medical care to individuals with unique medical conditions in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), it is crucial to have your comprehensive medical history prepared and documented before your Interview date, including all medical records.
    • This includes reports of surgeries (including pathology reports), diagnostic X-rays, CT, MRI, ultrasounds, EEGs, EKGs, and PET scans (Reports and tests on CD or Flash Drives). All recent blood tests, prescriptions (Drugs and Medical Devices), hospital records, and treatment plans from their treating physician.

This provides you with the ‘best chances’ of getting appropriate care; it is essential to gather all relevant contact information for your current treating physicians, including their names, phone numbers, email, and addresses. 

    • Preparing thoroughly for The Presentence Interview is advisable, especially if any concerns about medical care come from the patient, their attorney, or the treating physician. Doing this in advance makes it possible to plan strategically and ensure the patient/defendant is in the best position to receive the necessary care during their time in the BOP. This is urgently recommended in an age where staffing shortages in all areas exist, extending into medical providers in The BOP Federal Medical Centers.
    • I keep adding: No Guarantees – because there are none regarding all aspects of your life once incarcerated. Your best defense is being prepared before and for your Presentence Interview, which includes appointing someone you trust with Power of Attorney. Should you discover that the BOP is not, or cannot provide, the medical care you need, it’s time to involve the court, your attorney, and those attorneys representing the BOP, per their policy statement (#9). If there are concerns before your Interview – begin that process today.
    • Why? If you ever need a second opinion while in prison, this could take up to 36 months (or more) if this is even allowed. Second, the Clinical Director of your facility is not required to follow the Specialist’s Recommendations regarding your medical care. Having your Past Medical History included could make the difference. Again, there are no guarantees, but the last option is The Administrative Remedy Process to fall back on.

(3) SENTENCING: This is your first opportunity to meet and speak with your Judge. By this point, the Judge already knows all about you from your INDICTMENT and likely has a sentence in mind. Your only hope of changing their mind is by helping your Judge understand Who You Are – and this can be done by writing your NARRATIVE and RELEASE PLAN and including them in your Presentence Report, which is now under seal.

Including Your NARRATIVE, Personal Identification, and Biographical Background information to your Probation Officer 1-2 weeks before your Presentence Interview, will help prepare you for your ALLOCUTION.

c) MAKING YOUR BOP PLACEMENT REQUEST is a 3-step simple process. To assist you in presenting a strong placement request to the court, please download our sample BOP (Bureau of Prisons) Placement Request Packet. We include programs specifically designed to support the successful placement and rehabilitation of the defendant. By providing this information to the court, you can demonstrate a clear plan for your client’s rehabilitation and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. 👉 FPC Alderson.

d) AS A LICENSED PROVIDER, I have 30+ years of personal experience in healthcare, along with how medical care is delivered in prison due to my felony conviction in 2006 when I was incarcerated. With the support of colleagues, my medical license was reinstated in 2010, and several years later, I transitioned from patient care, taking what I have learned to provide Preparation and Knowledge to those facing the reality of federal prison.

    • I want to ease your concerns and answer all of the questions you and your loved ones have as you go through this life-altering event together. With Preparation and the Knowledge that prison is temporary, you will be best positioned, knowing what to expect when entering and the work you’ll need to do to help expedite your release. At the same time, it’s important to remember that the BOP holds the final decision-making power in this process. Therefore, neither I nor any attorney, consultant, or mitigation expert can guarantee any specific outcome.

3. YOUR NARRATIVE AND ALLOCUTION

Navigating through Federal Prison is not usually part of a traditional legal defense. This requires a unique set of knowledge and skills after a guilty verdict or plea and is of interest to your STAKEHOLDERS. Specifically, the NARRATIVE, ALLOCUTION, and RELEASE PLAN are of interest to your judge and the other STAKEHOLDERS you haven’t yet met. Are you prepared?


4. YOUR SENTENCING HEARING

In addition to your legal defense, are you prepared to meet your Judge, and if so, what are you planning to say? Have you read your attorney’s Sentencing Memorandum? Is your NARRATIVE and just a few Character Letters attached? Are you and your legal team prepared to make the 3-point BOP Placement Request?


 

5. YOUR RELEASE PLAN

Your plans to reenter your life take on serious meaning the closer you get to your release date. What was your plan, if any? Can you retire as you’re financially set for your remaining years, or do you have to co-parent or care for a family member? Do you have a plan once released, to ease yourself back into the workforce? Unfortunately, most had no plan, and that can be a humbling experience.

This is where the idea of Creating a Release Plan comes from, and though it starts small before your Presentence Interview – as it’s put to paper, it evolves. Mine looked more like a drunken sailor when I started; I was taking daily notes in Pensacola Camp, thinking about this type of work – but mostly thinking about my appeal (silly as the majority fail) and my wondering if I would ever practice again. I never considered arriving at my court date only to have my appeal denied and then be resentenced – I just assumed that the judge would say yes or no. Who Knew?

This is a longer story; my license to practice was reinstated in 2010, and for the rest, call me.


Contact me if you need recommendations for attorneys who practice Federal Criminal Defense and have experience in Federal Court. These should be attorneys with experience in cases like yours and empathy for your stress.


 

This video is for you. If you received a Target letter invitation to speak to a Grand Jury – get Legal Representation first. For a federal crime, it is best to have an attorney who practices federal criminal defense, having had cases similar to yours, and practices in federal court. It sounds obvious, except for those unfortunate few who just wing it.

Your Judge Sees a Lot of Defendants – How Are ‘You’ Different?


Your Judge Already Knows 
The DOJ wants you in Jail.
The Prosecutor wants to convict you.
Your Attorney is paid to keep you out of prison.

Judges Also Know That Crimes Aren’t Committed In A Vacuum.
This is Your Opportunity to Help Your Judge Understand Who You Are: Allocutions Are Not Meaningless

Federal Judge Mark Bennett is among many judges who agree with 👉 incorporating your Personal Narrative into your Presentence Report. This will enable the court to understand your background and the factors that led you to commit the offense – without making excuses for your actions.

It is crucial to take responsibility for your actions, express genuine regret for the harm caused to your victims, and speak humbly from the heart during your court appearance. To help your judge understand who you are, refer to the Personal Narrative in your Presentence Report. I recommend watching my video (below) for further guidance on communicating your story and showing remorse effectively.

Are You Prepared Today – To Speak To Your Judge?

Speaking from the heart could influence the courts and impact your sentence – for the BETTER. On the other hand, if you are not prepared, it may be best not to say anything. 


Do You Feel Prepared For Your Presentence  Interview? Have You Picked The Right Attorney – For You? Are You Comfortable (Nervous Is OK) To Speak With Your Judge at Sentencing?

 

Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein

We are not Attorneys; you need Legal Representation.


No one can guarantee results, as the outcome at the end of the day rests with your attorney, the Judge, and The Federal Bureau of Prisons. Once inside, as in life, some staff will genuinely care about you and their job, while others look at you as a number. The only person who can control Your Reactions and Emotions  Is You.


Don’t let this be a missed opportunity!

PPRSUS is here to help.

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/ngu.donaldtong/?ref=pexels

THE PRESENTENCE REPORT

What is The Presentence Report?

The PRESENTENCE REPORT (PSR), IS YOUR “REFERRAL” THAT CONTROLS ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE AND IMMEDIATE FUTURE – REDOS ARE VERY FEW, EXPENSIVE, AND HEAVY LIFT.

ITS ACCURACY AND COMPLETENESS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED.

YOUR NARRATIVE CONTAINS ALL THE CONTENT FOR THE PROBATION OFFICERS REPORT

IT IMPACTS YOUR

Release Date

It includes You Accepting Responsibility,

Your Remorse,

Acknowledging Your Victim’s Pain

‘Standing Out To Your Judge.’ M. Santos interviews Federal Judge Mark Bennett on the importance of writing Your Personal NARRATIVE and including it in Your Presentence Report. 

IT DETERMINES YOUR,

Security Level Requirements

Medical and Mental Healthcare Needs

Psychology Programs – Limited Availability

FSA Programming, and Criminogenic Needs, Risk Assessment


For a personal, one-on-one call with me to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one,  give me a call (240.888.7778). If I cannot answer, please leave a message, as I personally return all calls. Marc Blatstein

We are not Attorneys; you need Legal Representation.


BEING PREPARED – SUMMARIZED:

  1. PREPARED FOR YOUR FIRST MEETING WITH YOUR UNIT TEAM:
  • 1st) AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVED AND LOCATED A COMPUTER, YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN YOUR FSASPARC-13 RISK ASSESSMENT SURVEY,
  • 2nd)REQUEST TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM.
  1. YOUR PATTERN SCORE IS FIXED AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME – BUT CAN CHANGE; WHAT IS YOURS? (MALE or FEMALE)
  2. AS SOON AS YOU ‘FELT’ YOU WERE A TARGET
  • INTERVIEW AND FIND A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WHO PRACTICES IN FEDERAL COURT

AFTER YOUR GUILTY HEARING, YOUR ATTORNEY

  • Has given you a long list of documents that the court needs copies of financial, medical, Biographical, and Identification Background Information
  • Next, you begin a several-month writing project that includes;

Presentence Report, plus your Allocution and

Release/Reentry Plan, where the Judge will ask you, “What is your plan for the future – to not re-offend?),

All of this, As You Prepare For,

YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW (PSI) – INVESTIGATION REPORT

 


PREPARATION FOR THE PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW.

9:30.7 Inside Baseball: Interview With Former Federal Probation Officer Tess Lopez

For a successful and productive legal process to occur, both counsel and clients must maintain a level of accountability and mutual respect. Additionally, active listening on both sides is crucial for effective communication and understanding. As part of this process, counsel will proactively reach out to Probation as needed, and defendants will provide their attorneys with all requested Biographical Background and Personal Identification information. By adhering to these guidelines, all parties involved can work towards achieving the best possible outcome.

It is critical to take time to draft a well-thought-out NARRATIVE and RELEASE Plan, including content relevant to the PATTERN score and Risk Assessment Survey. These documents are then woven together, organized, and prepared with accuracy and comprehensiveness before being given to the probation officer 1-2 weeks before the interview, to be eventually included in their PSR Under Seal.

The interview process holds immense significance as it offers a valuable chance for the Probation Officer to establish a personal connection with the client. Given the constraint of limited time, this opportunity is greatly appreciated by both parties involved. It allows for a deeper understanding of the client’s situation and helps the Probation Officer to provide tailored guidance and support.

The Presentence Report is a crucial tool that enables the court to take into account sentences that fall outside the guideline range. It’s important to note that the government typically does not provide this information voluntarily. By utilizing the Presentence Report, the court can make informed decisions about variances in sentencing.

  1. Counsel aims to determine the “dictation date,” which is the deadline for the P.O. to complete the initial draft of the official Presentence Report (PSR).

Upon commencing their work, the counsel and client are promptly informed of the specific timeline requirements to complete their respective tasks. Any legal or personal concerns that the client may have must be addressed within the given time frame, in addition to preparing for the upcoming interview. All necessary steps must be taken to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly and efficiently.

Requesting a minimum of three months to prepare for the interview is imperative. This request should have been made during the guilty hearing, and the judge must agree before setting the sentencing date.

Counsel should contact the PO before they speak with the Prosecutor. It’s important to build a relationship and assess what the PO knows. This allows the council to explain its position because the PO was not present in court and has not formed an opinion yet.

They may still have an open mind if they have not spoken with the prosecutor.

If the PO had already spoken with the Prosecutor before they ever met/interviewed you – they may have already been influenced, just not in your favor.

Your attorney aims to make their case and position with a personal meeting.

As you work on your personal narrative, it will undergo several revisions before reaching its final form. This is your chance to tell your story authentically and sincerely, taking responsibility for your actions. As you are writing try and keep in mind what your judge and Probation Officer are looking to hear and feel from you. By keeping these points in mind, will go a long way as you begin to tell your life story. Your Personal Narrative, as an integral part of your Presentence Report and will reflect your unique perspective on the events that led to your arrest.

Begin by writing your Release Plan, then prepare an Allocution for your conversation with the judge during sentencing.

When it comes to the Sentencing Hearing, remember to speak from your heart and answer the Judge’s questions truthfully. Your honesty will shine through and be heard by the Judge.

When making a prison placement request, Counsel will provide reasons for the request, such as medical or FSA programs.

BOP Example: FPC Alderson,

Counsel will outline each factor for the PO to consider under 18 U.S. Code § 3553

Part E (assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another, section 994 of title 28)

Part F (sentence below the guideline range under 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)) 

Defendant does Not Have:

1) more than 4 criminal history points, 2) a prior 3-point offense, or 3) a prior 2-point violent offense

  • did not use violent threats
  • did not result in death or injury
  • was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor
  • defendant has truthfully provided the Government with all information and evidence

If the probation officer is open to a variation, persuading the court to impose a sentence below the guideline range could be crucial.

If your client is sentenced to prison, the Presentence Report (PSR) and Statement of Reasons (SOR) are crucial documents used by the BOP to determine their future.

During the probation officer meeting, the information presented will play a vital role in determining the client’s placement. Depending on the severity of the offense, the client may be sent to a dormitory-style camp or a maximum-security prison. This decision is especially crucial in complex cases involving multiple counts, various methods of calculating the guidelines and identifying the most appropriate guidelines to follow. Therefore, the information presented during the meeting must be accurate and comprehensive to ensure a fair and just outcome for all parties involved.

Establishing a connection with your probation officer by means of personal communication can be beneficial for your defense attorney to present their interpretation of the case, particularly in intricate cases.

To ensure the best outcome for the case, it may be beneficial for the lawyer to schedule a personal meeting with the Probation Officer (PO) if they were absent during the trial. As Probation Officers have a demanding workload, it is important to approach them with understanding and offer any assistance possible to ease their burden. By taking these extra steps, the lawyer can ensure that the PO understands the case and their position, which can positively impact the outcome.

It is advisable to promptly write a letter to the PO presenting your complete perspective on the case.

Before requesting relief from the Guidelines, having the Probation Officer and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) understand your client’s behavior and role in the offense is important. Also, ensure everything is completed and handed in before the interview and dictation date.

If you’re getting ready for a trial, it’s always wise to seek guidance from a Federal Defender on how to familiarize yourself with the judge’s preferences. You should inquire if the judge reads sentencing memos and character letters, and if yes, how long they should be. It’s also important to consider whether there are any issues like overcrowding, staff shortages, or any other factors that may impact your client’s ability to access the necessary services. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your client receives the best possible outcome.

 

Mental Illness: Was this a contributing factor, or has there been significant abuse or trauma? Either way, they should be evaluated, and if you are unsure of a local expert, ask the prosecutor for recommendations.

  • If there is a current treating therapist, it is best for all if they appear as witnesses; most judges would rather hear from a treating physician than a doctor for hire. This is not to put down experts, as they provide expert testimony that can only come from a select few.
  • If, on their own, treatment was started before the indictment, Guilty Hearing, PSI, or Sentencing, all the better. (AA, NA, GA, Psych. Counseling); this needs to be included in the PSR, Sentencing Memorandum…
  • A White Collar defendant, where after an extensive interview, the following is the result of a mental evaluation,
  • Exceptionally bright, high-functioning, and very successful individual.
  • He/She is very skilled, highly motivated, and works 18-20-hour days for money-promotions-privileges.
  • The client is an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist.
  • Suffers from depression and anxiety.
  • Having an overwhelming desire to be successful, personally and financially
  • This may cause an ordinarily law-abiding person to “cross the line” into inappropriate or illegal behavior.
  • Familiar?
  • Later diagnosed with bipolar disorder
  • Latest statistics by the U.S. Sentencing Commission
  • 6 percent of inmates received downward departures for diminished capacity (U.S.S.G. §5K2.13).
  • If half of the inmates have symptoms of mental health problems,
  • yet only 2.6 percent are receiving departures, are the judges simply insensitive?
  • Or does the problem lie at the feet of the defense counsel, who is not taking the time to investigate the client’s social and psychological history thoroughly?
  • Unfortunately, I believe it is the latter.  Tess Lopez.

 

Character Letters: only pick out a few to discuss in the memorandum, but add at the end that “there were another 50 that all said similar things, and the PO has those.”

If an employer is willing to write a character letter that says they will rehire you due to your skills and character once you are released – that is a Great letter for The NARRATIVE and Release Plan. 


The Sentencing Memorandum is best submitted approximately seven days before the sentencing hearing,

Corroborate your defense and placement request with the appropriate supporting documents, albeit a doctor’s letter/ report/ medical/treatment records, etc. Remember to document, document, document.

All of this is preferably done under seal via the Probation Office so that the information is appended to the PSR when given to the BOP.

Therefore, including it in some manner during the Presentence Interview is optimal.

In The Sentencing Memorandum, give the Judge 1 or 2 cases with the highlighted pertinent points; if there is a video or pictures, include those. 

  1. 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)(2)(D) requires a sentencing court to consider The Nature and Circumstances of the offense and The History and Characteristics of the Defendant. In the client’s NARRATIVE, most of this should be covered.

To determine which 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) factors apply, while someone with experience should:

1st) Conduct in-depth (multi-hour) interviews with the defendant, should an evaluation be needed (even in White-Collar). Now is the time, and

2nd) plus having the time (multi-hours) to speak with family members, close friends, and business associates or trusted employees to understand the person better.

As most Officers do not have ‘any’ time, at times, this is left to counsel to do themselves. This provides the opportunity to discuss hiring someone to do this part of the background work, or it may just not get done.

Evaluation of the care needed for a client’s medical condition – may support a cost-related (home confinement) argument.

This is most apparent in defendants diagnosed with a terminal illness or a diagnosis that falls outside the scope of what the BOP can provide (Long-Haulersor Post-COVID).

The cost of incarceration should also be factored into whether a sentence is “greater than necessary.”

Last are those, where appropriate, emphasizing to the court what the client would be doing if not incarcerated (i.e., working, supporting a family, paying taxes, and/or restitution).

 

The Presentence Report Determines Your Future – So Preparation For Your Interview is Vital

  • Judges use the PSR to determine the length of a sentence.
  • The Bureau of Prisons (BOP)uses the same PSR for prison placement.
  • The PSR is again used by Probation during Supervised Release.
  • Lastly, this same PSR becomes a permanent part of your record and the Inmates Bible – It truly is, the gift that keeps on giving.

LEGAL REPRESENTATION – YOUR FIRST DECISION

LEGAL REPRESENTATION SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST DECISION, 

My Comment: If you know you’re guilty or will have to Plea, don’t waste your money on your attorney’s “Discovery” fees. If you’re willing to provide in your NARRATIVE your story where you accept responsibility, while expressing remorse for the victims you’ve harmed, providing this 1-2 weeks before your Presentence Interview is the smartest thing you can do. The Probation Officer who is preparing your Probation Report will appreciate your efforts as they have a full caseload, and no time, and the fact that you are taking this seriously. Being able to read your NARRATIVE before your Interview allows them to better understand who you are, and then during the interview, they can get to know you, asking any remaining questions they may have. As they draft your official Presentence Report they may recommend a more lenient sentence to your Judge.

They are the first STAKEHOLDER you will meet who have the power to influence the trajectory of your immediate future. Why? Judges respect their sentencing recommendations which may include: Probation, Probation and Prison (50:50, at best), Halfway House and/or Home Confinement, Restitution (No Interest Box Checked), and your Placement Request. If RDAP is an option as identified in your Presentence Report, verify that it has been included in the Judges Order as I have seen too many cases where it has been left out.

Interviewing Attorneys. It is best to have someone you trust with you as you meet and interview new attorneys if for no other reason than this is a very stressful time, and having another set of eyes can be very helpful.

Asking Questions Is Part of the Process of Choosing the Right Attorney For You. They should be someone who:

1) practices federal criminal defense in a federal court, and
2) has experience in cases like yours. It sounds like common sense, right? True, but at that moment, you may not be making the best decisions for yourself, so consider bringing along someone you trust to get their feedback as you meet and interview different attorneys. A case in point is a client I had who, unfortunately, didn’t ask any questions, only to learn his,
3) attorney years later, didn’t specialize in Federal Criminal defense, and had a,
4) disciplinary problem with his state bar. This is why finding someone with a proven track record of,
5) handling cases like yours is important. They should be willing to provide,
6) several current or past clients for you to speak with to ease some of your concerns and provide several,
7) sentencing memorandums for cases like yours for you to read. If they mention HIPPA, agree, but Adobe allows for redacting all personal information and works better than a black marker – If you notice that the memorandums appear similar, keep interviewing other lawyers. Feeling comfortable with your chosen attorney is just one more step in the right direction as you develop a successful defense team. During the interview, try and,
8) ask why they wanted to practice law and what case they remember as notable and why, as these are both good conversation ‘ice breaker’ questions and,
9) ask them when they recommend starting to prepare for the Presentence Interview and Sentencing Hearing. Additionally,
10) ask about whether they charge hourly or flat fees and if they have a payment schedule option. If you want to go to trial (just feeling your right is insufficient), I give you FTX Sam Bankman-Fried and Elizabeth Holmes. Remember that the DOJ has a 98% conviction rate. Therefore, additional strategic questions would be:
11) how many trials and/or appeals (or what “%”) have they won, out of how many cases, over the past 3-7 years?
12) Don’t (you the defendant) anger the court – before they ever meet you. That’s playing Russian Roulette with your life.
13) What is their current caseload, or are they too busy? Consider that a single attorney with a small staff could support 2 or 3 criminal trials per year, working full time. A Federal Defender may be as good if not better than private counsel.
14) While not yet law, is your attorney familiar with the Fairness in Restitution (FIR) Act? If you anticipate owing Restitution, consider requesting that the Government: a) show the actual loss sustained by a victim as a direct result of the defendant’s (your) actions, b) Eliminate joint liability, and ensure that the defendant is only responsible for financial losses they caused, c) Provide the right for an evidentiary hearing to prove or disprove the amounts included in a restitution order, d) Request a change the statutory period of liability from 20 years to 10 years and prevent extensions; Exempt any reduction in restitution amount owed from being counted as income for tax purposes.
15) Last, if you have time, watch them in court.

Trials and Appeals. For cases like yours, with your judge, it is essential to learn how many in the last few years, or what percentage, have they successfully won in court. Remember that 98%. Also, do they have first or second-hand experience to prepare you for day-to-day life in federal prison so that you do not get surprised on day one, or do you need someone with BOP Prison experience to work with you on your Narrative, Release plan, and Character letters?

When selecting an attorney, choosing someone who will listen attentively to your situation is also helpful. Ask them: what can I do to help in my defense? It’s even better if they understand the importance of creating your Personal Narrative and Release Plan. Why is it necessary? Your Narrative is essentially your personal story or brand, and until now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been writing your Story for You – mainly through your Indictment. Do you like how it made you feel and look? Unless you take control and change your story, that is all your judge and future STAKEHOLDERS will know about you. Therefore, consider these factors carefully when selecting a lawyer to ensure that you make an informed decision.

You’ll want to know if your attorney will be able to work directly with you or through paralegals and other attorneys. This is because you want to know how often you will get to speak with your attorney. Will you be receiving updates via email, phone, or both? This becomes critical in cases that extend out years until you’re sentenced and can become very expensive. Will you be free on your recognizance, or put on pre-trial detention (with a probation officer), or should you expect to be remanded and locked up following your Arraignment? If you’re locked up when you call your attorney’s office, will someone be there to accept collect calls? Will the Paralegal or an attorney be familiar with the details of your case?

 


NO WITNESS TAMPERING – DON’T ANGER YOUR JUDGE

Strategy: Trial or Plea. If you are unsure, then start Not Guilty, but if you know you’re guilty in your gut (or heart), save yourself legal fees and the court’s time. This, in turn, could result in a lesser sentence. How?

If you decide with your attorney to plead guilty and cooperate with the authorities, your sentence may be significantly reduced. However, cooperating by providing substantial assistance is based on what you have heard or seen, but you cannot lie. Before cooperating with the government, getting a Proffer letter or agreement is best. A proffer letter is a legal agreement between a defendant, their attorney, and the government. The letter guarantees (kind of) the defendant immunity, meaning that the government cannot use any statements made during the meeting against you in their case – unless you aren’t truthful.

However, they can use your statement to follow leads. It does not guarantee a reduction in your sentence upfront, but rather only if this new information is used successfully against another. Honesty is a key provision of the agreement, and if the government believes that you, the defendant, are dishonest, they can end the meeting and now use these statements against you.

The authorities may also require you to testify, which is a separate matter. Cooperating is generally recommended unless it poses a danger to you and includes parts of it in the submission. Your letter should primarily convey remorse; the judge needs to hear from you (through your NARRATIVE and Allocution) that you understand the consequences of your actions and that you won’t repeat them. Judges Do Not Want to See You Back in Their Courtroom; believe them! Unsure, ask me!

 


FEES
My Comments: Please do not let the cost of your attorney be your only guide. A Federal Defender who “Knows his/her way around the sentencing guidelines and federal cases like yours” may be more helpful than a high-priced attorney. A former prosecutor doesn’t always make a great white-collar defense attorney when practicing federal criminal defense. Ask your attorney questions and see whom you feel you’ll work best with.

Having a contract that spells out: 1) your specific financial responsibilities, 2) that you’ll receive copies of all court filings before they’re filed, 3) time to review plea agreements, 4) the ability to review discovery, and 5) you’re “cc” on most if not all documents and once a month, Docket Sheets. If there is a flat fee and the relationship is terminated, should you expect a refund within 30 days? What would be the fair percentage? It’s only after getting answers to your questions can you think that the former AUSA, now White-Collar attorney, is a good fit for you.

Do they charge hourly or a flat fee? The hourly fee may be based on a prepaid retainer, with monthly bills offset against the retainer (that doesn’t include expenses, with different charges each for the attorney, attorney partner, paralegal, and legal secretary). If it is a flat fee (non-refundable) and cheaper than the other attorneys in your area (as you have learned after interviewing a few), that may give you something to consider as too cheap may not be a great idea either.

YOUR PRESENTENCE REPORT = YOUR FUTURE LIFE

Presentence Report

DO YOU KNOW:
WHERE?
AND

HOW LONG YOU WILL SERVE?

 

 Your Presentence Report (PSR)

 

The PRESENTENCE REPORT (PSR) is your “REFERRAL THAT CONTROLS ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE AND IMMEDIATE FUTURE – REDOS ARE FEW, EXPENSIVE, AND A HEAVY LIFT.

ITS ACCURACY AND COMPLETENESS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED.

 

WILL ALL YOUR WORK BE SUBMITTED TO YOUR PROBATION OFFICER, ‘1-2 WEEKS BEFORE’ YOUR PRESENTENCE INTERVIEW?

WHAT DOES PREPARATION LOOK LIKE?

  1. PROVIDE ALL COPIES OF YOUR BIOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND AND PERSONAL I.D. 
  2. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU SPEND TIME SELF-REFLECTING,
    • THEN, WRITE YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY OR LIFE STORY AND EXPLAIN WHAT CAUSED YOU TO BREAK THE LAW WITHOUT EXCUSES, ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY AND HAVING REMORSE FOR THE VICTIMS YOU HAVE HARMED.
    • WHY  – DID YOU LIKE YOUR FEDERAL INDICTMENT? THAT IS THE DOJ NARRATIVE (OR STORY) OF YOU. TO COUNTER IT, TELL YOUR OWN STORY OR NARRATIVE.
    • HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT WRITING IT?

Judges understand that crimes do not happen in a vacuum. They are also very interested in hearing from you, the defendant, in your own words. What happened – that caused you to break the law? Include the significant parts of your life and the low points, omitting nothing. Include The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I hope you find this video helpful.

 

FACTORS THAT IMPACT YOUR RELEASE DATE

  • Your Remorse
  • Acknowledging Your Victim’s Pain
  • It includes You Accepting Responsibility

 

THE PRESENTENCE REPORT DETERMINES YOUR


Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein

We are not Attorneys; you need Legal Representation.


 

This video reviews how The Presentence Report (PSR) Determines Your Future. Therefore, Preparation Is Critical At Each Stage In The Process, as a Criminal Defendant and Later as a Justice-Impacted Person. 

      • Judges use the PSR to determine the length of a sentence.
      • The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) uses the same PSR for prison placement.
      • Probation again uses the PSR during Supervised Release.
      • Lastly, this same PSR becomes a permanent part of your record and the Inmates Bible – The gift that keeps on giving.

THE NARRATIVE: HUMANIZES YOU TO YOUR JUDGE, MAY LESSEN YOUR SENTENCE

YOUR NARRATIVE,

HUMANIZE YOURSELF TO YOUR JUDGE
THE DOJ HAS ALREADY TOLD YOUR STORY, THROUGH YOUR INDICTMENT
A WELL-WRITTEN NARRATIVE 👉 COUNTERS THE DOJ INDICTMENT OF YOU

This video covers why your NARRATIVE is critical in your defense. Why? To date, the DOJ has published your Story or Autobiography in the form of your INDICTMENT, which was released everywhere across the net, and if you do nothing – that is what your Judge will read and assume is the gospel truth.

If you don’t agree with 100% of your INDICTMENT, you have a choice: to tell your story through Your NARRATIVE. I hope this Video helps, and I am available for any questions.

I) Your NARRATIVE should be provided to your Probation Officer 1-2 weeks before your Presentence Interview to be included in your Presentence Report. It impacts STAKEHOLDERS you will meet,

  • Your Attorney: Aside from your charges, they will learn more about who you are. It may help in your defense.
  • Your Probation Officer: Following your interview and investigation, they will draft the official Presentence Report based on what they have learned from you. With no NARRATIVE, it will be skewed toward the version of the INDICTMENT. Please take the time to write your NARRATIVE and proofread it and your Presentence Report for accuracy with your attorney.
  • The Prosecutor will still likely want to convict you but may be swayed by your NARRATIVE.
  • The Courts /Your Judge usually already has a sentence in mind by the time you get to your sentencing hearing.
    • If your NARRATIVE was written and embedded within your Presentence Report, your judge likely would have read it, learning more about you than just what was in your INDICTMENT. Depending on your NARRATIVE, judges across the country agree that they want to hear from the defendants because crimes do not happen in a vacuum. Judges want to learn the why. After learning the why, do you take responsibility for your actions? And do you have remorse for the harm caused to the victims of the crime you have perpetrated?

YOUR SENTENCING HEARING: Your First and Only Opportunity  To Speak Directly With Your Judge

 What Can You Do To Stand Out?

 

Michael. Santos interviews Federal Judge Mark Bennett on the importance of writing Your Personal NARRATIVE and including it in Your Presentence Report.

In Title 18, Section 3553, these provisions state the various factors that judges must consider when determining the proper sentence for a given offense. Among the most pertinent considerations are the Nature and Circumstances of the offense itself and the offender’s Personal History and Individual Characteristics.

These factors help ensure that sentencing decisions are fair and just and that the punishment fits the crime. This is your opportunity to provide your Story, Autobiography, or NARRATIVE of your life and what brought you to this day. Accepting responsibility and Having Remorse for the Victims you Created.


Departure Factors (Woven into the Narrative)

E Factors:
E Factors refer to circumstances that may warrant a departure from the sentencing guidelines established by the United States Sentencing Commission. These factors include aspects of the offense or the offender’s background that the guidelines do not adequately consider. Some examples of E factors include:

    1. The defendant’s role in the offense
    2. The defendant’s criminal history
    3. The presence of substantial assistance provided by the defendant to law enforcement
    4. The defendant’s mental or physical condition
      • Mental Illness:
        Did this contribute to the crime? Was there a history of significant abuse or trauma growing up? Either way, have you been in therapy? Has your attorney requested that you be evaluated? If there is a current treating therapist, it is best for all if they appear as witnesses. Most judges would rather hear from a treating physician than a doctor for hire. This is not to put down experts, as they provide expert testimony that can only come from a select few.
      • Was substance abuse involved in your charge(s)? Did you start treatment before your indictment, the guilty hearing, Presentence Interview (PSI), or Sentencing?
        • All the better, AA, NA, GA, or Psychological Counseling should be included in your PSR and Sentencing Memorandum. Letters verifying either completion or ongoing treatment add credibility.
    5. The defendant’s acceptance of responsibility for the offense
    6. Any other relevant factor that justifies a departure from the guidelines

F Factors (Below Guideline Range Factors):
F Factors refer to circumstances that may justify imposing a sentence below the guideline range, even if a departure is not warranted. These factors are also considered under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and include:

    1. The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense
    2. The History and Characteristics of the Defendant
    3. The sentence must reflect the offense’s seriousness, promote respect for the law, and provide just punishment.
    4. The need to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct.
    5. The need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant.
    6. The need to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment.

Your ALLOCUTION. During the judge’s conversation with you, in addition to covering the points below, he/she may want to know, in the end,  your REENTRY PLAN or what you plan to do when you get out to not re-offend.  This is a short, to-the-point video.

During Your Allocution, Judges Look For,

    1. A sincere demeanor
    2. Discuss what “taking full responsibility” means to the defendant.
    3. An acknowledgment that there are victims (e.g., even when the PSR indicates “no identifiable victim,” as it does in most drug cases);
    4. A more impressive Allocution details how the defendant’s criminal conduct affected the victims.
    5. An expression of genuine remorse.
    6. A plan to use prison or probation time productively.
    7. Discussing why the defendant wants to change his or her criminal behavior, perhaps most importantly, information that helps humanize the defendant and the defendant’s role in the crime.
    8. Tell their story, but don’t minimize the seriousness of what your client did.
    9. Judges will sometimes ask a defendant what he/she will do upon release to reduce their need to re-offend.
    10. Show his/her strengths and weaknesses.
    11. If you can show that you are on the same page with the court regarding the seriousness of the offense, the chances of accepting your other statements will increase.

II) Your NARRATIVE: these are some of the STAKEHOLDERS you have not yet met.

1. BOP Office of Designation, Grand Prairie, TX: As part of your Presentence Report, it will impact where they place you, yet you have never met them.

2. BOP Staff; Warden, Unit Team, Case Manager:

    • For case managers and unit teams, these are employees, and they see hundreds of inmates/people (if not thousands), so how can you differentiate yourself – demonstrate that you are staying out of trouble, doing your assigned job, attending FSA Classes, and doing other constructive work. Reading Non-Fiction, teaching a course, and documenting everything you do (these are ideas I learned from others). Are you an artist? That is important as long as you have constructive interest that can lead to a career after release.
    • There are few ways in prison to demonstrate an individual’s Personal Growth and Development that prepare them to reenter society as law-abiding citizens. However, using your time constructively is important, as BOP Staff will observe you daily.
      • Eventually, you will be released. Will you need to work? What are your interests? Is this too early or premature in your sentence to consider this question? Honestly -> No.
      • Are you a High School Grad?
        • No, then consider getting your GED.
        • Yes, Then get a College Degree with The Second Chance Pell Grant.
        • Already graduated College – Grad School, consider teaching a course and giving the credit to your case manager.
    • In the meantime, use your time constructively. Read to learn, which is Non-Fiction on any topic from painting to computers, History to Philosophy. And if you’re serious, which I hope you are, write down the parts that interest you for later use.

 

III) To Get Started With Your NARRATIVE

Call 240.888.7778 for a personal one-on-one call
to discuss your current issue or that of a loved one.

-Marc Blatstein