Your Personal Narrative | PSI Investigation Report

Your Personal Narrative


The Presentence Interview Investigation Report

When addressing the Judge, it is advisable to initiate with a written exercise. This exercise is called the Personal Narrative, and it presents a great opportunity to share pertinent details about yourself and the incident in question.


 What Can You Do To Stand Out?

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

Creating a compelling narrative requires multiple revisions. To ensure the best possible outcome, it’s worth asking trusted friends or family to review beforehand. While your biography should contain pertinent information, we’ll collaborate to select the most pertinent details. It’s imperative we communicate with those closest to you to gain a more intimate understanding of your personality, character, and circumstances. Remember, this is Your Life – we should approach it with the utmost seriousness.

The categories below are meant to encourage deep reflection but may be challenging. It is advisable to take time to consider them carefully and seek advice from trusted individuals, including a legal representative. It is essential that you provide authentic and heartfelt responses for several reasons. Firstly, if you do not believe in what you are saying, it will hold no worth. Secondly, if a Judge suspects that someone else wrote your responses, it may cause further complications for you. Lastly, Probation will review your answers and offer recommendations to the Judge, therefore it is crucial that they trust your responses are sincere.

 Topic Categories:

In the United States Code, specifically in Title 18, Section 3553, there are provisions that state the various factors that judges must take into consideration when determining the proper sentence for a given offense. Among the most pertinent considerations are the Nature and Circumstances of the offense itself, as well as the offender’s Personal History and Individual Characteristics. These factors help to ensure that sentencing decisions are fair and just and that the punishment fits the crime. Here, through your NARRATIVE, this is your opportunity to provide your Story, Autobiography, or NARRATIVE of your life and what brought you to this day. Accepting responsibility, Triggering Events, and Having Remorse for the Victims you Created,

It is essential to start by conveying heartfelt condolences to the victims of the crime and acknowledging the immense agony and distress they have undergone. It is imperative to understand the seriousness of the crime and refrain from belittling its severity in any manner. This provides an opening to delve deeper into the subject.

Take some time to reflect on the events that led to this moment. What circumstances led you to commit this act? If applicable, you may draw on pertinent experiences from your childhood. Seeking the advice of an expert or legal professional may be helpful.

It is advisable to try and identify any triggers that may have contributed to your actions. Develop a plan to eliminate them from your life. It is pertinent to refine your initial drafts over time and to ensure that your personal narrative is authentic and truthful.

What have you learned from this experience? Did it bring up memories from your past? Share these insights with the judge. If you have victimized others, describe your plan to make amends, even if it is a small effort. Finally, outline your plan for preventing re-offending and ensuring that you will never appear in their courtroom again.

It is advisable to inform the Judge of your willingness to take financial responsibility and make amends. If possible, bring some money with you (such as $100 or $1000) and tell the court that you would like to submit it. You may say something like, “I understand that this may not be a significant amount, but I would like to offer $xxx.00 to the court.” 

Moreover, it would be helpful to let the court know that you have a job offer (only if you do, and have that Character Letter with you) for when you return home and are willing to participate in the Financial Responsibility Program. If the Judge orders a payment of $25/Qt, you may find it challenging to comply. However, it is advisable to do your best to honor the plan, even if you have little to no financial support while in prison. 

It is worth noting that not participating in the Financial Responsibility Program (FRP) while in prison may affect your ability to participate in other programs and could be held against you. Therefore, it is strongly advisable to participate in the FRP and any other programs that may be available to you.

Overall, it is essential to take financial responsibility seriously, as it can have a significant impact on your future. Additionally, it is advisable to approach the situation respectfully and properly, as this may have a positive impact on how the court views your case.

Cases that judges find most challenging. If you fall into either of these two categories, the plan we have covered still applies, but with a caveat.
1. Predatory child sex offenders who have harmed children; if you fall into this category – You will be strictly monitored once released.

2. White-collar criminals who have harmed vulnerable people. If you fall into this category – once off supervised release, you are smart enough to know that you do not want to return.


 The Presentence Interview Investigation Report

can be aided by

Your Personal Narrative and Allocution

While I previously mentioned that it could be started in written format, it could also be submitted with the Sentencing Memorandum and made available in,

  • Video MP4 format and placed in a flash drive or CD so that the judge could easily see it the week before (optimal timing) sentencing.
  • You could work this with your attorney using either PowerPoint or a smartphone.





§9:30.7 Inside Baseball: Interview With Former Federal Probation Officer Tess Lopez, by Alan Ellis.


Counsel and Clients need to hold each other accountable and be respectful and listening to each other. While counsel is reaching out to Probation, the defendant is responsible for providing copies of ‘all’ of their Biographical Background and Personal Identification information that Probation has requested from your attorney.

At the same time, it is critical to draft a well-thought-out NARRATIVE and Release Plan and include content relevant to their PATTERN SCORE and Risk Assessment Survey. After multiple revisions, these are woven together, and then with the copies of all of the documents that are accurate and comprehensive, are organized and prepared and then given to the Probation Officer ~2 weeks before the interview so that it can be eventually included in their PSR, under Seal.

This allows time at the interview for the Probation Officer to get to know the client and ask any questions they may have. This ‘discussion’, with counsel present and the fact that the defendant was prepared and the officer’s time was respected, is usually appreciated as Probation Officers’ time is a rare commodity. Being comprehensive and accurate, as outlined below, allows the court to consider sentences outside the guideline range or “variances” because you are the only resource for the – the government will Not Volunteer this information.

I. Counsel’s goal is to learn the final “dictation date”, or the date by which the P.O. must complete their first draft of the official Presentence Report (PSR).

  • Right away, counsel and client know their timeline to have everything completed. If the client has a company with legal issues that need to be resolved or personal issues, all of this requires time in addition to preparing for their Interview.
  • Therefore, requesting, at a bare minimum 3 months to prepare for the interview would be great. This would also have been done at the guilty hearing, and hopefully, the judge agreed before setting the date for sentencing.
  • Counsel learns who the PO will be and contacts them before they have had a chance to speak with the Prosecutor. Next, building a fundamental introductory relationship is important to understand what the officer already knows – which hopefully is not a lot!
    • This offers counsel the opportunity to explain your position, as the PO was not at trial and has not yet formed an opinion.
    • 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.
    • Meanwhile, you have begun writing your personal narrative, which will undergo multiple rewrites until it is distilled into its final version, where you accept responsibility.
      • This is your story, a Unique and Honest version of the events that resulted in your arrest. Once complete, your Personal Narrative is to be included in your Presentence Report.
      • Next, start writing your Release Plan, followed by an Allocution or your conversation with the judge at sentencing.
      • Then, be ready should the Judge wish to speak with you at the Sentencing Hearing and honestly answer his/her questions from the heart.
  • Prison Placement: Counsel will start framing reasons “why” this prison placement request is being made (e.g., supported with reasons why, for example, programs: medical, FSA programming, etc.).
  • Counsel will outline each factor for the PO to consider under 18 U.S. Code § 3553
    • Part E (departure, assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person, section 994 of title 28,) and
    • Part F (sentence below the guideline range under 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)) of the PSR makes strong arguments to support these requests.
      • 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 PO is receptive to a variance, it may be key to convincing the court to consider a sentence below the guideline range.
    • If your client receives a prison sentence, the Presentence Report (PSR) followed by The Statement of Reasone (SOR) are the documents used by the BOP to determine your client’s future.
      • This information (or lack thereof) will dictate whether the client is sent to a dormitory-style Camp or the Penitentiary Maximum-Security Prison.
  • Meeting with the probation officer is to discuss their position on these issues.
    • This is particularly important in a complex case involving numerous counts, various ways to calculate the guidelines, and which guideline is appropriate.
    • Personal contact with the probation officer builds rapport and offers an opportunity to explain your position.
    • Sometimes as they are so busy with no extra time, and for a complex case, the PO would welcome the opportunity for defense counsel to explain their version of the case.
    • Remember, the PO wasn’t present at the trial; therefore, this personal meeting also assures the lawyer that the PO understands the case and their personal position. At the same meeting, they can get a feel as to how receptive the PO is.
  • When working with Probation Officers, a little extra effort goes a long way as they are very busy, doing their best, and never have enough time. They may appreciate your efforts in easing that portion of their workload.
    • Consider presenting your entire view of the case clearly in a letter to the PO as soon as possible.
    • It is helpful to have the Probation Officer and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) buy into your client’s behavior and role in the offense before requesting relief from the Guidelines, and again, everything to be completed and handed in before the interview and dictation date.

II. Learn as much as they can about the judge’s likes and dislikes. If they find this hard, ask a Federal Defender.

  • Counsel will want to learn whether the judge reads sentencing memos and character letters and how long those letters should be.
  • If applicable, issues like overcrowding and staff shortages could affect your client’s access to their Programming Needs or other required BOP Services- is the Judge sensitive to this?

 III. Mental Illness: Did this contribute to the crime, or has your client suffered significant abuse or trauma? Either way, have them 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…
  • Mental Health example in this White Collar case. This client is an
    • 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 psychological evaluation:
      • The client is an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist.
      • Suffers from depression and anxiety.
      • The overwhelming desire to be successful, personally and financially, 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 departuresare the judges simply insensitive?
      • Or does the problem lie at the feet of the defense counsel who is not taking the time to conduct a thorough investigation into the client’s social and psychological history?

 IV. 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 are willing to rehire you due to your skills and character once you are released – that is a Great letter for The NARRATIVE and Release Plan. 

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

  • Corroborate the issue 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.
  • 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.

 VI. 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 cases of 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.

Call Dr.Blatstein at 240.888.7778 or by email for a No Obligation Free Consult; I return all of my calls personally.

YOUR NARRATIVE📜 May Help Your Judge🤞Mitigate Their Sentencing Decision

NARRATIVE📜, Provided 1-2 Weeks Before The PSI, Included In The PSR-Under Seal; Helps The Judge Know ‘You’, May🤞Mitigate Their Sentencing Decision

Dr. M. Blatstein

Dr. M. Blatstein



This study provides more Validation for 👉The Personal NARRATIVE (written by your client, reviewed and guided by those with Mitigation Experience), and then provided to their Probation Officer 1-2 weeks before their Presentence Interview. The included in The Presentence Report is now Under Seal and will be read by all of your future STAKEHOLDERS.

Now your client’s NARRATIVE (with their RELEASE Plan and Letters Attesting to their CHARACTER), becomes part of their Presentence Report-Under Seal. Aside from their INDICTMENT, the Judge can learn ‘who’ the defendant is.

In this Study👇1 (N=132), evidence about the mitigating circumstances reduced punishment only when it was presented before evidence about the perpetrator’s violation, in other words before the Judge, 1st) reads the Presentence Report that just has the DOJ INDICTMENT, without your NARRATIVE, and 2nd) evaluates the Probation Officers sentencing and placement recommendations, solely based of the DOJs INDICTMENT-NARRATIVE of your client.



Your client’s story, seen through the eyes of The DOJ Indictment, makes them look like America’s Most Wanted. If left unchallenged, this will be the story or NARRATIVE of your client that future STAKEHOLDERS will read and believe, starting with the Judge.

Waiting until the sentencing hearing is not acceptable because 1st) all your Judge will know about you is through your INDICTMENT, and 2nd) they usually have a tentative sentence in mind during the week before the hearing – which is based on that same INDICTMENT. See this short Video on Sharing your story.

Judges have agreed that they need your client’s help in understanding ‘the why’, of what happened. They know that crimes do not occur in a vacuum and are interested in what caused the person in front of them to break the law.


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


Presenting all of the court-requested Biographical Background, Personal Identification along with your client’s Story or NARRATIVE, and RELEASE Plan 1-2 weeks before their Presentence Interview allows the Probation Officer to learn about your client before they ever meet.

A little effort goes a long way, as these officers each have huge caseloads and no time. So it should come as no surprise that some may actually appreciate the fact that your client came to this meeting prepared and provided all of the information needed before the interview date. This gives the officer time, allowing them to fill out their Probation Report before they ever meet your client, not being rushed.

Then at the interview, the officer can take the time needed to get to know your client personally, coming away from the interview where your client appears the opposite of the person characterized in the INDICTMENT. As these are usually in written format, judges may find viewing a Video a better way to get to know your client’s whole story. These videos can be under 10 minutes and can be taken with a Smartphone if budgets are tight.

👉 Writing your NARRATIVE is an Arduous and Self-Reflective Experience

Make sure your client has Truthtellersto support them.

  • We All Make Mistakes
  • Don’t forget: this is your chance.
  • Those around you should bring out something Positive in you.
  • This is your client’s autobiography (of their life), the good – the bad, and the ugly.
  • Enablers may make you feel good for that moment – but will not 👎🏻 be helpful in the long run. The NARRATIVE is your client’s explanation without excuses, where they have accepted responsibility⚖️ and have remorse for the pain they have caused while not minimizing what has happened.

When writing The NARRATIVE, consider associating your client with those most appropriate and knowledgeable regarding what they will be facing before, during, and after prison. This skill goes beyond the traditional defense and is best provided,

  • At the appropriate time (just before or after the guilty verdict in preparation for their PSI),
  • Those with the appropriate experience of what their client’s future STAKEHOLDERS will need to see and hear before their interview – during and after incarceration, and as they prepare to ‘successfully’ reenter society.
  1. The Probation Officer (PSI) and Judge are now their first two STAKEHOLDERS.


  1. Nature and CIRCUMSTANCE: Here, you want to describe,
  • Why did you do this?
  • How did you get involved?
  • What was your involvement?
  • You should check that your involvement reflects what is in the final Presentence Report.

2. History and CHARACTERISTICS, Here you want to include,

  • Your client’s remorse,
  • Your Client’s Accepted Responsibility
  • How your client ruined their victim’s lives,
  • Traumatic Life event(s) – review with details,
  • Show the court what your client’s plan is never to come back,
  • Where there was a positive or negative family life – explain this,
  • What has this experience taught them? Did it bring up moments from our client’s past?
  • Was there a “trigger,” what was that trigger, and how do you remove it from your client’s life?
  • Include the good things that your client’s done, explain with examples and letters (at least 10 good ones) that Attest to their Character,
  • Show what your client’s doing today to change and improve themself regarding rehabilitation (NA, AA, GA, Therapy, etc.), Community Volunteering, and paying restitution – if they can. This all becomes part of your PSR, now Under Seal.
  • Should a Professional License Be lost, include how this will result in the loss of a profession loved, a career, and income. Still looking into other options, incarceration is temporary, and life will go on with strategic and well-thought-out planning.

Consider this short YouTube before writing your NARRATIVE. Simply speaking, this is Your Story or Autobiography. Nike’s Brand is ‘Just Do It’, Tesla’s is Space-X,  and your NARRATIVE has to be your story and the experiences that brought you to this point in your life – helping your Judge, understand who you are.

3.     FAMILIAL HISTORY: Married – Children – parents’ responsibilities and sole caregiver

4.     DEFENDANT’S PHYSICAL CONDITION: Medically documented, bad Back-Hip-Knees-Shoulder along with Tinnitus could provide your client with a Bottom Bunk. Diabetic, Vascular Disease, Raynaylds could allow the Medicare soft shoe or sneakers.

5.     MEDICAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Include ALL medical records, Labs, Surgery Reports, Diagnostic: X-rays, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, PET scans (in Written, Flashdrive or CD format), Prescriptions for medications (Check Generic Medication Availability), and medical devices, along will All physician contact information. These specific medical needs can be met if included as part of your Medical History;

  • Bottom Bunk: Past medical history of Tinnitus, vertigo, or back problems.
  • Diabetic Soft Shoes, Sneakers Instead of Rigid Institutional Boots: Past medical history of a torn Achilles heel, knee, or hip issues.
  • Being of a certain age / Having weight or having a Hernia issue: could result in getting passes of “no standing for prolonged periods” and “no lifting over 15 pounds,” helping you escape some of the crappier work assignments.
  • “Medical idles,” which get you out of everything, are also available, either short or long-term, for various ongoing ailments (ranging from a bad hip to PTSD).

6.     SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol, Drugs (Legal or Illegal), within the previous 12 months before the arrest. RDAP allows up to 1 year off the sentence. They may do a Urine test.

  • If you started these programs on your own, before your Presentence Interview or before you were Indicted, MENTION THESE IN THE NARRATIVE, WITH COPIES OF YOUR TREATMENT RECORDS FROM YOUR PROVIDERS (AA, NA, Gambling, or a Sex Therapy Program).

7.     EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL SKILLS: Copied of the highest level; otherwise, a GED will be required in prison. If you have experience with computers, administrators frown on these skills, so you may not want to include these certifications.

8.     MILITARY: Copies, branch, discharge?

9.     EMPLOYMENT: The P.O. will check. Judges love a good work record or history.

10.     STATEMENT FINANCIAL RECORDS: If there are financial fines/ restitution, Congress and The BOP now strongly encourage participation in their Financial Responsibility Plan in order to benefit from all Earned Time Credits and access to Programming. This is in addition to all other required financial records. Don’t try to hide parts or all of this, as the P.O. may find out, angering the Judge.


Taking weeks to months to complete can result in a distilled version of yourself that is honest and pure, where you feel Remorse, Accept Responsibility, and Identify with the Victims of the Crime You Perpetrated.

  • If the resulting Narrative or Your Story – is quite the opposite of the DOJ’s Indictment Narrative, where your client sounded like ‘America’s Most Wanted, ‘then your client did a Great Job!


1.   Divorce Decree

2.   Financial Records

3.   School Diplomas, Your highest education level completed, Professional Diplomas, and any Trade or Occupational Certification(s).

4.   Marriage Certificate

5.   Naturalization papers

6.   Draft Registration card

7.   Car Registration papers

8.   Military Discharge certificate

9.   Birth or baptismal certificate

9.   Immigration papers or passport

10. Employment verification (pay stubs)

11. Character Letters of Recommendation

12. Military Disability information (C-number)

13. Income Tax reports for the last three years (or more if requested)

14. Outstanding Detainers and Immigration Issues Resolved before The Presentence Interview

15. Proof of residence (rent receipts, property, mortgage papers, etc.)

16. Professional papers (COPIES: Social Security Card, Drivers’ License, and Birth Certificate.)

17. Medical Records, Hospital – Surgical – Pathology and Blood Lab Reports, Copies of X-ray, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, PET Scans, EEG, EKG reports (on Flash Drives or CDs), Prescriptions for Medications and Medical Devices.

This is from my article on LinkedIn.



Dr. M. Blatstein

Dr. M. Blatstein



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.


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).


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


  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.


  • 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

Alternatives to Prosecution and Incarceration for Justice-Involved Veterans

 Justice-Involved Veterans


Council on Criminal Justice releases new policy roadmap encouraging alternatives to prosecution and incarceration for justice-involved veterans.


The policy framework offers alternative sentencing for veterans, taking into account their service and potential impact on their criminal behavior. These options include pretrial supervision and probation, replacing imprisonment and criminal records. These evidence-based practices are implemented in problem-solving courts and community supervision. The Commission also encourages laws that allow veterans to apply for record expungement.

“Once ensnared by the system, veterans often present a complex set of needs and risk factors that are distinctive from those characteristics of civilians without a military background.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council adopted the Veterans Justice Act as a model policy. State legislatures will receive an updated framework to address the issue. Recommendations were released in March, with more coming next year. The Commission includes military and criminal justice leaders and is dedicated to helping veterans transition smoothly to civilian life.


Improve Definition and Identification of Veterans Involved in the Criminal Justice System

“Studies show that when asked about their status by law enforcement, many former service members are hesitant to identify as veterans.”
Recommendation: Federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies and courts should improve processes for identifying veterans in the criminal justice system and adopt a uniform definition of “military veteran” for use in those processes.


Create a Continuum of Alternatives to Prosecution and Incarceration for Justice-Involved Veterans

“America, in turn, has a responsibility to manage all veterans in a fashion that honors their service and helps them address the multiple challenges that service can create.”

Twelve states have created post-conviction statutory schemes, separate from VTCs, that recognize veteran status as a mitigating factor in sentencing.



Establish a National Center on Veterans Justice to Improve Justice-Involved Veterans Programs through Research and Coordination

“The Commission finds that the lack of coordination between programs for justice-involved veterans results in the duplication of efforts, a lack of proper program evaluation, and an inability to disseminate best practices.”




This policy presents alternative sentencing choices for American veterans who are accused of certain crimes and acknowledges their contribution to the nation and the possibility that their criminal conduct may stem from their military service. These choices comprise employing pretrial supervision and probation instead of a criminal record or imprisonment and are based on proven techniques for efficient supervision and restoration.


As criminal defense attorneys, you’re on the other side of the bench; this is my firsthand perspective.

In 2006, I was convicted of a felony and served a 1-year, 1-day sentence for Mail Fraud for my Medical-Surgical Suites billing before officially certified that I owned. While there was no Medicare or Medicaid Fraud, this was a terrible, embarrassing, and humbling self-inflicted experience.

In 2010, I was grateful to have my license to practice reinstated in full, which was good for my soul. Several years later, I realized several things,

1st) In addition to being a terrible and terrified client, in the end, I was unprepared for everything related to the Law, Sentencing, and what to expect once inside Federal Prison.

2nd) Judges understand that crimes don’t occur in a vacuum – they want to understand the why and what happened that caused the breaking of the law and hear that explanation from the person they are about to sentence while having Remorse for the Victims and Accepting Responsibility.

3rd) When is the best time to provide this?
Provide to the Probation Officer 1-2 Weeks before The Presentence Interview in a well-organized format, this includes,
Copies of all:
1. Personal Identification
2. Biographerical Background Information

Well Written;
1. Personal NARRATIVE
3. Previously Reviewed: FSA SPARC-13 Assessment Survey and PATTERN SCORE

Dr. Blatstein
Published, Co-Author
1. The Federal Lawyer, 2021, The Critical Role of The Presentence Report
2. ABA, 2022, Dementia

Entering The BOP, Ease Your Client’s Medication Fears

BOP generic medications

Entering The BOP, Ease Your Client’s Medication Fears

To someone enters prison for the first time, they assume that they will still get medical care. The assumption may be that they will also get the same medications that they got on the outside, which is likely not the case.

Medication availability (~ 3000 different drugs), falls into 3 categories.

  • 1st) On Formulary -Available: These medications are available for BOP healthcare providers for inmate use.
  • 2nd) Non-Formulary -These require a lengthy Preauthorization Process-: These medications while they are stocked, they are not immediately available for your use. The prescribing BOP Physician or other healthcare provider needs to go through a lengthy Pre-authorization process to get permission to provide this to you.
  • 3rd) Similar equivalents- When there are no other options, here similar or equivalent substitutions are used. Should the need for a required drug be used where there is no equivalent substitute; this medical problem should be brought up before the sentencing hearing, and hopefully get the backing of the US Attorney, and finally the court.

Examples of medication confusion;

  • Cholesterol Control: PCSK9 Inhibitors vs. Statins. Statins are a popular treatment that has been available since the 1980s. PCSK9 inhibitors, on the other hand, are a new type of cholesterol drug. They were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015.
  • But these Cholesterol generics look very different (see heading photo), and may not look like what the defendant has been taking – adding to their stress level.


  • These are the drug of choice for the BOP as they are cheaper than brand-name medications.
  • It may be beneficial to inform your client ahead of time that, while they’ll be taking a generic medication since there are many manufacturers who each produce similar generic drugs that may differ in color and shape; they should be appropriate.

Nobody likes surprises, especially if they are entering prison for the first time.

Pregnant In State Prisons

Pregnant In State Prisons

As a follow-up to my previous issue, today we discuss the concerns of pregnancy in state prisons. Here too, they have the constitutional right to obtain appropriate medical care. The extent prison policies address pregnancy-related services is another moral indicator of how state-run facilities or agencies provide care to the women in their custody.

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It seems to this author as we have 50 individual states, each with its own individual policies as to whether or not a pregnant inmate gets the required prenatal and postpartum care, it appears that the care they get depends on the state in which they live. Not Very Good Odds!

50-state survey of state prison systems shows that some failed to meet even basic standards of care for expectant mothers.

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Dr. Carolyn Sufrin M.D., Ph.D., A.M. at John Hopkins School of Medicine’s School of Public Health, has a series that studies pregnancy prevalence and outcomes in U.S. jails, prisons, and youth facilities. Together with The Prison Policy Initiative, she points out that;

Dr. Sufrin founded JailcareFinding the Safety Net for Women Behind Bars.

“Jailcare is a moving and galvanizing story of pregnant women in jail and those responsible for their health, it is essential reading for anyone who cares about women, children, and justice.” Piper Kerman, author of Orange is The New Black.

  • Dr. Sufrin Contact numbers: 410-550-0337 (Appointment Phone: 443-997-0400).

STATES, Funding, and The Second Chance Act

The Bureau of Justice Assistance is the agency that administers the Second Chance Act. As such, they conduct low-cost outreach by highlighting grantee successes, that;

  1. reminds states of available funding,
  2. provides technical assistance with state applications.
  3. So remember, April is Second Chance Month – there are a few days left!

These funds allow prison nurseries to be developed by states, tribal or local prosecutors, too;

  1. establish or expand demonstration programs,
  2. reduce recidivism,
  3. improve reentry into the community,
  4. support Pregnant Incarcerated Mothers and Infants Together Programs.

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Some Positive News: States With Onsite Prison Nurseries.


SHIELDS for Families’ Tamar Village Program: provides comprehensive family-centered substance abuse treatment services to mothers re-entering the community from the criminal justice system.

Services included:

  • Educational groups (health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS, life skills, relapse prevention for addiction).
  • Parenting and child development classes.
  • Therapeutic groups (trauma, grief and loss, domestic violence, sexual abuse, women’s issues, and relationships).
  • There is also an on-site child development center for children ages 0-5 and a youth program for children ages 6-18.


  • Illinois Department of Corrections: Focuses on the Needs of Pregnant and Parenting Inmates.

Decatur Correctional Center called “Moms and Babies” started a prison nursery program initiated in 2007. The program includes an Infant Development Center, and each of the five prisons for women in Illinois includes;

  • A child-friendly visitation area where mothers can read with their children, watch videos or play on the floor.
  • Family activities range from; day camps, video visiting, and holiday activities for mothers and children.
  • Parenting programs are offered to all inmates, no matter their security level.


I) Family Preservation Program includes individual and family counseling to begin healing trauma caused by histories of addiction, poverty, and mental, physical, and sexual abuse.

Indiana Women’s PrisonFamily Preservation Program, started in 1996.

Women typically come to prison from underserved communities;

II) Women’s Prison in Indianapolis for Low-level offenders


Women Behind Bars: Maximum Security


Maryland Correctional Institute for Women (MCIW).

The Baltimore Doula Project currently provides doula support to pregnant women,


  • The Center for Women in Transition is a St. Louis organization that provides wraparound services for women reentering the community from jail or prison.
  • They support The Correctional Center Nursery Programs which allow women who give birth while incarcerated the chance to stay with their newborns in prison for up to 18 months.

New York Opened, in 1930

Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women includes the longest-standing continuous prison nursery in the country.


Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Parenting Inside Out (PIO) program’s curriculum offers interactive skill-building on child and adult development, parenting skills, and effective communication through letters, calls, and visits (page 31).


 I) SCI Muncy with doula services, that provide people with physical, emotional, and educational support during pregnancy and childbirth. They have been linked to better birth outcomes by lowering the likelihood of birth complications and helping to treat postpartum depression.

  • Gerria Coffee is the founder of Williamsport-based Genesis Birth Services. 1307 Park Ave, Williamsport, PA 17701, Phone(717) 970-3009, George Little, Acting Pa. Secretary of Corrections 717.728.4109.
  • “To have a program where someone is there for them when they are giving birth, it’s immeasurable,” Coffee said. She’s held women’s hands during birth, cut umbilical cords, and provided encouragement during labor. “All of those are priceless experiences and experiences that anyone who is giving birth deserves.”

II) Maternity Care Coalition’s MOMobile works within Philadelphia’s Riverside Correctional Facility, where it delivers the education and support women need to prepare for reintegration with their families and communities.

  • The in-prison component is coupled with individual case management for up to one year after release, helping newly-released parents form strong ties to their communities and positive relationships with their children.
  • MOMobile staff has attended 34 births since the start of a doula program in May 2008. The program teaches parenting skills, mother-child bonding, and positive discipline skills, which has the potential to result in substantial community-wide benefits if expanded to serve a greater percentage of incarcerated mothers having served over 300 women.

I thank you for reading with me. On a lighter note, to you moms

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In closing, I believe that the responsibility for a client’s Mental and Physical Health should be safeguarded to protect them from themselves and others, …while providing a safe environment for the duration of their incarceration (for them and their newborn). Ultimately this is the responsibility of the Court, Defense Team, and The Respective State Authority.

If this was helpful, please share it with your colleagues. With more to follow, should you have any questions, are interested in engaging my services (getting your message on the record – is best done before the PSI, and also could support your BOP placement request), or have any suggestions for future topics, I am easy to reach, and thank you for your time.

No alt text provided for this image

Marc, Dr. Blatstein

Copyright © 2021-2022 Physician Presentence Report Service, LLC, (PPRS Disclaimer)

How Prepared – Really, is Your Client For Their First Day In The BOP?

How Prepared – Really, is Your Client For Their First Day In The BOP?

The Sentencing Hearing. While this phase of your client’s defense has reached its apparent conclusion, practically speaking, some defendants may still be unprepared for their 1st day in the BOP. They naturally are nervous, terrified, and anxious, but some, after arrival find themselves faced with a series of events that could result in off-the-chart-anxiety, and even medical harm, most of which could have all been avoided.

Each client is different, and as such will handle prison life, and all of its nuances in their own way, some better than others. I emphasize the importance of minimizing some of the unnecessary stresses that can be avoided. With just a little bit of effort and time, your client and their family will be grateful for that bit of understanding regarding what they are about to encounter.

Being allowed to self-surrender can be a significant relief. For others, they are taken right into custody.

For those lucky enough to self-surrender, this is still a terrifying experience, but we all adjust over time. But if you’re surrendering to a satellite prison camp, these are adjacent to higher security facilities, and therefore you must first present yourself there, and not the satellite camp. And in case you ask – with higher security comes long guns and a “more secure and overall tense” atmosphere. I mention this because Federal Prison Camps (FPC), do not have adjacent higher secure facilities, as they are free-standing.

Once you present yourself, only to learn that your court’s orders have not yet arrived, you likely will find yourself placed in a single cell, asking why? If you were never claustrophobic – you could be now. Should this be your first time in any sort of prison or even being handcuffed – this can be terrifying. I know this to be so because unfortunately, it happened to me. I’m willing to share my experience – so give me a call, which includes my license being fully restored.

For your client’s well-being, verify that the required court intake paperwork has been received by the BOP facility – before your client’s arrival. While BOP Policy states that single secure cells used in these cases cannot be ‘isolation cells’ for > 23 hours/day, as a new person presenting to a camp, being surprised and isolated in a single secure cell for just ’30 minutes’, was horrifying enough, thank you! Then with staff shortages, don’t hold your breath regarding the frequency of staff stopping by.

Reasons, why a single secure cell could be used: 1) court intake orders were not received, 2) Medical (contagious, ie. COVID -2020) or Inmate Safety, 3) lack of bed space. Each of these issues may have been anticipated by legal before the defendants’ arrival and considered before the PSI. Rest assured, if they were given a heads-up that a single cell may be in their future, most clients would have seriously questioned, why.

Colette Peters, Director of The Federal BOP. There is great anticipation regarding Dir. Peters’s ability to make significant changes within the BOP, but only time will tell. The BOP is a very large conglomerate, and change does not happen overnight.

The federal system, while having more oversight, is held to a higher standard and is supposed to pay greater attention to healthcare and programming needs. While these may not be what we are used to on the outside, compared with some individual state prisons (which is pushing the bar Very Low), and county jails (also Much Lower) around the nation, the hope is that with Director Peters, the BOP will fare much better.

A program that excels: There are bright spots among state facilities though, among them is a program called: The Last Mile which prepares and educates inmates for release and helps get them to find good-paying jobs through their partners.

BOP Visitor Form


Sample BOP Commissary List




Opinion. I believe that the responsibility for a client’s Mental and Physical Health should be safeguarded to protect them from themselves and others, …while providing a safe environment for the duration of their incarceration. Ultimately this is the responsibility of the Court, Defense Team, and BOP.

If this was helpful, please share it with your colleagues. With more to follow, should you have any questions, are interested in engaging my services (getting your message on the record – is best done before the PSI, and also could support your BOP placement request), or have any suggestions for future topics, I am easy to reach, and thank you for your time.

No alt text provided for this image

Marc, Dr. Blatstein

  • Voice: 240-888-7778
  • For more information on the BOP:
  • Watch our 50+ minute PowerPoint Presentation, (of CLE Quality), which can be time adjusted to meet your needs.
  • As seen on LinkedIn

Copyright © 2021-2022 Physician Presentence Report Service, LLC, (PPRS Disclaimer)

Steel Toe Safety Boots In Prisons – Not Always The Best Choice

Steel Toe Safety Boots In Prisons | NIH: Shear-Reducing Insoles Prevent Foot Ulceration

Medicine is both an art and a science. While the implementation of steel-toe safety boots protects the institution and the majority of persons incarcerated, there is a significant, albeit small part of their population that may be harmed – however rare that may be.

As The Bureau states in their Program Statement 6031.01, Patient Care, (Page 58), they are responsible for providing one pair of safety shoes to each inmate, suitable for their job assignment. They would make custom shoes or orthotic devices available if needed that would have to be, medically necessary to accommodate a significant foot deformity or decrease the chance of injury to feet with impaired sensation.

The caveat here is that in a large bureaucratic institution, the patient/inmate may have to either pay their co-pay to be seen immediately for an unscheduled visit or wait for staff to provide a referral – either way, once prescribed, the wait time can be expected to be at best – “a while.”

The headline image I have chosen was for several reasons. To start, safety boots with a steel-toe box will provide protection, but in my opinion, after 30+ years of practicing in this space, I believe that there are other forces of concern. To start, the inner sole at the inside bottom of the boot has to have significant padding to cushion (or protect) the foot from shear forces, that over time could wear down the skin’s protective padding. The boots in 2006, had none.

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Additionally, with correct insoles, biomechanical support would be of additional long-term benefit. When I was in a BOP facility years ago, there was nothing like this available, and I was left to figure out the protection and biomechanical issues on my own.

The medicare prescription shoe P6031.04 is referencing:

o   HCPCS code A5500 for diabetics only, custom preparation, and supply of off-the-shelf depth-inlay shoe manufactured to accommodate a multi-density insert(s), per shoe as maintained by CMS

o   ICD-10 Codes for Orthotic/Prosthetic — Diabetic Shoe

Then there is the steel toe, and while available in widths, new boots being what they are, take time to break in. During that period, a person’s toe that is rubbing against the hard, leather-steel binding, is a recipe for potential problems, no matter how rare. Then, with wear, the foot through the normal gait process over time, again no matter how rare, could rub against the steel toe box.

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The patient/inmate does not have to be an out-of-control Diabetic, they could be a pre-diabetic, have Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), or Raynaud’s (which I still have), just to mention a few. Therefore, for those few who slip between the CARE LEVEL cracks, there may be some that need to get a toe or two amputated due to infections. But here is where Murphy’s Law presents itself, (where one amputation turns into multiple, more aggressive procedures) – some of which could have been avoided, with a little prevention.

I present several cases from NIH:

I) Intermediate-term outcome of primary digit amputations in patients with diabetes mellitus who have forefoot sepsis requiring hospitalization had presumed adequate circulatory status.


  • Out of 92 patients with 97 forefoot infections, twenty-two had foot amputations.
  • Pre-op, all had presumed adequate forefoot perfusion (assumed good blood flow to their feet), as determined by noninvasive methods, was studied.

II) Midfoot amputations expand limb salvage rates for diabetic foot infections


  • If surgery is indicated, these are likely options.
  • Transtarsal amputations (removes even more of the foot – below the ankle) salvaged over half of nonhealing Transmetatarsal, Amputation (TMA)

III) Shear-reducing insoles to prevent foot ulceration in high-risk diabetic patients


  • These results suggest that a shear-reducing insole is more effective than traditional insoles in preventing foot ulcers in high-risk persons, including those with diabetes.

Prevention In Medicine Is a Core Value

I believe that the responsibility for a client’s Mental and Physical Health should be safeguarded to protect them from themselves and others, …while providing a safe environment for the duration of their incarceration. Ultimately this is the responsibility of the Court, Defense Team, and BOP.

If you found this helpful, please subscribe and share it with your colleagues. With more to follow, should you have any questions, are interested in engaging my services, or have any suggestions for future topics, I am easy to reach, and thank you for your time.

No alt text provided for this image

Marc, Dr. Blatstein

  • Voice: 240-888-7778
  • Getting Your Message on the Record
  • Drafting a well-thought-out Personal Narrative
  • For more information on the BOP:
  • My license to practice was restored in 2010
  • Seen on LinkedIn

Watch our 50+ minute PowerPoint Presentation, (of CLE Quality), which can be time adjusted to meet your needs.

Published by

Dr. M. Blatstein

Status is online
In this issue of my newsletter series, I review the use of Safety Steel-Toe Shoes. If you find this helpful, please subscribe, share it with your colleagues, and consider engaging my services. 






Did You Get The Fed’s 6 am Wakeup Today?

The Feds Were asking questions.

If Yes ▢, which below applies to you?

You got caught up in PPP, or other Loan Fraud
You’re a Physician who never expected to see The FBI
Did you hear rumors that the Feds were asking questions?
It’s taken years to build your business, only to now face federal charges?
You’re a Corporate or Government Official, only to have your World Turned Upside
‘First’, you need Legal Representation

Yes,  I Can Help You.

You can work TODAY – To Change YOUR Tomorrow 
How To Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie

Attorneys know the law, but the nuances of navigating through Federal Prison aren’t part of a traditional legal defense.

This requires a unique set of knowledge and skills that are of interest to both those facing Prison, as well as those who are responsible for preparing you for what to expect while in prison, to work toward returning home as law-abiding citizens.

To start, STAKEHOLDERS in Prison are your Case Manager and Unit Team. With tremendous influence over your life and future, their interests are to see incremental reductions in your criminogenic needs. I only know one way to do this – So Let’s Get to It!

This all depends on your efforts, and while there are no guarantees, you will still benefit – if you do the work.

The only way to do this I have learned from others (… great ideas, some of which I borrowed from Prison Professors), and have included these ideas in this website. Suppose your Case Manager and Unit Team believe ‘in you’ through your work and attitude. In that case, the door may open for them to implement The Second Chance Act and provide recommendations to Residential Reentry Managers for release to either a Halfway House or Home Confinement.

For a personal, one-on-one call with me to discuss your current issue, or that of a loved one, call (240.888.7778). If I cannot answer, please leave a message, as I return all calls. 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, there will be staff that truly care about you and their job, while others just look at you as a number. The only person that can control Your Reactions and Emotions  Is You.


1st You need a Federal Criminal Defense attorney, who practices in Federal Court. Next, considering that the DOJ has a 98% conviction rate, deciding between Trial or Plea is a strategic and practical decision you and your attorney must make. This may not be fair, but the numbers don’t lie. Should there be a Guilty Verdict – ‘Participating in Preparing’ for your Presentence Interview is critical to your Future.


If you need recommendations for great attorneys who practice Federal Criminal Defense and have experience in Federal Court, contact me. These should be attorneys who have experience with cases similar to LIKE yours and who are also empathetic to the stresses that you are going through.


2nd PREPARATION to navigate through Federal Prison is not usually part of a traditional legal defense. This requires a unique set of knowledge and skills that are needed after the guilty verdict or plea and are of interest to your Judge at sentencing (Your NARRATIVE and RELEASE/REENTRY PLAN), along with other STAKEHOLDERS, that you haven’t yet met.


3rd Therefore, in addition to your legal defense, it’s equally important, for you to be prepared for your Presentence Interview and Sentencing Hearing. This is the 1st and only time your Judge will get to meet and speak with you – so make it a great First Impression. Judges across the country agree in their desire to hear from you, to learn why you did what you did, and for you to express your Remorse, Accept Responsibility, a understand the Pain you have Inflicted upon Your Victims. They also do not want to see you back in their courtroom again – convince them. They also have great B.S. Detectors, so if you cannot be honest and sincere, then don’t speak. Again, PREPARATION.





Your Personal NarrativeAllocationCharacter’ Reference Letter, and Reentry/Release Plan.

Once completed, ALONG WITH copies of your Biographical and Identification Information are presented to your Probation Officer a couple of weeks before your Interview. Your Probation Officer can then COPY-PASTE Them into their Probation Report, where they eventually become part of your official Presentence Report. This now allows your Probation Officer the time at your interview to get to know you personally, which is especially important as it may impact their perspective of you in the final draft of your Presentence Report.


4th YOUR RELEASE PLAN. Why you need a Reentry Plan, is because, 1) your Judge will want to know your Plan to not return to their courtroom, and 2) in prison, your Case Managers will have read your plan, and as they have Tremendous Influence on how fast you move through the FSA Programming Process toward early release – it would be prudent for your PSR to be as comprehensive as possible.

  • As STAKEHOLDERSentrusted with ensuring your progress, the only way I know of showing them the Incremental Improvements, in Reducing your Criminogenic Needs that you are making, which I have learned from others – is by daily journaling (or logging) everything that you do. There may be other methods, but I don’t know them.
  • It’s crucial to demonstrate how you are reducing your Criminogenic Tendencies over time, which may help expedite your return home while making your Case Managers look better to their supervisors. As your Release Plan develops, and your Case Manager and Unit Team come to believe in you, they may also apply the benefits of the Second Chance Act toward your early release. There is a lot here, which will be developed throughout this website – all Free.


5th DISAPPOINTMENT – Prison excels at providing disappointment and frustration, because this is how they want you to feel. They control all aspects of your life, and should you disobey the rules and get caught, they will write you a Shot or Ticket otherwise known as an Infraction – You Do Not Want Any Of These! The more they write – the better they may look to their supervisors, just like getting speeding tickets or DUIs on a National Holiday like July 4th. SO PLEASE: NO INFRACTIONS, NO CELL PHONES, AND NO TROUBLE, BECAUSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO LOSE YOUR ACCESS TO EARLY RELEASE.


OUR PREPARATION cannot be overstated – learn,

  1. What to do day-to-day, by Showing That You Can Reduce Your Criminogenic Needs,
  2. Improve your chances of an early release– still, nothing can be guaranteed,
  3. All of this depends on your efforts, started before sentencing, and continues while you are inside (your lawyer is not there with you to help), and after you are released to either home confinement or a halfway house,
  4. Other issues include,
    • How to pick an attorney,
      • If you need attorney recommendations, ask me, there are great, smart ones out there with empathy.
    • Self-Surrendering,
    • Non-Medical, and MedicalIssues,
    • The Administrative Remedy Process to Advocate for Yourself, and
    • Understand Who and What STAKEHOLDERSare,
      • From the Judge to your Warden, Case Manager, and Unit Team. (Teaser: Your Case Manager and Unit Team tremendously influence your future).

Why? Because after your Interview is when the Probation Officer (P.O.) will write the court’s official Read the article I co-published regarding the critical role of The Presentence Report (PSR, yes I co-published this article), and with it, your Judge will determine the length of your sentence. You then will have the ‘opportunity’ to make a placement request, (Example BOP Packet – Alderson).


Attorneys know the lawbut the Nuances of Federal Prison are much different.

If you’re willing to do the work, it can be with me or anyone else, but please don’t leave this decision up to chance, or your attorney telling you that ‘it’s not necessary’.

That person will not be in prison with youDr. MJB

Your Presentence Interview and Sentencing Hearing Are Coming – and Will Change Your Life.

 Are You Prepared to Speak to Your Judge

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

  1. The Judge Already Knows,
    • That The DOJ wants Jail time
    • That the Prosecutor wants to convict you conviction and
    • Your Attorney is paid to say keep you out of prison or, at best, spend the least time “in prison“.
  2. We You Need To Help the Judge UnderstandWho You Are – and Why You Deserve a Lesser Sentence Leniency
  • What Changed in Your Life– That Caused You to Break the Law?
  • Now is the Time For You To Invest In Yourself– No One Can Change their Past ⇨ But You Can Change Your Future
  • Writing your story, through Your narrative tells the Judge how you came to this point in your life.  This is an arduous, self-reflective experience for you to go through, forcing a face-to-face with your innermost thoughts. It may require you to enlist someone with federal sentencing mitigation experience to guide you in drafting your narrative, but this is the story of your life and requires your participation.
  • Taking weeks to months to complete, can result in a distilled version of yourself that is honest and pure, a version where you have Remorse, Accept Responsibility, and Identify with the Victims of the Crime You Perpetrated.
  • This resulting Narrative or Your Story – is quite the opposite of the DOJ’s Indictment Narrative, which has already been read by your Judge.

As you stand at your sentencing hearing anticipating your conversation with the court (your Allocution), you may also realize that the process of writing your narrative has been an unexpectedly cathartic experience. Speaking from the heart could influence the court and ‘may’ impact your sentence…

Now – Do You Feel More Prepared to Speak with Your Judge?

The Bureau of Prisons Administration uses the same PSR to place or designate you in a prison.

  • Your Unit Team, Case Managers, Psychologists, and Medical will refer to it throughout your stay.
  • Visitation is determined by it
  • Your Personal Narrativeis your chance to take back some control of your future
    • But even if all things are done right, the Judge may still not change your sentence and placement
      • But now your Narrative, as part of your Presentence Report (PSR)will be seen and positively used as you transition through the BOP, into Halfway House and Probation, and then home confinement and supervised release. All along you are adding to your Reentry Plan.
      • Your Personal Narrative, like your Presentence Report, will now be “The Gift That Keeps on Giving“– in a good way.

The probation officer controls your future. They conduct your interview, draft the presentence report, and can sway the court regarding your sentence length and placement.

Are you happy with the Indictment-Narrative that the DOJ released to Google, which is being read as 100% Fact – by everyone, including your friends, colleagues, family, the Jury (if you’re going to trial), your attorney, The Probation Officer, Prosecutor, and the Judge? Plus, it will stay online forever.


No, then start working to change the DOJ’s version of your Narrative today. It may take 25-75 hours to write (and re-write), but only You can change, “Your Narrative.”

Some of the first steps of your attorney after the “guilty” hearing is to learn who will be your probation officer.

1st contact. After “guilty”– it’s helpful for your attorney to connect with your Probation Officer before they speak with the Prosecutor and get Biased against you, then

  • learn the date for their “dictation deadline”, which is the date that your Presentence Report (PSR) draft is due to their supervisor, plus the date for your interview.
  • This provides the opportunity to get your ‘message’ to the officer – before that conversation with the prosecutor or read the voluminous amount of information The DOJ provides online, which is biased against you.

2nd From an interview with Judge Nancy Gertner

  • Early and frequent contact with the probation officer can lead to a positive presentence report,
  • The lawyer should find out as much as possible from the probation officer assigned to the case including whether the probation officer talks to the judge before sentencing.
  • Find out if the judge meets with the probation officer and follows their recommendations.

3rd The ultraconservative Charles Koch Institute states, “Jail should be reserved for people who pose a threat to public safety.”  Judge Gertner agreed and suggested that’s a good point to make to a sentencing judge.

For most judges, the key questions they want to be answered are:
1. Why did your client do what he did?
2. What has he done to own his mistake and demonstrate sincere remorse?
3. Why was the behavior out of character with an otherwise law-abiding life if it was?
4. Why is he unlikely to do it again?
5. Why should I cut him a break?

  • For Judge Gertner, it appeared that a key question she wanted to be answered was: Why did your client do what he did, and why is he unlikely to do it again?

The Presentence Report’s content is derived from all the information the probation officer has learned from you, and your defense team during their Interview and Investigation. This is why the defense strategy should be organized, and documented before the Presentence Interview (PSI) has even begun. The completed version your attorneys want the court to see is provided to the P.O., to be included in their final drafting of your client’s Presentence Report (PSR).

    • This includes your Personal Narrative– then have it in your Presentence Report,
    • Your allocation – the only opportunity to express your remorse to the victims and how you got to this point (similar to your Narrative) to the court – needs to be practiced and role-played with your attorney, because the judge may want to have a conversation with you.
    • It is also helpful to hear what your attorney plans to say at the sentencing hearing – which is also practiced with you. This memorandum will be submitted 1 week before the hearing and reviewed together with your attorney.

Probation officers are often overworked and have no time, and some may appreciate your efforts, should it help ease their workload.

Meanwhile, you have been,

  1. Collect copies of your medical records: Hospital, laboratory, radiology, physician, surgical, prescription, and medical devices. As all of these take time, medical practices are also very busy – so don’t wait.
  2. Other records: Educational, military, character, community service, work references, original birth certificates, social security cards, licenses, etc, and, you get the picture.
  3. Of significance to your life in the BOP;
    • Bottom Bunk: Past medical history of Tinnitus, vertigo, or back problems.
    • Diabetic Soft Shoes, Sneakers Instead of Rigid Institutional Boots: Past medical history of a torn Achilles heel, knee, or hip issues.
    • Being of a certain age / Having weight, or having a Hernia issue: could result in getting passes of “no standing for prolonged periods” and “no lifting over 15 pounds,” helping you escape some of the crappier work assignments.
    • “Medical idles,” which get you out of everything, are also available, either short or long-term, for various ongoing ailments (ranging from a bad hip to PTSD).

When the date comes for Your Presentence Interview, You’re prepared, Right?

    • After you have been interviewed, The PO will investigate, verifying all that you have told them and all the documents that have been provided. Their next step is to draft the official Presentence Report (Blatsteinet al., 2021), which they will provide to the court. The attachments you provided should be included in the PSR and will impact your future.
    • They will likely provide both sentencing and BOP placement recommendations to the court at this point.

This is why the Presentence Interview (PSI) is the best opportunity for your legal team to get their “message on the record”, and into the Presentence Report (PSR), before it reaches the court.

    • The Presentence Report may provide the opportunity for making a BOP Placement request, along with the supporting reasons “why” the request is being made, or requesting that the court consider other “relevant conduct”, to look beyond the offense of conviction to what happened. Once the PSI is done and the official PSR has been drafted, getting it changed is a big ask.
    • Requesting to add new content after that date is possible, but nothing is guaranteed. Where there is further biographical information, your attorney could request to email it to your P.O., by category, so that the P.O. could simply copy-paste it into the appropriate categories, thereby making it a more straightforward process.

PREPARATION: PROBATION INTERVIEW (FORM) starts with; can you explain what happened, and then follow a format similar to the outline below, which should be reviewed for content accuracy.


VICTIM IMPACT: The chance for victims to speak


OFFENSE CONDUCT- ASSESSMENT OF CRIME: STATEMENT Critical to review for accuracy due to its sentencing enhancement ramifications

Probation Officers Report what happened in an offense, so check it.

Their narrative is not always based on what took place during the trial.

Many probation officers will rely upon what others allege, rather than what was proven.

This section is important to be kept accurate as it could overextend the sentence.

If the probation alleges “leadership,” the BOP, taking that information into account, could determine that person’s suitability for minimum-security placement

Therefore, close attention should be paid to this area so that all parties agree and the defendant does not face any future prison repercussions.


USSC CRIMINAL HISTORY: A scored calculation based on criminal history


USSC OFFENSE LEVEL/CONDUCT: A scored calculation based on your current charges.






OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS: This is where through conversation the officer learns who you are. Saying nothing leaves ‘all’ including the court to believe what the DOJ has released to the press is 100% true.



FAMILIAL HISTORY: Married – Children – parents’ responsibilities and sole caregiver


DEFENDANT’S PHYSICAL CONDITION: Medically documented bad Back-Hip-Knees-Shoulder could provide you with a Bottom Bunk. Diabetic, Vascular Disease, Raynaylds could allow the Medicare soft shoe or sneakers.


MEDICAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Include ALL medical records, Labs, Surgery Reports, X-ray – CT-MRI-Ultrasound-Pet Scans (in Written and CD Format), Prescriptions for medications (Check Generic Medication Availability), and medical devices, along will ALL physician contact information.


SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol, Drug (Legal or Illegal), within the previous 12 months before the arrest. RDAP allows up to 1 year off the sentence. They may do a Urine test.


EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL SKILLS: Copied of the highest level, otherwise a GED will be required in prison. If you have experience in/with computers, administrators frown on these skills, so you may want to reconsider using these.


MILITARY: Copies, branch, discharge?


EMPLOYMENT: The PO will check. Judges love an excellent work record/history


STATEMENT FINANCIAL RECORDS: If there are financial fines/restitution, Congress and The BOP now require a Financial Responsibility Plan to benefit from all Earned Time Credits and access to Programming. Therefore if the events allow, counsel could ask that the court writes into the record that payments should only start after release from the BOP.

Financial Responsibility Plan (FRP). If you have a large fine or restitution, and money is a problem, the BOP ‘FRP’ Program requires participation, and if you refuse, this could hinder your involvement in FSA Programs’ efforts towards early release and Halfway House along with restricting some of your commissary use.

It may help if your attorney asks the judge to write into the order that the defendant does not have to participate in the Financial Responsibility Plan until after they are released from the BOP, as they have a job and will then be able to make payments at that time.

Even if the judge orders that you do not have to make payments, still offer To Make Some Payments at your meeting. It may help you later on.

Otherwise, be proactive, and at your first team meeting, offer what you can ($0.00/month) towards your FRP account. Be aware that at your next team meeting, they will know exactly how much money you have spent, and it’s too early to create a bad – first impression.

12/17/2022, I learned that Judges are putting into their “Order”, that the defendant has to pay $25/quarter.


1/10/2023 The new proposed [wish-list] rule published in Tuesday’s federal register would automatically put 75% of money sent or donated to inmates toward victim restitution. The program would be voluntary, but prisoners would have to participate to get credit under the First Step Act for early release from prison or into a community facility. The BOP, while not in favor of this as they need the profits from the commissary for staffing and other projects – should the DOJ get its way, the commissary business would likely drop. Still, I hold on to my recommendation not to keep thousands in your account if you have any financial penalties.


Divorce decree
School diplomas
Marriage Certificate
Naturalization papers
Draft registration card
Car Registration papers
Military discharge certificate
Birth or baptismal certificate
Immigration papers or passport
Employment verification (pay stubs)
Character Letters of Recommendation
Military disability information (C-number)
Income tax reports for the last three years
All Outstanding Detainers and Immigration Issues Resolved before The Presentence Interview
Proof of residence (rent receipts, property, Union, lodge, club cards mortgage papers, etc.)
Professional papers (COPIES: Social Security Care, Drivers Lic., certificates, licenses, or Seaman’s papers permits)
Medical Records, Hospital – Surgical – Pathology and Blood Lab Reports, Copies of X-Ray, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, PET Scans, EEG, EKG reports, and CDs, Prescriptions for Medications and Medical Devices.



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

For a No Obligation Free Consult Call 240.888.7778, or by email. I answer and personally return all of my calls.

Don’t let this be a missed opportunity!

PPRSUS is here to help