1. The Judge Already Knows,
    • that The DOJ wants Jail time
    • that the Prosecutor wants a conviction and
    • that your Attorney is paid to keep you out of prison or at best, spending the least amount of time “in prison“.
  2. Help the Judge Understand Who You Areand Why You Deserve Leniency
  3. What Changed in Your Life – That Caused You to Break the Law?
  4. Now is the Time For You To Invest In Yourself No One Can Change their PastBut You Can Change Your Future
  5. 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. Include from 18 U.S. Code § 3553 – Imposition of a Sentence, the Nature and Circumstances of the Offense, and your History and Characteristics relevant to the incident.

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 writing your narrative has been an unexpectedly cathartic experience. Speaking from the heart could influence the court and ‘may’ impact your sentence…


The Personal NarrativeReentry-Release Plan, and answers to the SPARC-13 Assessment Questions (as you are expected to answer these questions when you first arrive, you might as well become familiar with them early), are written as one document and weaved into the Presentence Report when provided to your Probation Officer, a few weeks before your Presentence Interview.

Here the defendant has accepted responsibility, expressed remorse for the victim(s) pain, suffering, and how it has impacted them, and agrees with the court about the seriousness of the crime, without minimizing it.

  • The caveat is that the defendant must put time and effort into writing their Narrative, Allocution, and Reentry Plan because their future depends on it being honest, pure, and from the heart.

PERSONAL NARRATIVE. 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. This is your autobiography (of you and those around you), the good, bad, and the ugly. 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 client’s life and requires their participation.

  • 18 U.S.C. § 3553
  • Judges
    • Look for WHY and HOW the incident happened –
    • Did they have PTSD
    • People don’t commit crimes in a vacuumtherefore
      • It’s important for the Judge to Know ABOUT the Person
      • Before they pass judgment
    • NATURE and CIRCUMSTANCE You want to include,
        1. What led you to do this, 
        2. How did you get involved, and 
        3. What was your involvement? [check that your involvement reflects what is in the official Presentence Report].
    • HISTORY and CHARACTERISTICS Here you want to include,
        1. Your remorse, 
        2. How you ruined your victim’s lives, 
        3. Show what you’re doing to change and improve yourself regarding rehabilitation (NA, AA, GA, Therapy, etc.) and paying restitution – if you can, 
        4. Where there was a positive or negative family life – explain this, 
        5. Traumatic event – review with details, 
        6. Good things you’ve done, explain with examples, 
        7. Show Judge your Future Plans to not come back, and 
        8. Cooperation = Substantial Information that does not implicate another.
    • Include if Applicable,
        1. FAMILIAL HISTORY: Married – Children – parents’ responsibilities and sole caregiver
        2. DEFENDANT’S PHYSICAL CONDITION: Medically documented bad Back-Hip-Knees-Shoulder could provide you with a Bottom Bunk. Diabetic, Vascular Disease, Raynaud’s could allow the Medicare soft shoe or sneakers.
        3. 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.
        4. 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.
        5. 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 consider not using these.
        6. MILITARY: Copies, branch, discharge?
        7. EMPLOYMENT: The PO will check. Judges love an excellent work record/history
        8. 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.

RELEASE PLAN. Include that you realize you need to learn from the FSA Risk Reduction Programs and implement their lessons into your daily life. Then expand on an appropriate theme, “Since my indictment, arrest, criminal charge, plea hearing, trial or guilty plea, presentence investigation, and sentencing process, I had the time to think about all that I have done. I made BAD decisions, except it shouldn’t be about ME – It’s about MY Victims, and What I did. This is most important, as I must Prove my Remorse and my Efforts to Change and Accept Responsibility for The Pain I caused to my victims, the community, my family, and myself. To the court, I do not want to be here again – I have learned a hard and humbling lesson.

If you are currently taking FSA Programs for AA, NA, Gambling, or a Sex Therapy Program, where applicable when released, you want to continue the Therapy and Rehab for AA, NA, Gambling, or Sex therapy rehab. sessions. State this in your Reentry Plan.

You also should refer to (or have) copies of your Social Security Card, Driver’s License (if expired it needs to be updated with a new test likely), and Birth Certificate. You are also grateful to be moving into a home with a support structure where they will keep you accountable. While you have been self-employed in your career, you have a letter from a friend willing to hire you, “all I have to do is let them know that you are released, as they are expecting my call”. “As you see, the letter was also a character letter, that I initially provided.”

At the same time, you can also plan to be self-employed again, if your role was not part of your criminal charge. Then everything that goes into a traditional business plan including what you would present to a bank, should be professionally (not handwritten, not expensive), put together, as your Probation Officer will want to see this during, or before your Supervised Release.

ALLOCUTION. You may begin by writing (in your own words) something like this…, “I am embarrassed and humbled to be standing here – since my indictment had the time to think about all that I have done, I didn’t recognize how BAD my decisions were, but Now I realized it’s Not About Me. It is about MY VICTIMS, What I did, and What I must do – to make it right.

  1. “No punishment will be enough. If I could go back and change everything, I would.”
  2. I am persuaded that the defendant is sincere and demonstrates insight into the crime.
  3. Allocution is very important, “I’d like to have a conversation with the defendant” …
  4. I want him/her to apologize to the victim and their family, mainly if they are in the courtroom.
  5. “Allocution, however, changes this when I see the defendant has insight into the harm they have done,” when I see they have insight into this.”
  6. “I am looking for remorse and insight as to why he did what he did and what he is doing to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

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

CHARACTER REFERENCE LETTER. These are letters to one’s character, they are aware that you have broken the law, and they have known you for a long time. Should an employer be willing to write a letter that states they are still willing to rehire you after release from prison due to your ‘character and skills’ – that is a Great letter and should be included.

EXAMPLE. The ‘writer’ states that they know that you are in trouble and facing federal charges and that you feel terrible about what you did. They have known you for 40+ years, “We went to college together, and this is so out of character,” and you are so remorseful.

I know that he/she won’t be back to this court because we will be looking out for them in the future, and we will hold them accountable.

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

My 30+ years in practice, and experience in the BOP, have provided me with the answers to almost all of your questions and concerns about how to craft your Sentence Mitigation Strategy.

For Free,

  • On my website, YouTube channel, Podcast, and various other social media venues you may find the tools you need to do this on your own.
  • Whether using these free services, or engaging me, or someone else, please get experienced assistance.
    • This will impact your future through your Presentence Report and will influence the actions of your Judge (Your 1st  STAKEHOLDER), and
    • Other STAKEHOLDERS as you move through the prison on your pathway home.

Once you are incarcerated, expect that life in The Federal BOP will come with,

  • Promises are made and broken, timelines are not kept, and sometimes rules are broken.
  • Having been in prison, despair, discomfort, frustration, and the like will become all too frequent and familiar, but this is all Temporary.
  • Therefore the only person who can control your reactions to all of this, and this person is you, so work at keeping positive and humble, focusing your efforts on the goal of getting home.

Remember that no consultant or attorney, can promise any special relationship with any judge, or any outcome if it sounds too easy or too good to be true, then Next. This takes hard work, and Self-Advocacy on your part.

Let’s take the next step together and answer your questions. Marc 



    1. The first Expert You Need is a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Federal Court. Next, they should be experienced in working cases similar to yours, and most importantly, You Should Feel Comfortable with them accepting advice from you, as you hold each other accountable.
    2. Personal Narrative. Your only opportunity to speak directly to the Judge and share your personal history, accept responsibility, and remorse, and explain why you will not revisit this courtroom again. This can be in written, video, or both formats.
    3. Allocution. This is the Judges 1st and only time to meet and speak with you – he really does not want to see you back in this courtroom on a criminal matter, again. 
    4. Release/Reentry Planning 
    5. Preparation for Early Release
    6. Pre-Surrender Reminder List 
    7. Self-Surrender List (What You Can Bring) 
    8. Financial Responsibility Program (FRP). Guidance as to what makes a great Character Letter Recommendation – From People That Have Known You.
    9. Character Reference letters
    10. Preparation for The Sentencing Hearing
    11. Preparation for Your Presentence Interview
    12. Preparing for your 1st Day In Prison
    13. Sentence Mitigation Video (Helpful, this can be professionally done with us, or with a smartphone)
    14. Instructions on the Administrative Remedy Process, as the BOP encourages its use, and attorneys will not be inside with you.
    15. BOP Visitor Form
    16. BOP TRULINCS Email
    17. Sample BOP Commissary List

How To Avoid A Medical CoPayment.


  1. Public Safety Factors vs Management Variables (Approximate),
  2. Criminal History vs Offense Level (Approximate)

Your Probation Officer will be scoring you, it makes sense that you be prepared, as this could impact your sentence and placement.

III) PREPARATION For Your Presentence Interview and optimal BOP Placement Facility with supporting BOP Programs

The Presentence Interview is done by the Courts Representative, The Probation Officer (PO), who will try to learn as much about your as they can – in a short period of time. After they have spoken with The Prosecutor and Googled You, they will have learned all of the Negative Information available online, provided by the DOJ. Then they will concentrate on conducting their Presentence Interview of you, followed by their Investigation.

After they have assembled your biographical background information, they will write your official Presentence Report, and passed to the Judge, along with recommendations regarding your sentencing and placement.

  1. First, your legal team is currently prepping for the date of your Presentence Interview.
    • They work to establish 1st contact with your Probation Officer (PO) before they learn more about you, so they are not biased against you – before you ever meet,
    • They will quickly learn 1) what the Officer knows, 2) provides the opportunity to explain their client’s defense strategy, 3) you now have a timeline regarding The Interview Date, along with the Documents you need, and 4) The Dictation Date Deadline – which is when their final Presentence Report of you is due to their supervisor.
  2. You begin to assemble your Biographical Information
    • Highest education level achieved
    • Identification documentation
    • Character Letters
    • Past and First Work Character Letters
    • Military Service, what branch, type of discharge, and highest rank.
    • Past Medical (and Mental Healthcare) Care History
      • Comprehensive Medical and Mental Healthcare Profile Development 
        • Mental Healthcare needs directly matched to FSA Specific Programs
        • Your Medication list checked for availability according to the BOP 3 Tier Formulary
  3.  Pregnancy:
  4. RDAP Eligible, if yes – include it, there are minimal negative repercussions.
  5. 18 U.S. Code § 3553 – The imposition of a Sentence, addressing other factors could be considered.
  6. COVID Modified Operational Levels ( for those concerned who are self-surrendering 2022/2023
  7. Also, answering the question regarding, who listens to the ‘AM’ Radio Station: W.I.I.F.M., all the time?
  8. I provide you and your legal team with; 1) a personalized, court-ready BOP Placement Packet, and 2) supporting reasons for the request, with the appropriate documentation; Medical Care, First Step Act Programming, or other pertinent issues. (Example – Alderson)
  9. A Surrender list of what to bring, and a Pre-Surrender Checklist of what to prepare for you and your family

IV) Our Presentence Investigation Report

We can also provide an “alternative presentence investigation report” for the defense so that it can be submitted to the court for consideration. This may also include the expense of additional experts.

V) When To Make Your BOP PLacement Request To The Court 


Learn CPR – Save Lives – Hands-Only (30 sec)

It could be yours, a friend, a stranger, or a relative.


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

We are not Attorneys, you need legal representation.

There is no implied or otherwise guaranteed final prison placement, medical and medication availability, or program enrollment.

Dr. M Blatstein

Comments are closed.