By Christopher Zoukis
A growing and troubling trend has emerged within the prison consulting industry: persons spending time in prison, being released, and opening their doors as prison consultants, when they really have no business doing so in the first place. This also applies to attorneys who have no real experience with the Federal Bureau of Prisons or state departments of correction, yet still advertise that they can assist with in-prison matters. While there are a few glowing examples of how this can work out for the best (Brandon Sample and Michael Santos are two examples of ex-prisoners, and Alan Ellis and Todd Bussert are examples of attorneys who know what they are doing), there are also firms which operate on hope, fear, and a swindler’s charm. One of the areas these swindlers profit immensely from is in allegedly brokering transfers for currently incarcerated inmates. This interview serves as a warning against such swindlers, and aims to alert Prison Law Blog readers as to how the process actually works and how federal prisoners themselves can attempt to effect prison transfers on their own.
Jack Donson is the president of My Federal Prison Consultants (www.MFPCLLC.com). During his career as a Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Case Manager and Case Management Coordinator (CMC), Jack was an integral part of the prison transfer process. Currently, in Jack’s consulting business, he has come across many family members of prisoners who are concerned for their loved ones and have been scammed by nefarious “prison consultants.” Due to this growing trend, he has asked to speak publicly about this matter, and the Prison Law Blog is glad to provide the platform for him to do so.
Christopher Zoukis: To start, please introduce yourself again to the Prison Law Blog readership.
Jack Donson: My name is Jack Donson. I retired from Federal Bureau of Prisons’ in 2011 after a 23-year career as case manager and case management coordinator. Currently, my principle employment is as the President of My Federal Prison Consultants (www.MFPCLLC.com), a Manhattan-based prison consulting firm. I’m also the Director of Programs and Case Management at FedCURE, a Special Issues Chapter of Citizens United for the Reformation of Errants (CURE). In addition, I serve as Executive Director for a new advocacy organization called Out For Good (O4G) and serve on the corrections committees of the ABD and NACDL. I am very much plugged into the federal prison reform movement, legislation and the prison consulting arena.