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Learn From Federal Judges

My name is Michael Santos. As part of my work to improve the outcomes of our nation’s criminal justice system, I have spoken with many federal judges. Two of those judges agreed to participate in a video interview. I asked them about steps a person could take to prepare in advance of sentencing. Listen and learn from what they said in the videos below. In the presentations, both judges spoke with me about the importance of character reference letters:

If you’re facing a sentencing hearing, we can help. Although we have a team of sentence-mitigation experts for people that want one-on-one consultations, we also offer digital courses for those who are prepared to do the work. Start by watching the videos on this page so that you’ll have an idea of why we can help you restore confidence as you start preparing for sentencing.

Prison Professors

Values-based, Goal-oriented Decisions Lead to Success


I came into the system and without an understanding of what to expect.


I saw the challenges and the pathway that I could take to begin preparing for success.


I put priorities in place to gradually conquer imprisonment to emerge successfully.

Digital Course: Get Instant Access to videos, lessons, and templates

Sentence Mitigation: What You Need to Know

How badly do you want to prepare for the best possible sanction at sentencing? 

Some people say they hope for leniency at sentencing. Yet many experts tell us that hope is not a strategy. I agree.

While serving 26 years in prison, I learned a great about preparing for sentencing. The insight came from interviews I’ve done with more than 1,000 people that faced sentencing. Besides the work in prison, I learned a great deal because of the work I’ve done with judges. This page includes videos that validate what I’ve learned from judges. 

Without exception, judges say that they want to hear from the people they’re about to sentence. Lawyers may make a compelling case. Yet the defendant’s preparations for sentencing will have the most influence on the judge.

Since Judges know the law, neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney will offer much in the way to sway the judge. Although sentencing guidelines are only advisory, judges will rely upon those sentencing guidelines as a starting point. Leniency, or a downward departure from the guideline range, will hinge on mitigation efforts that a defendant makes before sentencing. 

In our Sentence Mitigation course, participants get ten comprehensive modules to prompt them in building sentence-mitigation strategies. The strategy will help a person show the reasons why he or she is a worthy candidate for mercy. 

A defendant’s loved ones know why the person should not receive a severe sanction. But unless the defendant puts together a comprehensive sentence-mitigation strategy, the judge may not know. 

To help people who are facing the most challenging time of their lives, our team at Prison Professors has created this sentence-mitigation course. We encourage you to read through the materials, watch the videos, and use the critical-thinking questions to build a persuasive sentence-mitigation strategy. 

Watch the remaining videos on this page to learn why our team at Prison Professors is an excellent resource for you if you’re facing sentencing or prison.

Another Federal Judge Advises on Sentencing

Besides Judge Bennett, who gave us invaluable insight, we can also learn from Judge Bough, who speaks about the importance he places on a defendant’s preparation for sentencing. If you’re serious about wanting to work toward the best possible outcome, learn how best-practices for preparing.

About the Author

Michael Santos

I made bad decisions as a young man. They led me to prison with a 45-year sentence. With daily journals, I documented the journey. That methodical process led to a successful journey through prison and to building successful businesses upon my release. I created this journal to help other people prepare for success.

“Develop the will to prepare for success .

Invest in Yourself Before Sentencing 

If you’re facing a criminal charge, you’re in a critical time of your life. The decisions you make every day will have an enormous influence on your future. For that reason, our team at Prison Professors offers considerable amounts of information to help.

I was 20 years old when I began making decisions that led me into trouble with the law. Authorities arrested me in 1987 when I was 23. Had I understood more about the challenges ahead, I may have made better, more informed decisions.

Instead, I went through the judicial proceedings blindly. I did not know what options were available to me, and the lawyer I hired did not help. I am responsible for the bad decisions I made. By not understanding the system, I exposed myself to severe sanctions.

After a jury convicted me of all counts, a judge sentenced to 45 years in prison. Had I made better decisions, my sentence would have been far less.

Don’t go into a criminal charge blindly. Start preparing for sentencing immediately with our Preparation for Sentencing Course.

The video below will show more about my journey through 26 years in prison, and some of what I learned.

Download your Sentencing Preparation course now, and get instant access.


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