Welcome to the Course

On the one hand, we’re thrilled that you’ve purchased our character-reference course. On the other hand, we’re saddened that you’re in this predicament. 

My name is Michael Santos. Along with my partner, and everyone on our team, we’re here to help. We know the trauma of facing challenges with the criminal justice system. 

In this welcome lesson, we reveal why we thought it necessary to write a character-reference course. 

As you may have read or heard, many citizens agree that mass incarceration represents one of the greatest social injustices of our time. Not only have we personally gone through the system, we’ve also worked with more than 1,000 people that were similarly situated. Through his one-on-one consulting practice, my partner Justin routinely speaks with people that face sentencing hearings. When it comes to getting ready, more often than not, those people wish that they had contacted him sooner to start preparations. 

They didn’t know what to do. Then, they didn’t have sufficient time to get everything done. 

All too often, people come into the system without any understanding of what’s happening—or what steps they can take to get a better outcome. As experts have said, the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. If they don’t understand the road ahead, they don’t know what turns they can take along the path to influence the earliest exit from this mess. 

When authorities charge people with criminal wrongdoing, their status changes. All of a sudden, those people become defendants. When people become defendants, they feel as if they’re going through an out-of-body experience. They don’t understand how they got into the predicament. They don’t identify with press reports of their criminal wrongdoing. They feel lost, out of sorts, and rely upon defense attorneys to guide them. Prosecutors, probation officers, and other bureaucrats seem to be pulling the strings. 

In that frame of mind, it’s difficult to launch a coordinated campaign to ask for letters of support. Given the ugliness of the predicament, people don’t know how to ask others for help with character reference letters. Yet character reference letters can have an enormous influence on the sentencing process. When judges see that law-abiding citizens know, like, and trust someone—even after authorities have charged that person with a crime—they take notice. Endorsements from others can influence a more lenient sentence. 

According to government statistics, when prosecutors bring charges in federal court, a sentencing hearing follows more than 70 percent of the time. Out of every ten people that face charges, judges will sentence seven of them. 

You have the power within to work toward a better outcome. One step you can take is to follow the guidance in our character-reference course. 

In the next lesson, we offer insight into our background. If you already have information about Justin and me, skip the next lesson and move on to get started with the course.