Prison bound? Try a coach to survive life behind bars

Bill Doane, a former New York prison inmate who served 26 years for stabbing a man in Brooklyn, offers to those who are headed inside the big house for the first time


By C1 Staff

NEW YORK — Sentenced to some time behind bars, but don’t think you can hack it? Try a prison coach, a consultant who’s survived behind bars and can teach you to do the same.

USA Today reports that Bill Doane, a former New York prison inmate who served 26 years for stabbing a man in Brooklyn, offers to those who are headed inside the big house for the first time.

Bill Doane of Prison Preparation Consultation Services served 26 years on a murder charge and now coaches people headed for prison on how not only to survive the experience, but how to make the most of it. (Photo Thane Grauel/The Journal News)
Bill Doane of Prison Preparation Consultation Services served 26 years on a murder charge and now coaches people headed for prison on how not only to survive the experience, but how to make the most of it. (Photo Thane Grauel/The Journal News)

Doane says that though there is violence, and there are stabbings, the stereotype of rampant homosexual rape is not common in New York facilities. He also says inmates don’t fall into the Hollywood stereotypes, such as musclebound black men pumping iron, Latinos with pencil-thin mustaches, or white supremacists with tattoos and shaved heads.

After being released a year ago, Doane has been counseling vets in Suffolk County and also works with Prison Preparation Consultation Services. Most of their clients are of the white-collar variety.

The prison coaching business was started by Joey Petrucelli of Scarsdale, NY, who served 19 years for a fatal shooting outside a night club in 1993.

Petrucelli and Doane meet not only with the future inmate, but also their family.

They advise new prisoners to get GEDs and take classes to qualify for certain jobs. The education can make a huge difference in making 55 cents a day and earning $1.55 a day.

They also encourage prisoners to be mentors, calling it a form of protection.

“A mentor is an asset,” says Doane. “You have value. It gives you a form of protection.”

Bu the time Petrucelli got out, he had taken most of the classes he needed for an assocaite’s degree from Bard College, and had training in air conditioning/refrigeration repair. He quickly landed a job, and then had the idea of putting his knowledge of the inside to use.

“Education is the key to the prison system,” he said. Without education, “they’re going to resort to crime again. It’s a cycle. Education is key.”

Doane disagrees with the belief that prisoners shouldn’t have access to training and education as part of their punishment.

“The punishment is not the bars, the walls,” he says. “It’s the isolation from the world. The alienation from your family, and the real truth is that you’ve thrown your life in the sewer.”

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