Meet the ex-con helping those facing time over US college admissions scandal with what to expect inside jail

Actors, medical professionals and other rich and famous Americans are using a criminal turned prison consultant to help them navigate the US justice system and gear them up to face potential prison time.

He's staunchly not a lawyer, but Larry Levine reckons he knows more about the sector than most staff in law enforcement.

He told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning he has been hired by three high-profile clients in the college admission scandals where parents allegedly paid thousands of US dollars to get their children into good schools.

Levine has served nine years for narcotics trafficking, fraud, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. But now he's frequently interviewed by all the big networks in the US about high-profile criminals and prison escapes.

Desperate Housewives star Felcity Huffman will be sentenced in September after yesterday pleading guilty in the college admissions cheating scam, while other celebrities including actress Lori Loughlin, designer Mossimo Giannulli, CEOs and medical professionals are also some of the 50 people involved.

Levine wouldn't reveal to Breakfast the names of those he's been hired to help in the case, but said he has three clients - a healthcare professional, an educator and "somebody, I'm not quite sure what they do, I think they're a money launderer".

His job was to prepare people facing prison by teaching them appropriate etiquette and what to expect, as well as helping them understand charges and plea deals, and getting them into programmes which could potentially reduce sentences.

"The lawyers, they really don't care. I don't care how much you're paying your lawyer - your lawyer has never spent one day behind the fence inside of a cell, he doesn't know, he just wants to plead you out, take your money and be done with you."

People confided in Levine so much he refers to himself as a cross between a marriage counsellor, a life coach, a priest and a psychiatrist. "I'm kind of like their travel agent, nobody wants to go to a bad prison."

In the college admissions case, prosecutors are recommending a four month sentence for Ms Huffman which Levine says is "nothing".

"Maybe she'll do two months inside, they'll throw her in a halfway house or home confinement for two months; potentially a fine. She's not really gonna hard time it, not at all."

However, since she has two children involved, who also may have known about the scandal, and paid US$500,000 bond, Ms Loughlin could potentially go to a real prison. "She has something to worry about and she's in denial," Levine said.

"First of all, you're entering a brand new world you know nothing about ... first thing you do when you walk onto a [prison] yard is you keep your mouth shut, you take a look around, you show respect, you get respect," he said of his advice to people sentenced to prison time.

He teaches people how to deal with gangs, staff members and more importantly how to get a good job and get into a programme that could reduce their time inside.

"I teach these people etiquette and respect. Do not violate other people's rights, do not get in people's faces, don't sit on people's bunks, do not pick up other people's personal belongings."

Your playlist will load after this ad

Larry Levine explains how he prepares people to face prison, understand charges and reduce sentences in the US justice system. Source: Breakfast