Greg Lindberg is the founder of Global Growth, a company that grew out of a simple observation about the world around him, turning a humble health insurance compliance and reimbursement newsletter for home health agencies into a billion-dollar business. It was his talent, dedication, and sweat equity that turned his idea into a resounding success, and a feat that would never have been possible without his acute business insight.
Yale-educated and a respected leader in his field, he found himself in an unusual position when he was sentenced to serve time at FPC Montgomery, a federal prison camp in Alabama. While his conviction was later vacated and he was released from prison after 633 days, Lindberg was determined to see this as a new opportunity in his life — and share his hard-earned knowledge with others who are impacted by the justice system.
“Being inside a federal prison,” he says, “you get a very good idea of how the justice system really works. You discover things you would never know otherwise. This information is not available anywhere online. This is a true reality from inside the federal prison system.”
Going to prison is like anything else in life: You can change your outlook on the matter if you choose to. This was an opportunity for Lindberg, as much as it was masked by the unfairness of it all. He no longer had to worry about the constant fires of his international company. While he certainly loved being a leader in the corporate world, he saw no reason why his skills couldn’t transfer to wherever he went. The difference is that he had more time to work on himself while he was in Montgomery.
“I would not trade my prison experience for anything,” he wrote in his new book, 633 Days Inside: Lessons on Life and Leadership. “Yes, I sorely missed my family and friends. But the experience was a necessary part of my character development and a necessary part of my life plan.”
Greg Lindberg’s new, eponymous series of YouTube videos consists of 15-minute testimonies about what he learned. He wants to tell his fellow “cellies” why he’s in better shape than he’s ever been. From his diet to his memory to his physical strength, he was able to capitalize on the time that he served, rather than get lost in the grief that comes from losing freedom.
As much as Lindberg learned about himself in prison, he knows that his story is far from the norm. There’s a lot to learn about the federal justice system, and it can really only be done from the inside.
Beyond crime shows and movie depictions, most people don’t know the intricacies of how legal professionals speak to the accused — what they’re promised, and what they actually receive in return for their cooperation. Lindberg was dismayed by how many prisoners were treated, and he’s hoping to wake people up to the underlying flaws inherent in the legal system.
To illustrate his point, he shares a story when promoting 633 Days Inside. One of his fellow prisoners, “Mr. X,” was involved in a security transaction, but the charge was relatively simple and straightforward. After reading the docket — a log with all the details of the case — Lindberg saw why both the prosecutor and the accused’s lawyer promised probation.
Lindberg recalls that Mr. X was recently married, and he assured his wife that he wouldn’t be sent away based on what he was told by his lawyer. However, the judge was fundamentally opposed to the idea, and instead sentenced him to 78 months in jail. The prisoner who’d been promised probation from both sides of the table found himself behind bars with very little hope.
The accused can take a plea deal, but it comes with a lot of strings. You can’t appeal the case.
“He got to FPC Montgomery and he was a total mess,” Lindberg says. And then his only option after taking a plea was to fight the Bureau of Prisons, and you can’t fight the BOP. Good luck with the BOP. Their mandate is to house prisoners, not decide their cases.
“You need to fight your case,” Lindberg cautions. “And [Mr. X] couldn’t fight his case anymore. So that man unfortunately was going to be down for probably about 60 months, the whole nine yards, really a shame. Beautiful human being, great heart.”
Lindberg didn’t take a plea deal which might have brought him a shorter sentence because he didn’t want to give up his rights to appeal. Unlike many of his fellow inmates, he could afford the millions of dollars it cost him to mount a defense. He did not know how long he would be in prison, but he knew he wouldn’t rest until he cleared his name. After his personal experience, he encourages people to fight. And in his 15-minute testimonies on YouTube, he educates anyone who wants a better life on how to take advantage of their circumstances — whether they’re a literal or metaphorical prisoner.
Greg Lindberg was forced to leave his young children behind when he went into custody, he missed his dad’s funeral, and he had to clean toilets throughout his time in prison. However, he was able to keep a positive attitude throughout it all, and his fellow prisoners were eager to hear his take on the matter.
Lindberg made a promise to himself that when he got out, he would help educate anyone who would listen, turning “losers” into leaders and making it easier for people to find health and confidence. Lindberg goes into detail about this in the tell-all, and to spread the word to those who need it most, he’s made the tome available free of charge to prisoners and their families.
How Lindberg Is Fighting Injustice
In 2020, Lindberg founded a nonprofit called Interrogating Justice to aid those impacted by the criminal justice system, including not only those who are accused but also their families and friends. If Mr. X knew that the judge was likely to give him a harsher sentence than the one recommended by prosecutors, he might have handled his case very differently. He might not have become so despondent that he lashed out at the guards and got himself sent to a much stricter facility.
“The surprising truth about prison is that your fellow inmates are incredibly supportive,” he wrote in 633 Days Inside. “They are a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and you learn very quickly to listen. Prisoners support each other. That is one of the most important rules in prison. Inmates stick together.”