St. Louis Corrections Officer Has History of Taser Abuse

by Daniel A. Rosen | A captain with the St. Louis County Justice Center is under investigation for potentially inappropriate use of a Taser in several recent cases. In May, a Taser was employed to subdue a woman in crisis with a history of mental illness. In June, the same captain used a Taser to … Continue reading St. Louis Corrections Officer Has History of Taser Abuse

Teen Spends 17 Months In Mississippi Jail Without Indictment

by Daniel A. Rosen | A sixteen-year-old in Mississippi has spent almost a year and a half in an adult jail without being indicted. And his case is by no means unique; thousands more in the state are caught in the same circumstance. There are no laws in Mississippi limiting the amount of time defendants … Continue reading Teen Spends 17 Months In Mississippi Jail Without Indictment

COVID-19 Update from Greensville Correctional Center, Virginia

by Daniel A. Rosen | I'm here at Virginia's largest facility, the Greensville Correctional Center in southern VA. This place holds up to 3000 inmates, and I've heard it's the largest state prison on the East Coast. On August 7th, we went on lockdown for the second time in four months. There were just too … Continue reading COVID-19 Update from Greensville Correctional Center, Virginia

ICE Detainees Pepper Sprayed Over Hunger Strike

by Daniel A. Rosen | Migrants in ICE custody in New Mexico were attacked with pepper spray in May to end a days-long hunger strike. The detainees, housed at a private facility run by CoreCivic in Torrance County, were protesting the food quality and lack of protection from COVID-19. "Suddenly they just started gassing us. … Continue reading ICE Detainees Pepper Sprayed Over Hunger Strike

Pepper Spraying Mentally Ill Jail Inmates Conformed to Rules, Says Maine DOC

by Daniel A. Rosen | Two pepper spray incidents in early 2019 at Maine's Cumberland County Jail raised questions of propriety and led to a review by the State Department of Corrections. In each case, the Maine DOC concluded that jail staff followed "expected practices" when subduing the inmates with chemical irritants. Both inmates were … Continue reading Pepper Spraying Mentally Ill Jail Inmates Conformed to Rules, Says Maine DOC

Virginia’s Special Legislative Session Must Address Real Justice Reform

by Daniel A. Rosen | On August 18, Virginia's State Assembly will hold a special legislative session that's likely to be historic. Originally scheduled to take up budget issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, it now will focus on a range of other public safety issues, given the recent social unrest following George Floyd's murder. … Continue reading Virginia’s Special Legislative Session Must Address Real Justice Reform

Public Safety Can’t Be Purchased With Police and Prisons

by Daniel A. Rosen | When I watched the video of George Floyd's murder from my prison cell, my first instinct was sheer outrage, like people of conscience everywhere. My second thought: If cameras were as prevalent in prison as on the street, the public might see many more men of color who can't breathe, … Continue reading Public Safety Can’t Be Purchased With Police and Prisons

Former Inmates Are Running for Office in 2020

by Daniel A. Rosen When those who have been incarcerated run for elected office, they can speak with authority about prison reform. They bring credibility that others simply can't. In 2020, more ex-inmates than ever are coming out of the shadows and running for office, viewing their time behind bars as an asset. They're bringing … Continue reading Former Inmates Are Running for Office in 2020

Defund the Police Shows: “Cops” Is Gone and “Law and Order” Should Be Next

by Daniel A. Rosen | The theme song is catchy and instantly recognizable - and it’s part of the problem. The criminals are the "bad boys," and the hero cops are coming for them. After 33 seasons, "Cops" was temporarily pulled off the air in late May when protests about George Floyd's death gained momentum. … Continue reading Defund the Police Shows: “Cops” Is Gone and “Law and Order” Should Be Next

The ‘Blue Normal’: Doing the Math on Policing and Justice in America

by Daniel A. Rosen | I'm sitting here in my prison cell, watching the protests on TV and doing some quick math. Every year in this country, according to the Washington Post, roughly a thousand men and women die at the hands of police. About half of them - 500 people - are unarmed. And … Continue reading The ‘Blue Normal’: Doing the Math on Policing and Justice in America

COVID Status: Code Red – Report from a Prison Cell

by Daniel A. Rosen | I'm an inmate at the Greensville Correctional Center in southern Virginia, the state's largest prison with over 3,000 inmates. Until now, we'd been spared much of the chaos engulfing other prisons - no inmates were reported positive for COVID-19 and only a handful of guards had been confirmed cases. All … Continue reading COVID Status: Code Red – Report from a Prison Cell

Barr to Governors: You Answer to Me Now

by Daniel A. Rosen | According to a recent Associated Press article (Barr to Prosecutors: Look for Unconstitutional Virus Rules, Michael Balsamo, April 27, 2020) Attorney General William Barr "ordered federal prosecutors across the U.S. to identify coronavirus-related restrictions from state and local governments 'that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of … Continue reading Barr to Governors: You Answer to Me Now

The Realities of Recidivism in Virginia

by Daniel A. Rosen | In early February this year, the Virginia Department of Corrections sent out a self-congratulatory press release claiming that the Commonwealth has the lowest three-year recidivism rate in the country, at just over 23 percent. My fellow inmates and I find that figure not at all credible; we know they've massaged … Continue reading The Realities of Recidivism in Virginia

The ‘Perfect Storm’ of Dysfunction in American Prisons

by Daniel A. Rosen | Last year, Attorney General William Barr attributed Jeffrey Epstein's suicide in prison to a "perfect storm of screw-ups" that resulted in his ability to take his own life. By this we understood him to mean that guards were derelict in making their rounds, and a cellmate who might have raised … Continue reading The ‘Perfect Storm’ of Dysfunction in American Prisons

Virginia’s Justice System is Not ‘Working’

by Daniel A. Rosen | In early January, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proposed three modest changes to the state's criminal laws in advance of the Assembly's 2020 legislative session. All three common-sense reforms were passed and signed into law, though not without significant friction and controversy. The more serious justice reforms proposed during this Assembly … Continue reading Virginia’s Justice System is Not ‘Working’

Rape, Overdose, and Suicide: A Week of Dysfunction in Prison

by Daniel A. Rosen | Attorney General William Barr recently characterized Jeffrey Epstein's death in prison as the product of a "perfect storm of screw-ups" and "serious irregularities." As if only some unforeseeable and unpredictable machinations could have produced such a result. But at the prison where I reside, in one week alone in early … Continue reading Rape, Overdose, and Suicide: A Week of Dysfunction in Prison