Just Another Day on the Calendar? My First Post-Prison Thanksgiving

by Daniel A. Rosen | Like most holidays in prison, Thanksgiving isn’t much to write home about. Just another day on the calendar you want to see pass to bring you closer to your release date – albeit one where you get fed decently. In the free world, the holiday means family, friends, gratitude, and … Continue reading Just Another Day on the Calendar? My First Post-Prison Thanksgiving

Short-Handed? Have I Got a Guy For You.

by Daniel A. Rosen | Everywhere you look, signs say: "Now Hiring" and "Apply Within." News reports air nightly about businesses that can't reopen because they're understaffed. Teenagers and college kids are getting good jobs that they'd normally never be considered for. But if you've got a felony record, that sign out front often says: … Continue reading Short-Handed? Have I Got a Guy For You.

Undue Process: Thoughts on Bill Cosby’s Overturned Conviction

by Daniel A. Rosen | Bill Cosby surely celebrated his new-found independence this 4th of July at his Philadelphia mansion - the same place where he raped dozens of women over the years. Unfortunately, 2.3 million other Americans - about half of them black, and the vast majority of them poor - marked the holiday … Continue reading Undue Process: Thoughts on Bill Cosby’s Overturned Conviction

Mass Incarceration Is Not Inevitable

by Daniel A. Rosen | Sitting here in my prison cell tonight, I'm wondering: What will it take to end America's addiction to mass incarceration? For decades, too many powerless people were stuffed down the yawning maw of this greedy beast until 2.3 million of our fellow citizens languished in its distended belly. Millions more … Continue reading Mass Incarceration Is Not Inevitable

The Punishment Economy: Winners and Losers in the Business of Mass Incarceration (May 2021 PLN Cover)

by Daniel A. Rosen | "This is an industry that profits from human suffering."-- David Fathi, Director, ACLU National Prison ProjectStarting with math may be a bad idea, but numbers help tell this story: In Virginia, keeping the average prisoner behind bars costs taxpayers about $30,000 per year; in some states like New York or … Continue reading The Punishment Economy: Winners and Losers in the Business of Mass Incarceration (May 2021 PLN Cover)

The 3 R’s: Reentry, Recidivism, and Reality

by Daniel A. Rosen | The PBS Newshour's excellent series "Searching for Justice" aired a piece recently about how difficult it can be for returning citizens to secure valid photo identification ("How Obtaining ID Can Complicate the Road From Prison," February 16, 2021). As one longtime inmate and recent parolee said of the state bureaucracy, … Continue reading The 3 R’s: Reentry, Recidivism, and Reality

“Let Them Eat Dog Food”: Nutrition and Health Behind Bars

by Daniel A. Rosen | Meghan McCain, the Republican Party's resident Marie Antoinette, casually said this on "The View" recently: "He's a criminal - he should eat dog food!" She was talking about Jake Angeli, the so-called "Q-Anon Shaman" who hails from her home state of Arizona, and was arrested after leading the siege of … Continue reading “Let Them Eat Dog Food”: Nutrition and Health Behind Bars

What Early Vaccinations Mean to Prison Inmates

by Daniel A. Rosen | Recent news reports have informed those of us incarcerated in Virginia that the COVID-19 vaccine is coming soon - we'll be part of Group 1B sometime in January, apparently. According to those same reports, some Virginians are angry that inmates would be put in line ahead of the general public. … Continue reading What Early Vaccinations Mean to Prison Inmates

On the Election of Joe Biden: Impressions of a Former Senate Intern

by Daniel A. Rosen | I don't know if I'm the only one of Joe Biden's former interns serving time in prison, but I'm sure it's not a long list. During my junior year of college at UCLA, I took off school for a quarter to intern in Joe Biden's Senate office in Washington, D.C. … Continue reading On the Election of Joe Biden: Impressions of a Former Senate Intern

The Murder of Mercy: Attacking Virginia’s Parole Board

by Daniel A. Rosen | A young black man named Vincent Lamont Martin killed a white police officer named Michael Patrick Connors in November of 1979. Martin served 37 years in prison as a result. He was supposed to walk out of the Nottoway Correctional Center on May 11, after being granted parole on Good … Continue reading The Murder of Mercy: Attacking Virginia’s Parole Board

Tear Down These Walls: A Justice Reform Agenda for the Biden Administration

by Daniel A. Rosen | "This moment calls for structural change and transformative change." -Patrice Cullors, BLM Co-founder | As the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism came to a head in 2020, the Trump Administration had an opportunity in an election year to provide real leadership and demonstrate that people's lives mattered. They … Continue reading Tear Down These Walls: A Justice Reform Agenda for the Biden Administration

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

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

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