by Daniel A. Rosen | December 26, 2021 The setting: Washington, D.C., Christmas Day, 2021. The Omicron wave of Covid infections has new cases climbing sharply across the city. The scene: A well-dressed middle-aged white man sits on the expansive front steps of a tony hotel in an upscale part of town, taking in the … Continue reading A D.C. Christmas Carol: Race and Class in a Divided City
My full statement from the Nov. 10 DC City Council hearing on "Conditions of Confinement at the DC Jail" by Daniel A. Rosen | COUNCILMEMBER CHARLES ALLEN, CHAIRPERSON COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY & PUBLIC SAFETY PUBLIC OVERSIGHT ROUNDTABLE Conditions of Confinement at the D.C. Jail Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. … Continue reading Public Testimony | Daniel Rosen
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)
by Daniel A. Rosen | Maybe starting with math is a bad idea, but here goes: In Virginia, keeping the average inmate in prison costs the state about $30,000 per year; in some states like New York and California, it's twice that much. Inmates over 50 years old with chronic health conditions often cost taxpayers … Continue reading The Punishment Economy: Who Wins, Who Loses
Roll up your pants legs, this sh*t is about to get kind of deep. Sometimes I wonder how long it’ll take before every other thought isn’t about prison. And the answer probably is: until I stop giving prison all that free space in my head to define and dictate the ways I move in the world.
by Daniel A. Rosen | September 27, 2022 *Between The World and Me, Ta-Nahesi Coates* *Les Misérables, Victor Hugo* *Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger* *East Of Eden, John Steinbeck* *The Sellout, Paul Beatty* *Fates And Furies, Lauren Groff* *A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara* *May We Be Forgiven, A.M. Homes* *A Manual for Cleaning Women, Lucia Berlin* … Continue reading Best of the Best
I’ve tried to capture all the titles I read while inside, mostly in order, but a couple of the lists were inevitably lost. I averaged a couple books a week – though it was more in jail (where there was less to do) and less in prison (where there was more to do). The titles are a real mix of classics, bestsellers, literature, and non-fiction. I was lucky that family and friends sent many of the good books that I requested, but sometimes you just read whatever you can get your hands on.
Miles and I first met in the jail. I noticed he had a Washington Post, a tough commodity to get in there and my preferred source of news. He was a friendly-enough looking “church guy,” so I approached to ask if he’d put me in line to read it (there’s always a line, in jail). Miles smiled broadly, called me “Brother,” and with just a word breathed a friendship into being.
by Daniel A. Rosen | March 14, 2022 “Miss D said you could help me find housing,” said the stranger on the other end of the phone. I had to chuckle; it sounded like something she’d say. “I’m no expert but I’ll try to pass on what I’ve learned,” I promised him. “I just got … Continue reading Home Alone: Reentry, Housing, Trauma, and Healing
by Daniel A. Rosen | January 20, 2022 MEMORANDUM TO: DC City Council & MORCA; All DC-Based Residential Reentry Organizations; DC Reentry Action Network (RAN) Members FROM: A Returning Citizen/Resident of a Residential Reentry Program (Jubilee House) SUBJECT: How NOT to Run a Residential Reentry Program Overview: Providing returning citizens with housing through residential reentry … Continue reading How NOT to Run a Residential Reentry Program
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
by Daniel A. Rosen | So, this is my first post from outside the walls, and I’ve been away from writing for a few months. This was written on a real laptop, from a real house (and a coffeeshop, and a hotel patio, and so on) in the real world. Everything in my life changed, … Continue reading Reentry, Revisited
by Daniel A. Rosen | Out there in the real world, time is the one thing no one has enough of. You can't buy or create more. In here, time is all you have. It's considered the enemy, the thing you dread, the commodity you find ways to kill, to waste, to purposefully squander. People … Continue reading Change of Plans: Thoughts on Six Years Behind Bars
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.
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
by Daniel A. Rosen | "America loves a crime story, because America is a crime story" - Promo for a recent season of Fargo.Sure, it's just a clever marketing campaign to get you to binge-watch more streaming television, but it also has the ring of deeper truth to it. Violence was part of our nation's … Continue reading True Crime
by Daniel A. Rosen | 79-year-old Beth Curtis has been nicknamed the "Mother Theresa of Pot Prisoners" for good reason. The self-described "incessant nag" has lobbied for years on behalf of those sentenced to life for marijuana offenses. She founded the website LifeforPot.com in 2009 to advocate for clemency for her brother John and people … Continue reading A Life Sentence For Pot? Not if Beth Curtis Can Help It
by Daniel A. Rosen | In the most comprehensive accounting to date of California's pretrial detention population, a recent CalMatters investigation found 8,600 inmates who'd been jailed for more than a year, and 1,300 jailed longer than three years without being tried or sentenced. More than a quarter of those 1,300 have actually been incarcerated … Continue reading Justice Delayed in California Jails
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
by Daniel A. Rosen | The construction of two massive new prisons in Alabama, to be built privately but leased and operated by the State corrections department, has hit financial roadblocks that may lead to the plan's demise. As of May, 2021, every element of the financing for the two new mega-prisons slated to hold … Continue reading Financing for New Alabama Prison Construction Scuttled After Backlash
by Daniel A. Rosen | Does more fresh air, sunlight, and space for rehabilitative programs mean a prison or jail is more humane? That's the question many architects are struggling with as expensive new facilities are built around the country. Architecture and design may be able to play a key role in criminal justice reform … Continue reading Architects Question Whether Building “More Humane” Prisons is Possible
by Daniel A. Rosen | At jails, prisons, and detention centers across Louisiana, in-custody deaths are not always made public. The state doesn't have a requirement to officially report on deaths behind bars, unlike many other states. As a result of this knowledge gap, the Loyola University law school has undertaken an effort to do … Continue reading Louisiana Law School Counts Deaths Behind Bars Because State Won’t
by Daniel A. Rosen | Other inmates have poked fun at me for my reading choices, but I don't pay them much mind; Larry McMurtry helped keep me sane during these years behind bars. Thankfully, I've found almost everything he's written on the shelves of the libraries where I've been locked up.I've read a lot … Continue reading When the Light Goes: An Elegy for Larry McMurtry
by Daniel A. Rosen | Illinois has become the first state in the country to completely eliminate the use of cash bail. The bill signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in February of 2021 was the result of a years-long effort by over 100 reform organizations, legislators, and the House Legislative Black Caucus to end a … Continue reading Illinois First State to Abolish Cash Bail
by Daniel A. Rosen | One day last summer, I was walking down the deserted school hallway late on a Friday afternoon. Near the gate at the end sat two fifty-something-year-old Black inmates who worked maintenance in the building; both lived in my cellblock, and we were friendly. They were just shooting the breeze, taking … Continue reading Birds of a Feather: That One Time I Was a Racist in Prison
by Daniel A. Rosen | Joseph Messere, a 68-year-old prisoner in Massachusetts, was just days away from death last December when his attorney got a phone call from state officials. The Parole Board and state corrections agency told David Apfel "we really want your client released as soon as possible." It was a remarkable change … Continue reading Massachusetts Medical Parole Avoids In-Custody Deaths From Covid