Mark E. Roseman

Author, Expert & Speaker

my-return-to-california-institute-for-men-cimI was incarcerated for two years from October 2003 to November 2005. Following is a review of my October 12, 2013, journal entry:

 

I returned to CIM, a California prison in Chino—this time as a visitor. My buddy Marcus, whom I met at Ironwood State Prison, has been my pen pal since I left in November 2005.… Read the rest

mother-nature-nurtures-inmatesIn a recent blog I wrote about the dank, colorless, and claustrophobic environment of imprisonment. A one-word description of jail and prison decoration is “austere.” There’s no color. There’s certainly no charm. Jumpsuits are blue with gold lettering, and inmates dress in many shades of gray. Because colors adopted by gangs can cause flash-point combat, all primary colors and gradations thereof are restricted.… Read the rest

prison-bound-check-your-claustrophobia-at-the-sally-portMy recent MRI stirred up memories of passing through a sally port (controlled entryway) and living in a prison cell. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a system that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take detailed images of the interior of the body. Lying on my back, noise-muffling ear gear in place, I was slowly inserted into a large tube after having been admonished not to move by the technician in charge.… Read the rest

The Race Card—A Potential for DisasterI kept a journal in prison. Writing made me feel safe. I captured parts of days that interested me, humored me, or frightened me. The entries about fear reflected my feeling out of control when I expected a negative event. At times I witnessed the wheels of authority edge toward a potential race riot on the yard.… Read the rest

Two Known Channels for ChangeInmates’ voices are muted by the cloak of incarceration. The prison system has no complaint departments. When you complain about having only four minutes to eat a meal, the sickly cynical response of guards is “if you don’t like prison, don’t come here.” Play that around in your brain a few times and see what it feels like.… Read the rest

What Does Prison Reform MeanWhat does prison reform mean to you? What does it mean to your friends, the general public, issue-aware people, and inmates? The connotations are fluid and depend on the depth of knowledge or caring a person has about why prison reform is an imperative.

There are several categories of people who have strong, visceral feelings about what prison reform should look like.… Read the rest

VoteMost people have no idea whether offenders (ex-cons) have the right to vote. My barber, who knows a lot of things about a lot of stuff, made the wrong assumption about me. “How can an ex-con,” she said in her caring tone, “vote? Didn’t you lose your right to vote and to run for president?” I think she’s right about the running-for-president part, but she’s wrong about California ex-cons not having renewed voting rights.… Read the rest

Not about Nightingales—A Play about an AtrocityTennessee Williams’ Not about Nightingales is about a prison atrocity. Written in 1938, the play was originally titled The Rest is Silence: This play is dedicated to the memory of four men who died by torture in an American prison, August 1938. The events portrayed in the play are real. Not about Nightingales was inspired by newspaper accounts of atrocities in a Pennsylvania prison and written when Williams was just twenty-seven years old.… Read the rest

Take your Kid to PrisonVisits from family and friends impact positively on an inmate’s well-being. Detachment from friends and family—in particular one’s children—is devastating and works on the mind, invading the realm of self-esteem. “If I’m not worthy of visitation, what good am I? What kind of parent am I?” I’ve heard that sentiment from distraught men time and again.… Read the rest

Held Captive for ProfitOur dysfunctional justice system and greed provide a foundation for for-profit prisons. What are for-profit prisons? Also called private prisons, they are places where inmates are physically confined—incarcerated—by private companies that contract with states or the federal government to alleviate overcrowding in their respective prison systems. These private companies fill a need created by cruel conviction and sentencing practices, high rates of recidivism, illegal immigration allegations, and the continuing war on drugs.… Read the rest

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