Mark E. Roseman

Author, Expert & Speaker

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Cell phones in prison inmates’ hands are a problem. During my term at Ironwood State Prison (2003–2005), inmates did not have cell phones, and I never imagined cell phones’ being used by inmates. Outgoing phone calls were allowed only on prison phones, after evening chow, and only after the inmate had signed up to make a call at a specific time.… Read the rest

AB 1008 Becomes Law in California

Assembly Bill (AB) 1008 is California’s extended Ban-the-Box law. It is an antidiscrimination employment law. I discussed the bill in Ban the Box and called for its enactment into law. The law is well intended but flawed. The reasoning behind Ban the Box is not complicated; it forces the removal of this question from job applications: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Without the question, it was argued, formerly incarcerated people can be evaluated the same as other applicants, without immediately being tainted by having a felony record.… Read the rest

I wonder what the big prison reform issue is going to be in 2018. As I see it, there are three categories of reform issues to watch: preincarceration (bail and sentencing), incarceration (overcrowding and rehabilitation), and postincarceration (reentry and employment). This post focuses on incarceration—more specifically, the retention of inmates in private prisons.… Read the rest

As I review my 2017 posts, I cannot help but notice that my subject matter is influenced by current events filtered through the lens of prison reform issues. Reform affects all socioeconomic classes, both genders, most ages, and all races. This reality makes prison reform a far-reaching governmental arch over human conduct.… Read the rest

I’m often asked what prison is like. That broad question can be approached in many ways, and I rephrase it in my mind as: “What does prison feel like?”

When feelings are part of a conversation, solid connections are made. To communicate at this level, identifying a life experience equivalency with whom I’m talking helps.… Read the rest

Some laws are oppressive to low-income people facing criminal prosecution. An example is California Penal Code section 1203.016. This law, effective since January 1, 2015, enables California’s fifty-eight counties to deliver poor people to corporations that then profit from the human misery of these people, men and women who are charged with crimes and stuck in jail.… Read the rest

Skin Deep: Looking Beyond the Tattoos is a book you absorb through your eyes and into your heart. This 176-page coffee table book is a thoughtful catalog of stunning photographs of formerly incarcerated people and their self-disclosures about their tattoos. Twenty-seven people are presented in two striking visuals: heavily tattooed and digitally retouched without their prison ink.… Read the rest

I remember meeting my first state-raised inmate. It was on the yard, walking the track at Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, California. State-raised refers to a person who has spent more time incarcerated than not.

Anthony was twenty-six years old, small in stature, socially awkward, and eager for recognition. He joined me walking the track one day—walking the track was a good time to talk in relative privacy—and he seized the opportunity.… Read the rest

The media is inundated with stories about sexual harassment involving public figures. These stories are not new news; sexual harassment, assault, and abuse of females are sorry chapters within the patchwork history of the human condition. Sexualization of girls and women can have unexpected long-term results that derail lives: it can result in victims’ being incarcerated in a system of blind justice.… Read the rest

The money bail system is immoral. Studies show the system discriminates by economic status and race. A scholarly analysis of this immorality is set forth in The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America. One study cited by the authors suggests that defendants who were detained prior to trial—because they could not afford bail—received sentences that were more punitive than those of people who could afford bail.… Read the rest

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