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Articles by Daniel A. Rosen

Death, Neglect and Despair in U.S. Tribal Jails

by Daniel A. Rosen

An investigation conducted by the Mountain West News Bureau and NPR recently found that at least 19 men and women have died in the past five years in tribal jails overseen by the Interior Department, among other serious problems in the detention centers.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) oversees more than 70 tribal detention centers spread across the U.S. Officials there have known about the mistreatment of prisoners, in-custody deaths, inhumane conditions, attempted suicides, and other problems at least since 2004, when a federal investigation revealed the issues. The Interior Department’s own inspector general called the prisons a “national disgrace.”

Several of the 19 deaths in just the past five years came after guards failed to provide timely medical care. And many of the arrestees were in custody for minor infractions like petty theft or breaking open container laws. The BIA has refused to release details of some deaths, even after multiple requests.

NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau recently conducted dozens of interviews with investigators, lawmakers, law enforcement, and victim’s families, and reviewed hundreds of pages of records including lawsuits, jail logs, autopsy reports, and internal government reports—and found that the same problems ...

Immigration Detention Contracts Cancelled in Georgia and Massachusetts

by Daniel A. Rosen

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently ordered two civil immigration detention facilities closed and terminated the contracts for both. DHS said the Carreiro Detention Center in Bristol County, Massachusetts and the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia were “no longer operationally necessary,” according to an agency official.

Both centers have been the subject of complaints about the conditions of confinement. The Massachusetts jail has been accused of inhumane conditions, abuse and neglect of detainees, and overcrowding. The Georgia facility was accused of failing to follow COVID-19 protocols, and abusive medical practices.

In announcing the closures, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “Allow me to state one foundational principle: We will not tolerate the mistreatment of individuals in civil immigration detention or substandard conditions of detention.” Mayorkas went on to say that “We have an obligation to make lasting improvements to our civil immigration detention system. This marks an important first step to realizing that goal.”

In Massachusetts, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has come under federal scrutiny for its management of the ICE contract. The state’s Attorney General, Maura Healey, also found in a 2020 report that the BCSO violated the rights of ...

Federal BOP Overwhelmingly Denies Compassionate Releases During COVID

by Daniel A. Rosen

Throughout the pandemic, The Marshall Project (TMP) has done thorough and comprehensive reporting about the impact of COVID in prisons and on prisoners. Staff writers Joseph Neff and Keri Blakinger recently looked at the statistics on compassionate release for federal prisoners during the pandemic and came ...

Lawsuit Over Alabama Private Mega-Prison Leases Dismissed

by Daniel A. Rosen

An Alabama judge recently ruled on a legal challenge seeking to block Governor Kay Ivey’s plan to lease three new privately-built mega-prisons in the state, siding with the Governor. Republican State Auditor Jim Ziegler and others had sued to block the leases, claiming they were an ...

Illinois First State to Abolish Cash Bail

Justice Delayed in California Jails: Lengthy Pretrial Imprisonment Common

Louisiana Law School Counts Deaths Behind Bars Because State Won’t

As a result of this knowledge gap, the Loyola University law school has undertaken an ...

Orange County California Jail Guard Investigated for Burning Mentally Ill Prisoner

Twenty days after the incident in April, 2021, the Sheriff’s department submitted the case to the county’s ...

Connecticut Makes All Prison Communications Free, Makes History

Connecticut made history on June 16, 2020, when Governor Lamont signed Senate Bill 972, making the state the first in the country where prison phone calls will be free for all prisoners and their families, including incarcerated youth. The state Senate and House fully funded the bipartisan bill, allocating $11.2 ...

Architects Question Whether Building “More Humane” Prisons is Possible

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 ...