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Of course not everyone means harm when they use prison labels. But that doesn’t make the language any less damaging.
As correctional officers, we are conditioned to call prisoners ‘inmates.’ But at Sing Sing, where I worked for 25 years, that was as bad as calling them a snitch.
I didn’t always detest this term. But hearing officers use it as an insult reminded me to call incarcerated people — including myself — by our names.
Journalism is a discipline of clarity. That’s why we’ve solidified our policy about how we talk about people who are currently in or have previously been in prison and jail.
Life Inside April 8
Oakland activist Carl Chan reveals how fear of retaliation, mistrust of police, language barriers and technology gaps fuel underreporting of anti-Asian violence.
Coronavirus April 8
The Marshall Project is collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. See how the virus has affected correctional facilities where you live.
News April 8
A COVID-strained social safety net. Entrenched distrust between cops and communities of color. "2020 was a tinderbox."
Coronavirus April 6
As COVID-19 spread earlier this year, prison facilities across the country suspended visits from family and lawyers. Several months into the pandemic, some states are easing those restrictions. We’re rounding up the changes as they occur.
Coronavirus April 6
Despite CDC advice to vaccinate prisoners quickly, two-thirds of states lag behind the general population.
Death Sentences April 5
The men arrested in recent killings in Atlanta, Boulder, Colorado, and Orange, California, could face very different sentences if convicted.