Marshall Project Originals
People in the Scandal-Plagued Federal Prison System Reveal What They Need in a New Director
“This is kind of like AA: To move forward, first you have to admit there’s a problem.”
As Corrections Officers Quit in Droves, Prisons Get Even More Dangerous
Fewer guards lead to more lockdowns, rising tensions and scant access to healthcare.
A Half-Million People Got COVID-19 in Prison. Are Officials Ready for the Next Pandemic?
People who live and work in prisons worry they remain vulnerable, even as life behind bars returns to business as usual.
A State-By-State Look at 15 Months of Coronavirus in Prisons
The Marshall Project and The Associated Press collected data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons every week. See how the virus affected correctional facilities near you.
Nothing Has Made Me Feel More American Than Going to Jail
I was born in D.C. to South Indian parents. But it wasn’t until I had to negotiate the criminal justice system that I fully realized what many Americans of color have to deal with.
I Was Trained to Call Prisoners a Word They Hated
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.
“Hell No”: Correctional Officers Are Declining The Coronavirus Vaccine En Masse
Public health experts worry that high refusal rates could undermine efforts to control the pandemic inside and outside of prisons.
When a Shower Counts as a Privilege, You Have to Get Creative
Doing time during a pandemic can mean fighting for your turn to wash your body or call your family. Inside one man’s battle with an inaudible loudspeaker, weary guards and a dysfunctional process.
The National Guard Is Using Force on Prisoners After Little Training
Ohio guard members patrolling inside prisons trained for a fraction of the 5 weeks required of correction officers.
"All of Us Inside Have Cried Out"
Since the killing of George Floyd, protesters have started to change the way we think about law enforcement. Will it trickle into prisons?
In Prison, Even Social Distancing Rules Get Weaponized
“After close to 22 years inside, I thought I had seen everything when it comes to the Department of Corrections using impossible-to-follow rules to punish prisoners. I was wrong.”
Coronavirus Restrictions Stoke Tensions in Lock-ups Across U.S.
As COVID-19 fear grows among prisoners and guards, concerns rise about possible unrest.
As a Mom Working In a Prison, I Worry About Bringing Coronavirus Home
“I tell my husband to keep my son in another room, while I put my uniform in a trash bag and take a long shower.”
I Struggled to Help a Prisoner. In Norway, I Found a Better Way
“We took off his wrist restraints and gave him pen and paper. He drew up a storm.”
Corporate Confession: Gangs Ran This Private Prison
What happened in Mississippi when no one wanted dangerous, low-paying guard jobs.
What the Government Shutdown Looks Like Inside Federal Prisons
Family visits canceled, guards driving for Uber, rising tensions and more.
Freaky Friday, Prison-Style
At a Kentucky prison, inmates and staff switch places during a “re-entry to society” role-playing game.
How I Befriended a Prisoner on Suicide Watch
I looked into her eyes and told her, “Promise me you won’t hurt yourself again.”
My Sexual Harassers Were Behind Bars. I Was Their Guard.
“I’ve seen more men masturbate than I can count.”
The Unique Sexual Harassment Problem Female Prison Workers Face
When women report abuse from the men in their custody.
Working in the Prison System Took Over My Life
The 24/7 nature of corrections work can make it all-consuming.
The Accident That Changed My Life in Prison
An inmate remembers his bond with a prison employee who was more than just “one of them.”
For Corrections Officers and Cops, a New Emphasis on Mental Health
An intensive study and new programs to combat stress that often goes overlooked.
How My Time as a Private Prison Guard Changed the Way I See Inmates
“No one wants to be accused of being ‘inmate-friendly.’”
Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport
Tens of thousands of people every year are packed into vans run by for-profit companies with almost no oversight.
The State That is Taking on the Prison Guards Union
For decades, New York state’s corrections officers union has held the power in disciplinary decisions.
How to Get Out of Solitary — One Step at a Time
New programs are easing inmates out of years of solitary confinement with surprising outcomes for both prisoners and corrections officers.
Spotting the ‘Red Flags’ of Abusive Prison Guards
Under pressure, New York says it will better track correctional officers
New York City Jail Guards Are Fighting to Keep Their Records Secret
Amid abuse charges, union acts to ‘protect our officers.’
Why It’s So Hard to Fire an Abusive Prison Guard
Corrections officials say he injured an inmate and lied about it. He’s still a state employee. He’s more the rule than the exception.
‘Children Do Not Have the Same Capacity as Adults to Control Their Reactions.’
A selection of recent letters from our readers.
For the First Time, Vermont Will Search Prison Staffers
The drug use that plagues the state now haunts its cellblocks.
Fact-Checking Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black
A former CO — and first-time OITNB-watcher — weighs in.
Job Opening: No Training, Low Pay, High Turnover
In Mississippi prisons last year, half the officers quit.
Nigerians are Flocking to Work in Texas Prisons
An immigration trend changes the face of corrections.
‘I Feel Unsafe Every Day.’
An Oklahoma corrections officer on the stress and danger of understaffing, and why each inmate should be given a joint twice a day.
‘It Takes a Certain Kind of Magic to be able to Survive This Kind of Separation.’
A 32-year-old woman on what it’s like being engaged to someone serving a life sentence, long-distance romantic gestures, and the cost of each visit.
16-Hour Shifts, 300 Inmates to Watch, and 1 Lonely Son
The very sleep-deprived life of a corrections officer.