Marshall Project Originals
What Irvo Otieno’s Killing Tells Us about Mental Healthcare in the U.S.
The system can end up prosecuting patients and relying on police — with sometimes fatal results.
5 Things We Learned About Prison Book Ban Policies
We added policies to our searchable database of banned books. Here’s what we’ve found (so far).
What the Panic Over Shoplifting Reveals About American Crime Policy
Lawmakers consider bills to crack down on people ripping off retailers, even as some stores walk back claims about a growing theft problem.
Some of Our Best Work of 2022
From coverage of prison violence and abuses in a juvenile lockup to investigations by our new Cleveland team, our reporters told stories that made a difference.
How A Suburb Spent COVID Relief Funds on Sniper Rifles, Tactical Helmets and Police Bonuses
An inside look at how the Independence, Missouri, city council reallocated millions in federal ARPA dollars to police.
Rifles, Tasers and Jails: How Cities and States Spent Billions of COVID-19 Relief
President Biden’s signature American Rescue Plan Act gave local governments $350 billion to recover from COVID-19. They spent much of it on police, prisons and the courts.
See If Police in Your State Reported Crime Data to the FBI
There are growing gaps in U.S. crime stats. Use our tables to check on your state and local agencies.
What You Need to Know About the Rise in U.S. Mass Shootings
A high-profile mass shooting at a Chicago suburb’s July 4 parade was the nation’s fourth in recent weeks.
The Supreme Court Let The Death Penalty Flourish. Now Americans are Ending It Themselves.
As Roe v. Wade ends, a look back at how the court reversed itself on capital punishment — spurring an anti-death penalty movement.
What Can FBI Data Say About Crime in 2021? It’s Too Unreliable to Tell
The transition to a new data system creates huge gaps in national crime stats sure to be exploited by politicians in this election year.
Five Things to Know About One of the Deadliest Federal Prisons
Key takeaways from our investigation into deaths and abuse at a U.S. penitentiary.
Reality Check: 7 Times Texas Leaders Misled the Public About Operation Lone Star
As reporters investigated Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s border initiative, they repeatedly found instances where Abbott and DPS officials cited accomplishments that lacked crucial context or were misleading. Here are a few examples.
Texans Spend Billions on Border Operations. What Do They Get in Return?
Rick Perry and Greg Abbott have launched widely publicized and costly border initiatives for nearly two decades — often during reelection season or while eyeing higher office.
Paroled People Can Vote in Colorado. Why Did Forms Say They Couldn’t?
More than two years after a reform bill, outdated government messaging still causes confusion.
As Murders Spiked, Police Solved About Half in 2020
The U.S. homicide clearance rate is at a historic low. Here’s what that means.
Some of Our Best Work of 2021
From police use of force to life without parole to troubling prison conditions, our reporters told groundbreaking stories this year.
There Are Fewer People Behind Bars Now Than 10 Years Ago. Will It Last?
Census data show incarceration rates are down. It may have more to do with the pandemic than broad reforms.
Strict Border Enforcement Policies Put Migrants in Harm’s Way. Title 42 Is No Exception.
In fiscal year 2020, border encounters dropped by half while rescue rates doubled. Experts and humanitarian groups point to a Trump-era policy that continues today.
Police Misconduct Costs Cities Millions Every Year. But That’s Where The Accountability Ends.
If not for inconsistent and shoddy record-keeping, we might know if settlements make a difference in police misconduct.
They Were Accused of Messing With Local Officers. Should the Feds Intervene?
In Oregon and across the country, protesters charged with “civil disorder” say the vague federal law is unconstitutional.
Trump’s Pardons Show The Process Has Always Been Broken
Donald Trump’s volatile approach to granting clemency epitomizes a system that many have long hoped to change.
White Terrorism Often Leads to Harsher Punishment for People of Color
Amid calls for tougher laws after the Capitol assault, research shows that measures addressing White violence usually fall harder on Black people.
A $6,300 Bus. A $33 Last Meal. What New Documents Tell Us About Trump’s Execution Spree
Feds spent millions to restart the death penalty and in the process revealed much about how they do it.
What Lisa Montgomery Has In Common With Many On Death Row: Extensive Trauma.
Mental illness, childhood abuse and brain injuries affect a large share of those who face the death penalty.
Some of Our Best Work of 2020
From the sweeping impacts of COVID-19 to the protests against racial injustice, 2020 was a year like no other.
Will Drug Legalization Leave Black People Behind?
Even in states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana possession, Black people are still more likely to be arrested for it than White people. These organizers are working to change that.
“Law and Order” Still Reigns in State Supreme Court Elections
A Nevada state supreme court candidate was one of very few nationwide to run on a message of reform. Most campaigns leaned on “tough on crime” strategy yet again.
500,000 Kids, 30 Million Hours: Trump’s Vast Expansion of Child Detention
U.S. Customs and Border Protection carried out almost half a million child detentions during the Trump administration, data shows. More kids were held for 72 hours or more.
RBG’s Mixed Record on Race and Criminal Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a revered feminist icon. Her legacy on issues such as prisoners’ rights, capital punishment, racial justice and tribal sovereignty has been less examined.
Trump’s Crime and Carnage Ad Blitz Is Going Unanswered on Facebook
The president has spent millions on misleading Facebook ads targeting undecided voters, while Joe Biden has been virtually silent.
COVID-19’s Toll on People of Color Is Worse Than We Knew
New data shows deaths from all causes—COVID and otherwise—have gone up 9 percent among White Americans, but more than 30 percent in communities of color.
Biden Inches Leftward On Immigration
A task force designed to forge unity and turn out Sanders voters proposes ambitious rollback of Trump policies.
A Major Obstacle to Police Reform: The Whiteness of Their Union Bosses
Even in the 15 largest departments where the majority of officers are people of color, only one union leader is black, our analysis shows.
How We Investigated Mississippi’s Modern-Day Debtors Prisons
A tip led us to a little-known program that affected hundreds of poor workers.
What Have We Learned Since the Central Park Jogger Case?
An eerily similar crime in New York this week will test public attitudes about juvenile justice.
Why Police Struggle to Report One of The Fastest-Growing Hate Crimes
Gender has passed religion and sexual orientation as one of the most common motivations behind hate crimes, but recognizing it is a challenge for many police departments.
Tabloid Fuels Collective Anxiety Attack Over Bail Ban
How “free Mets tickets” for teens became a flashpoint in debate over looming bail reform law.
Do Deportations Lower Crime? Not According to the Data
A new study casts doubt on the effectiveness of a program that encourages local police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
Is It Time to Remove Immigration Courts From Presidential Control?
Calls grow to create an independent court system that protects immigration judges from political pressure.
Why are the Feds Arresting More Non-Citizens?
Most of the increase comes from immigration charges, not violent crime or drugs, a new report finds.
Money-Making Schemes That Ensnare Prisoners and Their Families
If it sounds too good to be true, legal experts say, it probably is.
Are Voters Ready to Move on From Willie Horton?
Democratic debates show how far the conversation has come on justice reform.
What Do Abolitionists Really Want?
For years they’ve pushed a radical vision of a world without prisons. Now, the mainstream is taking note.
Is There a Connection Between Undocumented Immigrants and Crime?
It’s a widely held perception, but a new analysis finds no evidence to support it.
When “Violent Offenders” Commit Nonviolent Crimes
Embezzlement and selling drugs near a school are among the offenses some states classify as violent.
How Trump Inherited His Expanding Detention System
The number of people in immigration detention has increased under every presidential administration for more than 25 years.
The Immigration Crisis Jeff Sessions Leaves Behind
Assessing the ousted attorney general's legacy on President Trump's favorite issue.
Five Lies In Trump’s Favorite Campaign Ad
Several reasons why the Luis Bracamontes video is grossly misleading or just plain false.
Subway Policing in New York City Still Has A Race Problem
As the NYPD slows arrests for fare evasion, neighborhoods of color remain a target.
So Much for The Great California Bail Celebration
The first state to abolish cash bail. Why are proponents so unhappy?
What’s Really Happening With the National Prison Strike?
Action is limited so far, but organizers are cheering the media attention.
A Reader’s Guide to Our Constitutional Crisis
What you need to know about the week’s momentous legal and political news in Trumpland.
Is Domestic Violence Private?
It took 20 years for courts to say no. It took Jeff Sessions no time to say yes.
Sending Even More Immigrants to Prison
Despite Jeff Sessions’ new zero-tolerance mandate along the border, the Justice Department has prioritized immigration offenses for years.
The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant
The link between immigration and crime exists in the imaginations of Americans, and nowhere else.
A Long Decline in Executions Takes a Detour
Recent court rulings and start-stop access to lethal drugs push numbers up this year.
Killings of Black Men by Whites are Far More Likely to be Ruled “Justifiable”
The disparity remains no matter the circumstances and has persisted for decades.
What You Miss if You Miss the News in Spanish
Forget Korea and Ivanka. It’s all immigration, all the time.
Trump’s Radical Departure on Immigration
A softer tone from the White House belies a harsher reality.
Everything You Think You Know About Mass Incarceration Is Wrong
Or at least misleading, says this contrarian scholar. Here’s why it matters.
Trump Budget Draft Targets Cops, Crime Victims
Also civil rights enforcement and legal aid for the poor.
What Happened At Jeff Sessions' Senate Hearing
Senator laments a “corrosion of respect” for police in first day of testimony centered on crime and punishment.
Why Congress May Bring Criminal Justice Reform Back to Life
Four reasons a bipartisan bill has a better chance than you think
How Blacks and Whites Die Differently in Prison
New federal data shows some stark racial disparities.
A Primer on Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Pick for Attorney General
An extensive record as a prosecutor and a senator gives some hints of what to expect.
In Florida, Only Seven Jurors Can Put You to Death
The other quirk in the state’s death penalty system.
Criminal Justice Reform: An Obituary
Obama and Newt Gingrich. Koch Industries and the ACLU. With friends like that, how could it lose?
Sandra Bland, One Year Later
Her death at a Texas jail spurred a striking amount of reform talk across political lines.
Rhetoric and Reality at the RNC
Does America need to be made safe again? We fact-checked a handful of last night’s claims.
Two Parties, Two Platforms on Criminal Justice
The Republicans nod to reforms, then take a sharp right turn.
Protesting at the Republican Convention? Here’s How to Stay Out of Jail
Tip No. 1: Don’t talk back to a cop (and a lot of them will be there).
It’s Been Almost Two Months Since the U.S. Executed Someone
We’re in the middle of one of the longest death penalty lulls in 24 years.
Could Removing Brock Turner’s Judge Hurt Poor and Minority Defendants?
A group of public defenders says yes.
Should Jurors Refuse to Serve with the Judge in the Brock Turner Case?
The oddest fallout from the Stanford sexual assault
The Anomaly of Dylann Roof
White-on-black murders rarely result in a death sentence. Roof might be an exception.
Why the Virginia GOP Can’t Thwart McAuliffe on Voting Rights
The state constitution is pretty clear, says a man who helped draft it.
Can Courtroom Prejudice Be Proved?
The Supreme Court considers what it takes to show that prosecutors, when they pick juries, are discriminating against minorities.
What Happens When There Aren’t Enough Judges to Go Around
84 federal vacancies, and a glacial confirmation rate, put extra stress on some districts
How the Drug Shortage Has Slowed the Death-Penalty Treadmill
Only 4 states are currently carrying out lethal injections, and 10 are considering other methods.
Seven Things to Know About Repeat Offenders
A new report looks at recidivism among inmates released from federal prisons.
Justice Reform, RIP?
The vaunted bipartisan drive to enact federal criminal justice reform is not quite dead. But its pulse is faint.
There Are Practically No Juveniles in Federal Prison — Here’s Why
Obama takes bold action, but for a population of fewer than 30
A New Blow to Florida’s Death Penalty
The U.S. Supreme Court says state judges cannot sentence death without a jury’s mandate
Could One of These Cases Spell the End of the Death Penalty?
Abolitionists seek the perfect case for a Supreme Court challenge.
What You Need to Know About the New Federal Prisoner Release
Five reasons it is (and is not) a big deal.
Why is a Man Serving Life for a Murder that Feds Say Someone Else Committed?
The unusual case of Lamont McKoy.
The Nonviolent Offenders Congress Forgot
While prison reform gains momentum, the immigration debate remains “tough on crime.”
‘Justice and Redemption Go Hand in Hand.’
A closer look at the president’s speech on criminal justice reform.
Scott Walker on Crime and Punishment: Back to the ‘90s
As his rivals ease up, one candidate hangs tough
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