Marshall Project Originals
The Books Banned in Your State’s Prisons
We asked all state systems for book policies and ban lists, then created a database for you.
How ‘Cruel and Not Unusual’ Conditions Persist in Many Lockups
Insight from a discussion with journalists, formerly incarcerated people and experts.
I Spent Over 40 Years Working in Corrections. I Wasn’t Ready for Rikers.
Rikers Island jail complex “reflects our nation’s racist and destructive fixation on imprisonment,” writes former New York City jails commissioner Vincent Schiraldi. “It’s Exhibit A for why we need to end mass incarceration.”
Why Record Heat Can Be Deadlier in Prisons
Corrections officials across most of the nation have not prepared for warmer summers and record heat waves.
How Policing Has — and Hasn’t — Changed Since George Floyd
More than two years after millions took to the streets to protest police violence, the problem persists. That doesn’t mean nothing has changed.
I Joined the Parole Board to Make a Difference. Now I Call It ‘Conveyor Belt Justice.’
Between the grueling schedule, copious paperwork, abrupt hearings and risk-averse colleagues, prison reformer Carol Shapiro realized the New York parole system was dysfunctional by design.
A Tupperware of Heroin, Or How I Ended Up in Prison
In an excerpt from her new memoir, ‘Corrections in Ink,’ Keri Blakinger puts us at the scene of her drug arrest — and her path to becoming The Marshall Project’s first formerly incarcerated staff writer.
‘A Humiliating Experience’: Prisoners Allege Abuse at Discipline-focused ‘Shock’ Camps
New York is closing one of its last ‘shock’ camps, a move some experts and former prisoners say is a long time coming.
Inside the Underground Economy of Solitary Confinement
Goods are scarce in any correctional facility, but the circumstances are especially dire for those in isolation. Here’s how people in “the box” use their ingenuity, collaboration skills and a form of “fishing” to get what they need.
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.
Lost Opportunity, Lost Lives
During the pandemic, prison officials could have prevented sickness and death by releasing those who were most vulnerable to coronavirus and least likely to reoffend — older incarcerated people.
How We Survived COVID-19 In Prison
At the start of the pandemic, we asked four incarcerated people to chronicle daily life with the coronavirus. Here, they reveal what they witnessed and how they coped with the chaos, fear, isolation and deaths.
NYPD Hate Crime Data Fails to Capture Harassment Against Asians 65 or Over
“There is a whole wave of attacking elderly people in different ways," one New York legislator says.
How Trump Made a Tiny Christian College the Nation’s Biggest Prison Educator
His administration has funneled $30 million to Ashland University in Ohio. Critics say the school’s tablet-based program fails incarcerated students.
Cops Could Use First Aid to Save Lives. Many Never Try.
Most officers get training to respond to injuries, but are often not required to use it.
Is Violent Crime Rising In Cities Like Trump Says? Well, It’s Complicated.
Trump speaks of "anarchy and mayhem" in cities. Here's what the data really shows.
Which States Are Taking on Police Reform After George Floyd?
Lawmakers in 16 states have introduced bills to improve police oversight and accountability.
I Survived Prison During The AIDS Epidemic. Here’s What It Taught Me About Coronavirus
COVID-19 isn’t an automatic death sentence, but the fear, vilification and isolation are the same.
What Women Dying In Prison From COVID-19 Tell Us About Female Incarceration
Fatal victims illuminate women’s unique problems in prison, and the all-too-common ways they get there in the first place.
The Cruel Irony of Social Distancing When You’re Stuck in Solitary
Our running joke: ‘You may go crazy in here, but at least you won’t get corona.’
During the COVID-19 Crisis, Don’t Shoot the Messenger
When you lead the Inmate Liaison Committee in a pandemic, you have to deliver bad news with finesse.
New York Rolled Back Bail Reform. What Will The Rest Of The Country Do?
Bail reform advocates are adapting in light of COVID-19 releases and the lessons from New York’s no-bail flop.
The Judge Will See You On Zoom, But The Public Is Mostly Left Out
Volunteers who monitor courts across the country say they are getting little access to online-only proceedings.
I Was a Prison Hospice Aide. Then Came Coronavirus.
“I know firsthand how the looming threat of COVID-19 is being absorbed by all of us behind the walls.”
I Was at Rikers While Coronavirus Spread. Getting Out Was Just as Surreal.
“My family is my family. I am used to our little quirks. But I am still getting used to what's going on outside.”
How 27 Years in Prison Prepared Me for Coronavirus
“If there’s one thing people who spent a long time in prison have acquired, it’s the ability to adapt.”
Karl Taylor Died in a New York Prison. Now the State Has Agreed to Pay Millions.
Officials have also pledged to install video cameras and microphones throughout the Catskills facility where the death occurred.
What I Think About When I Think About Freedom
“It’s conflicting, I imagine, to hear how someone who once took a life thinks about living a good life.”
“Blindfold” Off: New York Overhauls Pretrial Evidence Rules
Prosecutors will be required to turn over information to the defense much earlier in a criminal case, among other changes.
Doesn’t Anyone Want to Know Who Killed Louise Cicelsky?
New York prosecutors object to new DNA testing that might answer questions left unanswered at a murder trial.
New York Cancels Private Prison Care Packages Program
An uproar over cost, selection — and coloring books.
How New York Could Change the Game for Its Criminal Defendants
Soon after a Marshall Project story, the governor proposes changes to an “outdated” evidence law.
Prosecutor: It’s Terrorism. Suspect: ‘I Was Just Saying Something Stupid’
If it was just a crazy, drug-induced outburst, is it worth 7 years in prison?
A Parole Hearing in New York, With a Governor’s Blessing This Time
A ‘60s radical faces very different political atmosphere than her co-defendant did a decade ago.
Inmates Say They Paid a Bloody Price for a Guard's Injury
Prisoners describe a rampage by correctional officers in a New York prison.
The Obstacle Course
Applicants said the country's largest state university system discriminated against former prison inmates. Now, the schools have decided to 'ban the box'.
What It’s Like to Perform Shakespeare in Prison
An encounter with the Bard transforms a troupe of inmate actors.
The Deadly Consequences of Solitary With a Cellmate
Imagine living in a cell that’s smaller than a parking space — with a homicidal roommate.
What Kalief Browder’s Mother Thinks Should Happen to Rikers
‘There was nothing I could do with him being in there.’
Spotting the ‘Red Flags’ of Abusive Prison Guards
Under pressure, New York says it will better track correctional officers
6,000 People Are About to be Freed From Federal Custody — Here’s What They’ll Face
Six men who spent years behind bars offer advice.
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.
In New York, Padlocked Jumpsuits for Prison ‘EXPOSERS’
An effective way to curb behavior, or ‘an extreme form of restraint’?
When Prisons Need to Be More Like Nursing Homes
Finding new ways to treat the growing pool of older, ailing inmates.
A New York Prison-Yard Search and 10 Cases of Frostbite
Barehanded, inmates are ordered to grip a metal fence in 10-degree weather.
Why Carlos Montero Has Been in Rikers for Seven Years Without Trial
Blame the judge, lawyers, and DNA.
No Bail, Less Hope: The Death of Kalief Browder
A system that kept a teenager in Rikers for three years.
Shorter Sentences, Shrinking Prisons
A new report could have a big impact on New York’s prison population — if anyone pays attention.
The Attica Turkey Shoot
Malcolm Bell, former special state prosecutor and whistleblower, on getting away with murder.
‘People Forget that We Are Human Beings.’
A New York City cop of over 20 years on the media’s ignorance, the benefits of stop-and-frisk, and why he wishes he could live in New Jersey.
The Prison Rape Videos: Three Out of Four Stars
The first reviews are in, mostly amazed that New York actually made these films.
‘Trust Nobody, and Proceed with Caution’
Two new safety videos aim to protect New York inmates from prison rape.
Around the web
Recently Added Popular