Marshall Project Originals
My Son Nacear Was Killed on Memorial Day. It Took Me Two Years to Cry.
I was taking care of his kids, going to work, and helping my other children process their brother’s murder. I couldn’t have accomplished what I needed to if I had cried sooner.
People Often Say My Son ‘Passed Away.’ Darien Was Murdered.
If I see a car that looks like Darien’s or the sunlight hits just right, all of the sadness comes flooding back.
My Son Khaaliq Was Killed Over a Parking Space. Now I Help Other Mothers Grieve.
After a neighbor fatally shot her son in 2001, Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight started the anti-violence group Mothers in Charge. “I thought maybe two people would show up; the room was jam packed.”
Freedom, Family and Faith
Issue 10 of News Inside explores the topics our incarcerated readers told us they care about most.
The Powerlessness of Parenting From Prison
Demetrius Buckley thought his bond with his 11-year-old daughter was strong. But when he couldn’t physically protect his child from adult problems, he learned the limits of parenting via prison phone calls.
I Was Sentenced to Life as a Juvenile. Now I Help Kids Build Brighter Futures.
Imprisoned for 25 years, Fred Weatherspoon was shocked to return to a Chicago he didn’t recognize. He found belonging in an unexpected way — working with vulnerable young people and their families.
“Daddy, if I Come See You, Will I Have to Be Locked up, Too?”
Recently reunited with his 10-year-old daughter, Demetrius Buckley struggles to push past the barriers of a maximum security prison to be present for his curious, whip-smart little girl.
These Parents Had to Bond With Their Babies Over Zoom — or Lose Them Forever
During the pandemic, video chats replaced in-person visits between parents and their children placed in foster care. The effects could linger for years.
Losing My Mom Was Hard Enough. Prison Made It Unbearable
Between scant information, limited phone time and insensitive staff, prison compounded a profound loss.
Shame Is Ever-Present When You’re Sitting in a Cell
Between a strained relationship with my family and the death of a good friend, I’ve struggled to feel like I’m worth something.
How COVID-19 Tested the Family Bonds I Was Building When I Got Out
After serving more than 21 years for a crime he committed at age 15, Angel Alejandro was reintroducing himself to his family. Then the virus took three relatives.
My Dad Went to Prison When I Was 5. Now I Write About Families Like Mine
Growing up with a father who was incarcerated didn’t define me. But it certainly taught me to challenge stereotypes and ask better questions.
While I Wasted Time in Prison, My Mom Died of a Broken Heart
My mom was by my side the first time I went away. The second time was just too much.
“They Don’t Care:” Families Of The Incarcerated Fear The Worst As Coronavirus Spreads
With in-person visits suspended nationwide, people with loved ones behind bars say they’re being left in the dark.
“I Want to See my Child.” Juvenile Lockups Cut Visits Over COVID-19 Fears
Families fret about isolated youth behind bars.
My Dad Taught Me How to Build Things. Now I’m Doing It in Prison.
“What neither of us knew was that coming to prison would create new worlds for me to build.”
Breaking the Unwritten Rule of Prison
Or, what happens when guards and prison staff interact as just human beings.
An Irrevocable Separation
When the government executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the welfare of their two boys was a secondary concern.
Inside Family Detention, Trump's Big Solution
The administration is no longer separating them. Now more parents and children will be held at places like this.
Your Loved One Dies. The Prison Leaves a Voicemail.
Policies for notifying families about inmate deaths vary by state. Some say the process is often inhumane.
Getting Out of Prison Meant Leaving Dear Friends Behind
“We leaned on each other. We found reasons to laugh while in agony.”
When Your Dad Gets Locked Up—And Then Deported
“It started to sink in that I wouldn’t really get a childhood.”
New York Cancels Private Prison Care Packages Program
An uproar over cost, selection — and coloring books.
The Check is in The Mail (For Real)
A California county will issue refunds to parents wrongly billed for their kids’ incarceration.
The Big Business of Prisoner Care Packages
Inside the booming market for food in pouches, clear electronics, pocket-less clothing and other corrections-approved goods.
The Singular Sorrow of Grieving Behind Bars
“I had no idea how much pain I would be forced to carry alone.”
What to Never Ask a Prison Wife
People say the darndest things when they hear your spouse is incarcerated.
We are Witnesses
The American criminal justice system consists of 2.2 million people behind bars, plus tens of millions of family members, corrections and police officers, parolees, victims of crime, judges, prosecutors and defenders.
How to Have a Jail Wedding in 3 Minutes
For two women getting hitched at Rikers Island, the ceremony was short and bittersweet.
Working in the Prison System Took Over My Life
The 24/7 nature of corrections work can make it all-consuming.
The Hardest Phone Call a Prosecutor Has to Make
Law school doesn’t prepare you for delivering bad news to victims and their families.
I Can’t Visit My Sons in Prison Because I Have Unpaid Traffic Tickets
A mother with debts — and cancer — wonders if she’ll ever see her incarcerated children again.
The Day I Found Out About My Dad's Parole
The teenage son of an incarcerated man braces for news that could bring his father home.
The Prison Skinhead Gang was My Family. Then I Walked Away
After a violent encounter, an inmate makes a life change.
Her Son Murdered, a Chicago Mother Waits for Answers
Two years later and no arrest. ‘Will it ever happen?’
Surviving Foster Care: 2 Brothers, 2 Different Paths
A stint in juvenile detention excluded one from the financial support that automatically went to the other.
Philadelphia Will Stop Billing Parents When Their Children Are Incarcerated
The announcement comes just hours after we highlighted the practice.
Your Kid Goes to Jail, You Get the Bill
For 40 years, many parents have had to pay for their children's incarceration, but that may be changing.
When a Wedding Narrowed the ‘Emotional Distance’ of Prison
For the best man, a fleeting moment of humanity.
How I Came to Terms with the Man Who Shot Me
A victim is transformed by a family history of crime and violence.
Mississippi Limits Prison Visits to Immediate Family
A strict new policy begins after "a security violation".
What You Do While You Wait for Your Husband to Go to Prison
“Drive whenever you go anywhere, get your financial house in order, finalize your will, take baths, and cry.”
The Day My Brother Took a Life and Changed Mine Forever
I grew up idolizing my brother. Then he killed a man.
The Radio Show That Reunited Inmates and Families
“Shout outs” on the air led to van rides to the supermax.
Why Some Young Sex Offenders Are Held Indefinitely
Jhon Sanchez already served his time for a series of sex offenses he committed when he was 13. But he’s not free yet. Inside the world of civil commitment.
Massachusetts Mobilizes to Treat Addicted Moms
Jail time increasingly gives way to residential programs.
For Men in Prison, Child Support Becomes a Crushing Debt
New regulations would give parents in prison the right to pause child support payments, but opponents say it undercuts welfare reform.
You Can’t Go Home Again
Surprising new research suggests parolees who go somewhere new are less likely to offend again.
‘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.