Marshall Project Originals
Confronting America’s ‘Cruel and Unusual’ Juvenile Detention Crisis
From Texas and Louisiana to communities in Iowa and Michigan, the way youth are being detained is prompting calls for change.
When People Fear Me Based on My Jail Tats and Scars, They Miss the Real Me
A recent ride to a public clinic gave Jose Armendariz a quick break from jail. But he couldn’t escape the fear and judgement of the other patients.
Solitary Confinement Harms Teens. Louisiana Lawmakers Took a Step to Limit It.
An investigation by The Marshall Project, NBC News and ProPublica found that youth in a Louisiana lockup were held in isolation around the clock for weeks.
“No Light. No Nothing.” Inside Louisiana’s Harshest Juvenile Lockup
Teens at the Acadiana Center for Youth at St. Martinville were held in solitary confinement around the clock, shackled with leg irons and deprived of an education. “This is child abuse,” one expert said.
They Went to Prison as Kids. Now They’re on Death Row.
Fight clubs, solitary confinement and neglect make juveniles angrier and more violent.
“Wild: Bird of Paradise” Envisions a World Without Prisons or Police
The final installment of Jeremy McQueen’s dance film explores the challenges and fears of being a young Black man in New York City.
Paying for Their Own Foster Care
Episode 3 of Inside Story examines the conflict between legality and morality when states take money intended for foster children.
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.
Supreme Court Conservatives Just Made It Easier to Sentence Kids to Life in Prison
The new ruling could worsen existing racial disparities in states that condemn teens to die in prison.
Many Juvenile Jails Are Now Almost Entirely Filled With Young People of Color
Thousands of kids were freed from juvenile detention during the pandemic. They were more likely to be White, data shows.
Six Years After Tamir Rice, Cleveland Makes New Rules About Policing Kids
Critics say a new policy for police encounters with children doesn’t go far enough.
Superpredator: The Media Myth That Demonized a Generation of Black Youth
25 years ago this month, “superpredator” was coined in The Weekly Standard. Media spread the term like wildfire, creating repercussions on policy and culture we are still reckoning with today.
What Biden’s Win Means for the Future of Criminal Justice
Joe Biden ran on the most progressive criminal justice platform of any major party candidate in generations. So what can he actually do?
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.
A Year After Prison, He Has a Job, a Fiancée—And a Week Left of Freedom
Richard Midkiff spent 23 years behind bars. A dispute over his decades-old plea deal could send him back for 15 more.
“Juvenile Lifers” Were Meant to Get a Second Chance. COVID-19 Could Get Them First.
The Supreme Court gave teens sentenced to life in prison a shot at freedom. Many are still waiting.
Solitary, Brawls, No Teachers: Coronavirus Makes Juvenile Jails Look Like Adult Prisons
Youth lockups are supposed to rehabilitate kids, not punish them. The pandemic is making that harder than ever.
“I Want to See my Child.” Juvenile Lockups Cut Visits Over COVID-19 Fears
Families fret about isolated youth behind bars.
What’s the Meaning of “Life” When Sentencing Kids?
The Supreme Court ended automatic life without parole for children. What replaces it remains unclear.
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.
He Was 17 When He Went To Prison. How Much Should That Matter To The Parole Board?
If William Palmer wins in court, thousands could get closer to exiting California prisons.
Punishing Kids With Years of Debt
Courts often order children who break the law to pay thousands of dollars in restitution to victims—even when the victim is an insurance company.
Louisiana’s Taurus Buchanan Wins Parole After 25 Years
At 16, one deadly punch sent him away for life. The Supreme Court gave him a second chance at freedom.
This Agency Tried to Fix the Race Gap in Juvenile Justice. Then Came Trump
A new presidential appointee has quietly changed decades-old federal policies meant to improve racial disparities in youth incarceration.
The Right Age to Die?
For some, science is outpacing the High Court on juveniles and the death penalty.
When You’re 16 and It’s Your First Time in Solitary
“I felt like I aged 10 years just by doing 20 days in there.”
Rikers Doesn't Put Teens in Solitary. Other New York Jails Do.
Even after the high-profile death of Kalief Browder, jails in the rest of the state routinely isolate juveniles.
For Henry Montgomery, a Catch-22
His “meaningful opportunity for release” came with impossible conditions.
The Check is in The Mail (For Real)
A California county will issue refunds to parents wrongly billed for their kids’ incarceration.
When Your 18th Birthday Gift Is a Transfer to Adult Prison
A “baby-faced kid” comes of age while incarcerated.
Cyntoia Brown and Our Twisted System
The process that sent a teenage sex-trafficking victim to prison for life didn’t fail. It worked as it was designed to.
Adolescence with an Ankle Bracelet
What it’s like to spend your teenage years tethered to Big Brother.
Going Back to Prison Never Gets Easy
A Yale Law School graduate speaks to young incarcerated people and faces his own past.
Ending Solitary for Juveniles: A Goal Grows Closer
Recent rulings in a half-dozen states signal new momentum.
Give Juveniles Their Due
Fifty years after a landmark Supreme Court case, juvenile courts still lack due process.
The Fine Print in New York’s Raise the Age Law
Thousands of juveniles could still head right to adult court.
Was Evan Miller ‘The Rare Juvenile’ Who Deserved Life Without Parole?
Now 28, he’ll be re-sentenced, unless the court finds him ‘irreparably corrupt.’
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.
What We Can Learn from the Amazing Drop in Juvenile Incarceration
Lesson One: Don’t make policies when emotions are running high.
In Some States, Raising the Age for Adult Court Is the Easy Part
But in South Carolina, making the juvenile system more humane will be much harder.
The Criminal Justice Reform That Could Actually Reach Obama’s Desk
In a year of inaction, a bill that changes the way we treat juveniles makes some headway.
Join Today's Discussion on Juvenile Justice
Today from 11 AM to 5 PM EST, we'll be talking juvenile justice with Digg. Brush up by reading some of the best reporting we could find on the topic, and then bring your questions for the experts.
Some of Our Best Work of the Past Year
From David Simon's Baltimore anguish to elite police fraternities to teens behind bars.
There Are Still 80 ‘Youth Prisons’ in the U.S. Here Are Five Things to Know About Them
They’re harsh, dangerous and isolated — and may be around for a while.
What Kalief Browder’s Mother Thinks Should Happen to Rikers
‘There was nothing I could do with him being in there.’
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.
There Are Practically No Juveniles in Federal Prison — Here’s Why
Obama takes bold action, but for a population of fewer than 30
The Supreme Court May Have Just Granted Thousands of Prisoners a Chance of Freedom
The Montgomery ruling says juveniles sentenced to life without parole must get a shot at a new sentence or parole.
This Boy’s Life
At 16, Taurus Buchanan threw one deadly punch—and was sent away for life. Will the Supreme Court give him, and hundreds like him, a chance at freedom?
How We Counted the Juveniles Sent to Prison for Life
A law practice finds thousands whose sentences could be affected by Miller v. Alabama
An Unbelievable Story of Rape
An 18-year-old said she was attacked at knifepoint. Then she said she made it up. That’s where our story begins.
Our Prisons in Black and White
The race gap for adults is shrinking. Why is it widening for juveniles?
When School Feels Like Jail
Isolation rooms and paddling: What some schools in the South are doing to keep students in line.
Life Without Parole: For Juveniles, 5 Tough Counties
New study places a quarter of the sentences in a handful of urban areas.
‘Children Do Not Have the Same Capacity as Adults to Control Their Reactions.’
A selection of recent letters from our readers.
New Jersey Moves to Keep Kids Under 15 From Adult Court
Age restriction would be toughest in the nation.
Kalief Browder was a Good Kid. Should That Matter?
The not-so-nice kids don’t deserve to be brutalized, either.
How Do We Hold a Child’s Mind Accountable?
A Colorado judge on why we don’t know nearly enough about the link between the young brains and behavior.
The Possibly Coerced Confession at the Heart of the Bite Mark Case
Re-assessing a videotaped interrogation.
The 17-Year-Old Adults
States are raising the age of who counts as an adult, but it’s no simple task.
Reflections on Roper
On the 10th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision about juveniles and the death penalty, what has really changed?