Marshall Project Originals
Prisons Have a Health Care Issue — And It Starts at the Top, Critics Say
When coronavirus hit federal prisons, the top officials had no health care experience.
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.
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.
As States Expand Vaccine Eligibility, Many People in Prison Still Wait for Shots
Despite CDC advice to vaccinate prisoners quickly, two-thirds of states lag behind the general population.
Life Behind the Wall
Sure, prisons and jails are dangerous places. But everyday life inside isn’t as explosive as TV and movies make it look.
Lax Masking, Short Quarantines, Ignored Symptoms: Inside a Prison Coronavirus Outbreak in ‘Disbeliever Country.’
The latest COVID-19 surge is happening behind bars, too. Here’s three accounts from an upstate New York prison hit by the pandemic.
“I Begged Them To Let Me Die”: How Federal Prisons Became Coronavirus Death Traps.
The Bureau of Prisons was unprepared and slow to respond. Then officials took steps that helped spread the virus.
First Came The Pandemic, Then Came the Raw Sewage
As if coronavirus wasn’t bad enough, plumbing problems are making life in some Texas prisons even more miserable.
Infected, Incarcerated—and Coming to an ICU Near You?
Without ventilators, prisons lean on local hospitals to care for coronavirus victims.
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.”
Coronavirus Ended His Shot at a Second Chance
The case of Patrick Jones, the first federal prisoner to die from COVID-19, epitomizes national debates about criminal justice reform.
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.”
No, Your Coronavirus Quarantine Is Not Just Like Being in Prison
“I'd give anything to trade places with you right now.”
What Coronavirus Quarantine Looks Like in Prison
“I cannot help but linger on the faces of the elderly prisoners and think about how they are unlikely to survive this.”
When Purell is Contraband, How Do You Contain Coronavirus?
Handwashing and sanitizers may make people on the outside safer. But in prison it can be impossible to follow public health advice.
’Til Death Do Us Part
After my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she married the love of her life even though he was still behind bars. Then he got sick, too.
I Got To Leave Prison For A Few Hours—It Broke My Heart
“When the van pulls back up to the rear gates of the prison... it's almost a relief.”
I Developed Agoraphobia in Prison
After spending 22 years in solitary confinement, anything larger than my cell threw me into panic.
“Medicare for All” Is Missing a Vital Group: The Incarcerated
“Can criminal justice reform succeed without addressing the health of incarcerated people?"
The Agony and Isolation of Tearing Your ACL in Prison
“There wasn’t enough ibuprofen in the world to combat the pain I was experiencing.”
Treatment Denied: The Mental Health Crisis in Federal Prisons
The Bureau of Prisons set higher standards for psychiatric care. But instead of helping more inmates, the agency dropped thousands from its caseload, data shows.
How I Befriended a Prisoner on Suicide Watch
I looked into her eyes and told her, “Promise me you won’t hurt yourself again.”
Another Hurdle For Former Inmates: Their Teeth
For many recently-released prisoners, severe dental issues are just one more barrier to restarting their lives.
Prison Is Already Scary. It's Even Worse During a Blackout
As darkness fell, nerves got rattled and rumors spread.
Old, Sick and Dying in Shackles
“Compassionate release” has bipartisan support as a way to reduce the federal prison population and save taxpayer money. New data shows that it’s rarely used.
How Bad is Prison Health Care? Depends on Who’s Watching
A federal judge considers $1 million in fines for one state’s “pervasive and intractable failures.”
Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary
Tennessee locks ailing, mentally ill, pregnant and juvenile prisoners in isolation to help jails save money.
The Doctors Say I’m O.K, But Then There’s This Pain…
A fretful prisoner struggles with an ever-growing list of symptoms.
Treating Cancer with Ibuprofen
Medical care is already bad for immigrant detainees. Will Trump policies make it worse?
I Escaped My Manic Demons, but My Clients Usually Can’t
A social worker struggles to keep the mentally ill poor out of jail.
Out of Prison, Uncovered
Medicaid for ex-prisoners saves money and lives, but millions are released without it.
When an Old Law Makes It Hard to Fix a Troubled Jail
A federal statute from the Carter era favors negotiation, but that can take a long time.
Join Our Chat On Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System
We’re talking all about mental illness and justice during our next Justice Talk with Digg, on Wednesday, June 1. For context, browse our guide to key reading on the issue.
Why Some Prisoners With HIV Get Better Treatment Than Others
A new report says care varies widely between Louisiana’s jails and prisons.
The Deadly Consequences of Solitary With a Cellmate
Imagine living in a cell that’s smaller than a parking space — with a homicidal roommate.
Death by Indifference
Remembering Robert Knott, a case the Justice Department would rather you forget
Why Some Prisons are Spending Millions on a Pricey New Drug
Corrections facilities are ground zero for treating hepatitis C — but at a cost.
The $33 Test in Prison That Could Save Countless Lives on the Outside
Treating Hep C isn’t cheap, but experts say it’s cost-effective.