Marshall Project Originals
‘Concrete Coffins’: Surviving Extreme Heat Behind Bars
Record temperatures in much of the U.S. threatening more people in prisons.
In 2022, Exonerations Hit a Record High in the U.S.
Globally, potential innocence has long outweighed potential guilt. That philosophy of justice may not be one that the majority of Americans endorse.
When Kids Are Punished Like Adults
Louisianans protest temporary youth housing in notorious Angola, and Bryan Stevenson speaks on sentencing reform.
How Two States Differ on the Injustice of Non-Unanimous Juries
Oregon and Louisiana eliminated the practice, which had white supremacist roots. But they differ on whether to retroactively overturn those convictions.
Policing the Police: A Week of Racism, Abuse and Misconduct
Federal civil rights investigations can examine an entire agency — but they are not the only way to check for police misconduct.
Prosecutors in These States Can Review Sentences They Deem Extreme. Few Do.
Five states now allow prosecutors to seek shorter sentences in old cases. Louisiana shows why many DAs haven’t.
‘A Moral Disgrace’: How The U.S. Stopped Counting Deaths Behind Bars
The Department of Justice is failing miserably at collecting data on deaths. Experts say that makes it hard to identify the worst prisons and jails.
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.
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.
Louisiana Limits Solitary Confinement for Youth
The governor signed the state’s first law restricting isolation for youth after two suicides and an investigation by The Marshall Project, ProPublica and NBC News into harsh conditions in a new juvenile facility.
Rethinking Prison Tourism
Many former prison sites draw on the spooky and salacious to entertain visitors. But some are having second thoughts.
Their Sentences Are Unconstitutional — But They’re Still In Prison.
Louisiana’s high court considers the fate of more than 1,000 people serving sentences handed down by “Jim Crow juries.”
“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.
‘The Only Way We Get Out of There Is in a Pine Box’
Elderly, ailing and expensive, lifetime prisoners cost Louisiana taxpayers millions a year.
Her Baby Died After Hurricane Katrina. Was It a Crime?
An expansive definition of murder in Louisiana leaves many behind bars forever.
A Filthy New Orleans Jail Made My Son Sick. The ‘Cruel and Unusual’ Medical Treatment at Angola Prison Killed Him.
This spring, a judge ruled that the healthcare at the Louisiana State Penitentiary violated prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights. Lois Ratcliff tells the horrifying story of her son Farrell’s decline and death.
Will The Reckoning Over Racist Names Include These Prisons?
Many prisons, especially in the South, are named after racist officials and former plantations.
Did “Live PD” Let Police Censor Footage?
Police asked the show to edit out officers using violence or bad language. The company says it had other reasons for not airing the footage.
What COVID-19 Prison Outbreaks Could Teach Us About Herd Immunity
Prisons turn out to be a key place to study how coronavirus spreads and how immunity to it works.
No Photo ID, No Services: Coronavirus Poses Steep Hurdles After Prison
For many people leaving prison during the pandemic, closed DMVs mean closed doors.
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.
Federal Prison Factories Kept Running as Coronavirus Spread
Prisoners made furniture and license plates during the pandemic, according to workers and families. Some plants are now making face masks.
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.
Federal Prisons Agency “Put Staff in Harm’s Way” of Coronavirus
Orders at Oakdale in Louisiana help explain COVID-19 spread.
Freed From Prison After 26 Years—Into a Coronavirus Hotspot
During the COVID-19 crisis, people coming home after decades behind bars find loved ones in quarantine, dire job prospects and overwhelmed social services agencies.
How Is The Justice System Responding to the Coronavirus? It Depends On Where You Live.
While some cities free people from jail and stop arrests, others are much more business as usual.
What I Learned About Voting Rights in the Fields of Angola
"We asked ourselves: Do we want to change our conditions, or do we want to change our circumstances?"
His Appeal in Louisiana Was a Sham Proceeding. But the High Court Won’t Review the Case.
Louisiana automatically rejected appeals from prisoners who represented themselves. One prisoner hoped the Supreme Court would consider his conviction in the light of that scandal.
They Got Their Voting Rights Back, But Will They Go to the Polls?
Thousands of Louisianians on probation and parole face numerous obstacles to casting a ballot, including the idea that their votes don't matter.
More Families of Murder Victims in Louisiana Will Qualify for Financial Help
Lawmakers change rules after Marshall Project report on compensation fund.
Voters Want Criminal Justice Reform. Are Politicians Listening?
Midterms show wide support across party lines for changing the system.
Florida’s Election Shows the True Promise of Restoring Voting Rights
With the passage of Amendment 4, more than a million people intimately affected by the criminal justice system have become more empowered to shape it.
Corey Williams About to Walk Free in Louisiana
A sudden plea deal ends a decades-long fight in a capital murder case.
Maryland Leads as Prison Populations Continue to Decline
Sentencing reforms still curbing mass incarceration, but some eye reversals.
Seven Years Behind Bars for Two Joints — And Now He’s Free
Bernard Noble, whose case became a symbol of harsh drug laws, walks out of a Louisiana prison.
For Henry Montgomery, a Catch-22
His “meaningful opportunity for release” came with impossible conditions.
Where the Poor Face the Death Penalty Without a Lawyer
A budget crunch in Louisiana leads to an unusual wait list.
When Real Estate and Tax Lawyers Are Forced to Do a Public Defender’s Job
Louisiana judges are finding some unexpected substitutes for underfunded defenders.
A Death Sentence in Louisiana Rarely Means You’ll be Executed
Over the last 40 years, reversals have become commonplace.
Why Some Prisoners With HIV Get Better Treatment Than Others
A new report says care varies widely between Louisiana’s jails and prisons.
Why Getting Sued Could Be the Best Thing to Happen to New Orleans’ Public Defenders
The ACLU takes the cash-poor agency to court to force the cash-poor legislature to pay.
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?
What Angola's Resigning Warden Is Leaving Behind
For 20 years, Burl Cain both punished and preached.
The Woman Who Spent Six Years Fighting a Traffic Stop
Getting caught in a speed trap in a small Louisiana town.
You Can’t Go Home Again
Surprising new research suggests parolees who go somewhere new are less likely to offend again.
The $14 Million Death Sentence
Louisiana tried to sentence five men to death for the murder of a prison guard. It wasn’t cheap.