Marshall Project Originals
The Rise of Life-Without-Parole Sentences
We explore sentences that imprison people for life without parole, and comedian Ali Siddiq unpacks his behind-bars beginning in comedy.
Drug Addiction and the Paths to Prison
We learn how prosecutors can turn one of the darkest days in a mother’s life into a prison term, and hear Tarra Simmons’ journey from behind bars to writing laws.
When Mom Is In Prison — And When She Comes Home
“Oh, Mother of Mine,” a short documentary and photography project by Anna Rawls, explores the generational impact of incarcerating mothers.
People-First Language Matters. So Does the Rest of the Story.
While we have to be aware that any word we choose has influence, no amount of Googling will reveal the magic word that brings justice into American prisons.
How I Convinced My Incarcerated Peers to Make Language a Priority
Rahsaan Thomas, an imprisoned journalist, has long fought to change the way outside media describe people in prison. One of his toughest crowds? His fellow reporters.
The Language Project
Rethinking the words journalists use to talk about people who are currently or previously incarcerated.
I Am Not Your ‘Inmate’
I didn’t always detest this term. But hearing officers use it as an insult reminded me to call incarcerated people — including myself — by our names.
My Dog Didn't Forget Me When I Went to Prison
Charlotte was there for the worst moments of my life. And she was there as I picked up the pieces.
My Road to Acceptance as a Trans Man Began in Prison
“I won’t be swept under the rug anymore. This is me.”
How I’m Preparing for Parole After 27 Years in Prison
“With my new lease on life, I still remember the one I took.”
How Post-Prison Reentry Programs Fail Queer Women
Having a man counts as a plan in some reentry programs.
When Your Prison Becomes Your Paycheck
Some states are welcoming back ex-offenders to work behind bars.
After 20 Years, Still Haunted by a Drug Conviction
“The criminal justice system has become an ever-present shadow looming over my life.”
Shawna: A Life on the Sex Offender Registry
A young mother struggles with life on the sex offender registry.
A Decades-Old Conviction Cost Me My Post-Retirement Job
A mistake from a Dallas grandmother’s past reared its ugly head when she least expected it.
Hot Chicken, Fair Chance
At an Ohio eatery, patrons get Nashville-style hot chicken and the formerly-incarcerated get a fair shot at employment.
To Be Good Employees, the Formerly Incarcerated Must First Become Bosses
For the incarcerated, personal agency is a deciding factor in success after release.
He Walked Out of Prison After 11 Years — Now the State Wants Him Back
After 18 months of freedom, Robert Woodall may be headed back behind bars.
Life After Life Without Parole
Ronald Elston spent more than 30 years in prison, with no preparation for what he would do if he got out.
What Are Inmates Learning in Prison? Not Much.
A new survey of 2,000 federal prisoners reveals big gaps in teaching reentry skills.
Out of Prison, Uncovered
Medicaid for ex-prisoners saves money and lives, but millions are released without it.
A Former Prisoner on Voting for the First Time in His Life
“Being able to vote — that’s rare for people like me.”
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'.
How a Lawyer Gave Up Corporate Work to Help Exonerees Re-enter Society
When being innocent isn’t enough, you need Jon Eldan.
Tower of Power Star to Funkifize a California Prison
Rick Stevens on his three decades locked up and his return to performing.
Why it’s Hard to be a Lifer Who’s Getting Out of Prison
After 34 years inside, sometimes you never feel free.
Why Dylann Roof’s Racism Will Only be Nurtured in Prison
An author and former prisoner reflects on the white supremacist’s potential fate.
You Can’t Go Home Again
Surprising new research suggests parolees who go somewhere new are less likely to offend again.
30 Years on Death Row: A Conversation with Anthony Ray Hinton
‘They tell you justice is blind. I am telling you that justice can see.'
‘If You’ve Been Waiting in Jail for Several Months, Prison is Considered the Promised Land.’
Daniel Luke, a 45-year-old former inmate from Oregon, on his time behind bars and what he struggles with now that he’s out.