Marshall Project Originals
My Wild and Winding Path to a College Degree Behind Bars
Rahsaan “New York” Thomas was proud to finally earn his associate’s degree in San Quentin State Prison. But repeated COVID-19 lockdowns turned his graduation ceremony into a two-year ordeal.
I Grew Up Believing I Was Dumb. A College Education Behind Bars Healed That Wound
“My college degree taught me that anything is possible when you show someone how to love themselves, through accountability, vulnerability and education.”
Writing Is My Main Freedom. One Day My Work Disappeared.
A software change in my prison-issued electronic tablet ate up my drafts and eliminated basic writing tools. That may sound minor, but try sending a poem to your kid without line breaks.
I’m a Teachers’ Aide at My Prison. Here’s What I Learned From My Toughest Student
His disrespectful classroom antics could have sparked a fight. But as a former “hard case” myself, I was determined to help him.
I Hate to Admit It, but Prison Is a Blessing in Disguise.
Jy’Aire Smith-Pennick suffered multiple traumas before age 18. He masked his pain with Percocet, weed and drug-selling. Now, at a Pennsylvania prison with the right programs, he’s finally starting to heal.
How Trump Made a Tiny Christian College the Nation’s Biggest Prison Educator
His administration has funneled $30 million to Ashland University in Ohio. Critics say the school’s tablet-based program fails incarcerated students.
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 Did My 25 Years. Now I’m Fighting Another Sentence—Deportation
I barely remember my birthplace, Jamaica, and I have no family left there. Frankly, I’m terrified.
What I Learned When I Googled My Students’ Crimes
“I wondered if I knew more of their history if I would still view them the same way.”
The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison
“I didn’t have a way to communicate. And they basically just flipped me the bird.”
The Uncertain Fate of College in Prison
Obama revived Pell grants for prisoners, but the program faces a cloudy future.
My Do-It-Yourself Language Immersion, Prison-Style
Where the culture was Hispanic, ‘Me llamo Morgan’ got me started.
What Are Inmates Learning in Prison? Not Much.
A new survey of 2,000 federal prisoners reveals big gaps in teaching reentry skills.
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'.