Marshall Project Originals
Prison Healthcare Means Not Knowing What’s Slowly Destroying My Body
For over two years, a mystery illness has made it hard for James Keown to walk, sit up and eat. Now he wonders if he has to die to be diagnosed.
Prison Money Diaries: What People Really Make (and Spend) Behind Bars
We asked people in prison to track their earning and spending — and bartering and side hustles — for 30 days. Their accounts reveal a thriving underground economy behind bars.
Omicron Has Arrived. Many Prisons and Jails Are Not Ready.
Experts fear “another potential tinderbox scenario” akin to the early days of the pandemic.
The Black Mortality Gap, and a Century-Old Document
1 in 5 African American deaths happens earlier than if they were White. Black doctors say the Flexner Report holds clues to the health system’s role in racial health disparities.
My Uncle Died the Day He Was Released From Jail. I’m Still Trying to Understand Why.
“Sudden cardiac death,” is the cause listed on my uncle Bryan’s death certificate. But it didn’t feel sudden at all — not when you factor in his underlying mental and physical health problems, years of poor prison medical care and the fact that he caught COVID-19 in his Arizona jail.
‘They Should Have Been Watching’: Suicides Rise in Texas Prisons During Pandemic
Prison suicides have been rising for years. Experts fear the pandemic has made it worse.
These Meds Prevent Overdoses. Few Federal Prisoners Are Getting Them
Three years after the First Step Act required the Bureau of Prisons to treat more people with medications for opioid addiction, only a tiny fraction are receiving them.
‘I Have No Teeth’: Michigan Prisoners Say Long Wait to See Dentist Is Inhumane
In Michigan, getting dental care can take months, even years.
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.
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.
What Could Have Kept Me Out of Prison
We asked people behind bars what services and programs could have changed the course of their lives. Therapy, affordable housing and a living wage topped the list.
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.”
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.
I Lost 25 Pounds in 4 Months Eating Prison Food
“I couldn’t wait to go home, restart my life—and eat a diet that didn’t kill me.”
“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.”
I Was a Doctor Addicted to Pills. So Were My Patients.
“I had no idea if I would get caught. It didn't matter.”
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.
When Just Being Near Alcohol Lands You In Jail
An antiquated law in Virginia targets “habitual drunkards.”
A Turbulent Mind
Andrew Goldstein's crime set in motion a dramatic shift in how we care for the violent mentally ill. Including for himself—when he's released this month.
What It’s Like to be a Cutter in Prison
"This isn’t a place that provides treatment, help, or even empathy to those who suffer from stress, depression, and mental illness."
Sent to a Hospital, But Locked in Prison
Despite years of criticism, New Hampshire has no place but prison for the dangerously mentally ill.
Another Hurdle For Former Inmates: Their Teeth
For many recently-released prisoners, severe dental issues are just one more barrier to restarting their lives.
Caring for My Sick Husband From Prison
A federal inmate feels helpless as her partner’s health deteriorates.
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 Misery of “Medical Chain”
When a trip to the hospital means spending hours on a cramped bus handcuffed to another prisoner.
The Doctors Say I’m O.K, But Then There’s This Pain…
A fretful prisoner struggles with an ever-growing list of symptoms.
When a Mental Health Emergency Lands You in Jail
Colorado just outlawed jail for people in a psychiatric crisis, but plenty of states still do it.
For Corrections Officers and Cops, a New Emphasis on Mental Health
An intensive study and new programs to combat stress that often goes overlooked.
Crime Victims Stand to Lose Aid, If Obamacare Goes Away
Without it, state compensation funds would again bear more of the burden.
A Fresh Take on Ending the Jail-to-Street-to-Jail Cycle
For troubled repeat offenders, a chance at a supportive place to live.
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.
Why Some Prisoners With HIV Get Better Treatment Than Others
A new report says care varies widely between Louisiana’s jails and prisons.
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.
Could Virtual OBGYN Services Help Stop Miscarriages? One Arkansas Jail Hopes So
Prodded by lawsuits, one jail moves to curb fetal deaths.
Older Prisoners, Higher Costs
A tough, new report says it’s time for federal prisons to release the elderly and infirm.
Tending to Tsarnaev
A trauma surgeon on the moment the accused Boston Marathon bomber became his patient.