Marshall Project Originals
Notes From a Wild Election Week Behind Bars
“From time to time you hear someone shout something like, ‘Trump cannot be stopped!’ or, ‘Let’s get this White Nazi out of power!’ There is no gray area.”
Superpredator: The Media Myth That Demonized a Generation of Black Youth
25 years ago this month, “superpredator” was coined in The Weekly Standard. Media spread the term like wildfire, creating repercussions on policy and culture we are still reckoning with today.
Race and Policing
Police forces in the U.S. were originally founded to secure private property—including human beings.
RBG’s Mixed Record on Race and Criminal Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a revered feminist icon. Her legacy on issues such as prisoners’ rights, capital punishment, racial justice and tribal sovereignty has been less examined.
COVID-19’s Toll on People of Color Is Worse Than We Knew
New data shows deaths from all causes—COVID and otherwise—have gone up 9 percent among White Americans, but more than 30 percent in communities of color.
How Prison Turned My Childhood Friend Into a Neo-Nazi
We grew up listening to Tupac, smoking blunts and emulating Black people. Behind bars, our past was a dangerous secret.
I Am Not Your “Other”
I’m a Cambodian-American from Long Beach, California. But to a prison system that limits its population categories to “Black,” “White” and “Hispanic,” I’m the race version of a misfit toy.
You Can Get Kicked Out of a Jury Pool For Supporting Black Lives Matter
But is it legal? A California appeals court is going to decide.
How My White Privilege Protected Me In Jail
Being locked up for a crime I didn’t commit was hard. But nothing compares to the humiliation and harassment that my elderly, disabled, Black cellmate experienced.
My Dad Went to Prison When I Was 5. Now I Write About Families Like Mine
Growing up with a father who was incarcerated didn’t define me. But it certainly taught me to challenge stereotypes and ask better questions.
Is Child Abuse Really Rising During The Pandemic?
Amid speculation of a spike in abuse, advocates worry that families of color will be policed even more.
New Hope for People Who Claim Racism Tainted Their Death Sentence
The North Carolina state Supreme Court has upheld the controversial Racial Justice Act, which opponents repealed in 2013
A Major Obstacle to Police Reform: The Whiteness of Their Union Bosses
Even in the 15 largest departments where the majority of officers are people of color, only one union leader is black, our analysis shows.
Is COVID-19 Falling Harder on Black Prisoners? Officials Won’t Tell Us.
Some prison systems aren’t collecting race data. Others won’t disclose it. Experts say these are big mistakes.
Ahmaud Arbery and the Local Legacy of Lynching
How the white vigilante killing of the unarmed, black jogger in Brunswick, Georgia, is both an echo of past violence and a modern call to action.
A Growing Number of State Courts Are Confronting Unconscious Racism In Jury Selection
“A judge who deals with prosecutors every day is not going to say, ‘You intentionally discriminated on the basis of race, and you lied about it with pretextual reasons.’”
Facing Intimidation, Black Women Prosecutors Say: "Enough"
A lawsuit filed by St. Louis's first black female prosecutor highlights the virulent opposition progressive black women in the role say they have encountered.
The Growing Racial Disparity in Prison Time
A new study finds black people are staying longer in state prisons, even as they face fewer arrests and prison admissions overall.
The Inspiring Life and Career of Devah Pager
An appreciation of the Harvard sociologist who meticulously documented racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
All The Ways Being White Helped Me Avoid Prison
“As a young, educated white girl, I confused everyone I encountered in law enforcement.”
Subway Policing in New York City Still Has A Race Problem
As the NYPD slows arrests for fare evasion, neighborhoods of color remain a target.
A Murder Case Unravels
Prosecutors stacked the deck. Forty-one years later, that may be enough to free Johnny Gates.
Police Brutality Drove a Wedge Between Me and My Church
“I still believe that the congregation has some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, there were limits to that warmth that I could not abide.”
A Black Mother’s Survival Guide for Her Teenage Son
"The only right you have, I told him, is to make it home alive."
Taking Police Reform to Trump Country
Meet Sheriff Michael Chitwood, a Yankee cop in good-ol’-boy territory.
A ‘Routine’ Stop Almost Ended My Career Before It Started
Sometimes there’s danger in speaking out against perceived police misconduct.
When Race Tips the Scales in Plea Bargaining
New research finds that prosecutors give white defendants better deals than black defendants.
Why the Fraternal Order of Police Must Go
The nation’s largest police organization does more harm to public safety than good.
Trump Sells Snake Oil on Opioids
Instead of offering real solutions to the epidemic, the president is race baiting.
Killings of Black Men by Whites are Far More Likely to be Ruled “Justifiable”
The disparity remains no matter the circumstances and has persisted for decades.
White America’s Unshakeable Confidence in the Police
A new poll says whites are as confident in the police as ever. How?
The Prison Skinhead Gang was My Family. Then I Walked Away
After a violent encounter, an inmate makes a life change.
Ferguson Still Haunts Missouri — And Not The Way You Might Think
The city’s unrest emerges as a wedge issue in the governor’s race.
Chicago’s Ousted Top Cop Talks to Common About Race, Guns and Mistrust
A new docu-series, ‘America Divided,’ explores inequality, issue by issue.
I'm a Judge and I Think Criminal Court Is Horrifying
“I was shocked at the casual racism emanating from the bench.”
Dallas’s Deputy Chief on Race, Despair, and Learning from Police Shootings
“My life has to matter, too.”
Is Philando Castile the Ultimate Casualty of Driving While Black?
On paper, he looked like a career criminal. But look closer.
Are Traffic Stops Prone to Racial Bias?
An attempt to find out confronts a frayed patchwork of data across the country.
Four San Francisco Cops Talk About the Problems Plaguing Their Department
Five shootings, a text scandal, a hunger strike, and now a new boss.
The Anomaly of Dylann Roof
White-on-black murders rarely result in a death sentence. Roof might be an exception.
Can Courtroom Prejudice Be Proved?
The Supreme Court considers what it takes to show that prosecutors, when they pick juries, are discriminating against minorities.
David Clarke, the Trump-loving, pro-mass-incarceration Fox News favorite, is challenging criminal-justice reform—and stereotypes.
Do Public Defenders Spend Less Time on Black Clients?
Some suspect “implicit bias” is not just a problem for police, prosecutors, and judges.
A Judge Overturned a Death Sentence Because the Prosecutor Compared a Black Defendant to King Kong
The South Carolina prosecutor is known as ‘Death Penalty Donnie.’
How Much Do You Remember About the Rodney King Beating and Riots?
Twenty-five years ago, the first viral video captured police brutality and shook the nation.
Trayvon Martin Was Killed Four Years Ago Today
To commemorate the anniversary of his death, we rounded up some of the best reporting and commentaries on that night in Florida, George Zimmerman’s trial and what came next.
“Look at O.J. ... If He Had a Public Defender, He’d be in Jail.”
Why African-Americans don’t trust the courts, and why it matters.
Black and Unarmed: Behind the Numbers
What the Black Lives Matter movement misses about those police shootings.
Policing the Future
In the aftermath of Michael Brown's death, St. Louis cops embrace crime-predicting software.
Our Prisons in Black and White
The race gap for adults is shrinking. Why is it widening for juveniles?
Exclusive: Obama Calls the Death Penalty “Deeply Troubling.”
A one-on-one interview with the president.
‘When She Objected to Putting Out Her Cigarette ... She Was Saying, Leave Me Alone.’
A selection of recent letters from our readers.
‘Justice and Redemption Go Hand in Hand.’
A closer look at the president’s speech on criminal justice reform.
Bryan Stevenson on Charleston and Our Real Problem with Race
“I don’t believe slavery ended in 1865, I believe it just evolved.”
In Charleston, Echoes of Violence from 1963
A prosecutor looks back on the Birmingham church bombing.
When The Gang-bangers Are White Guys
“If these biker gangs were non-white, we’d have a national freakout.”
‘There is a Visceral Hatred for the People Who Wear This Uniform.’
Baltimore’s chief on policing in black communities.
‘People Think We're Out to Get Everyone.’
An Ohio cop of 17 years on drug laws, body cameras, and the police’s race problem.
Dollree Mapp, 1923-2014: “The Rosa Parks of the Fourth Amendment”
A black woman stood up to white police, and made history.
The Awakening of Thurgood Marshall
The case he didn’t expect to lose. And why it mattered that he did.
Eric Holder on His Legacy, His Regrets, and His Feelings About the Death Penalty
An interview with the outgoing attorney general.