Marshall Project Originals
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.
He’s Too Mentally Ill to Execute. Why Is He Still on Death Row After 45 Years?
Raymond Riles has been on death row longer than anyone in America. He’s one of many who have languished there for decades with severe mental illnesses.
How Counseling Incarcerated Clients Helps Me Heal
My brother committed suicide because he felt totally alone. As a volunteer social worker at a jail, I can let even the most judged people know that someone cares.
This City Stopped Sending Police to Every 911 Call
Riding along with the civilian “crisis responders” of Olympia, Washington.
How Long Can You Hide a Dead Body in a Prison Cell?
Mental-health problems, short staffing plague a Texas lockup in COVID lockdown.
For Mentally Ill Defendants, Coronavirus Means Few Safe Options
While their mental health deteriorates, some are stuck in jail as hospitals are decreasing admissions to prevent the spread of infections.
Karl Taylor Died in a New York Prison. Now the State Has Agreed to Pay Millions.
Officials have also pledged to install video cameras and microphones throughout the Catskills facility where the death occurred.
I Struggled to Help a Prisoner. In Norway, I Found a Better Way
“We took off his wrist restraints and gave him pen and paper. He drew up a storm.”
Mourning a Stranger’s Suicide in Prison
“Together we prayed and talked about who this girl might have been—and who she might have become.”
Mentally Ill and Languishing in Jail
A Pennsylvania case illustrates a national problem: People with psychiatric illnesses often remain incarcerated while they wait for a hospital bed.
I Developed Agoraphobia in Prison
After spending 22 years in solitary confinement, anything larger than my cell threw me into panic.
The Case Against Cannabis
A journalist’s pursuit of the truth about marijuana, mental illness and violence.
Should I Have Let My Friend on Death Row Kill Himself?
“We don’t live on death row; we wait to die.”
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.
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."
How I Befriended a Prisoner on Suicide Watch
I looked into her eyes and told her, “Promise me you won’t hurt yourself again.”
Sent to a Hospital, But Locked in Prison
Despite years of criticism, New Hampshire has no place but prison for the dangerously mentally ill.
Training the Brain to Stay out of Jail
How one ambitious program aims to reduce crime by changing how repeat offenders think.
He Pocketed His Victims' Organs. Was His Death Penalty Trial Fair?
As Andre Thomas faces execution for three gory murders, a court questions jury bias and his competency.
Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary
Tennessee locks ailing, mentally ill, pregnant and juvenile prisoners in isolation to help jails save money.
A Drug Company Says This Shot Will Keep You Out of Prison
Johnson & Johnson uses the prospect of jail time to market a schizophrenia drug.
The Doctors Say I’m O.K, But Then There’s This Pain…
A fretful prisoner struggles with an ever-growing list of symptoms.
Intense and Raw, a Spotlight on Therapy at New Folsom Prison
In a new documentary, ‘The Work,’ inmates confront their fears in a quest for empathy.
Healing for Vegas
Helping survivors of the violence in Vegas means also addressing their inevitable trauma.
It’s Time We Talk About Police Suicide
More cops die of suicide than die of shootings and traffic accidents combined.
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.
My Friend Killed Himself in an Alabama Prison
A rash of suicides in solitary confinement hits an inmate close to home.
We Saw Monsters. She Saw Humans.
Scharlette Holdman, pioneering foe of the death penalty, dies at 70.
Federal Watchdog Finds Mentally Ill Are Stuck in Solitary
A new report contradicts a claim from the Bureau of Prisons.
One Bit of Good News for Immigrants in Detention
As a federal program grows, more mentally ill immigrants have access to attorneys.
The Mental Health Crisis Facing Women in Prison
A new study shows a striking disparity between incarcerated men and women.
For Corrections Officers and Cops, a New Emphasis on Mental Health
An intensive study and new programs to combat stress that often goes overlooked.
I Escaped My Manic Demons, but My Clients Usually Can’t
A social worker struggles to keep the mentally ill poor out of jail.
How America’s Most Famous Federal Prison Faced a Dirty Secret
The case that awakened us to the mental health trauma of “Supermax”
Sandra Bland, One Year Later
Her death at a Texas jail spurred a striking amount of reform talk across political lines.
The Man With the Bleeding Brain
William Palmer was “severely mentally impaired” when he clashed with police. Should that matter?
Did the Cop-Killers Have PTSD?
We may never know, because “it is so easy to fall through the cracks.”
Join Our Chat On Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System
We’re talking all about mental illness and justice during our next Justice Talk with Digg, on Wednesday, June 1. For context, browse our guide to key reading on the issue.
Death by Indifference
Remembering Robert Knott, a case the Justice Department would rather you forget
What Kalief Browder’s Mother Thinks Should Happen to Rikers
‘There was nothing I could do with him being in there.’
An Unbelievable Story of Rape
An 18-year-old said she was attacked at knifepoint. Then she said she made it up. That’s where our story begins.
‘Access to Emergency Care Is the Very First Step in Saving a Life.’
A selection of recent letters from our readers.
‘I Spend Just as Much Time Protecting Felons from Society.’
A New York parole officer on GPS monitoring, the biggest challenges facing former inmates, and whether parole makes a difference.
‘Sure, People Are Talking About Prison Reform, but They Aren’t Actually Doing Anything.’
Inmate-turned-journalist Paul Wright on what he’s learned in his 25 years covering the prison system.