Marshall Project Originals
People in the Scandal-Plagued Federal Prison System Reveal What They Need in a New Director
“This is kind of like AA: To move forward, first you have to admit there’s a problem.”
An Ode to Memo, the Cellmate and Art Teacher Who Saved My Life
After decades in the system, I was acting like a wild horse roaming the countryside. Memo taught me how to paint through the chaos.
They’re Going Back to Prison. But They Didn’t Commit New Crimes.
A court battle over an obscure Tennessee statute freed these men from prison. Years later, they were told they must return.
Trump’s Pardons Show The Process Has Always Been Broken
Donald Trump’s volatile approach to granting clemency epitomizes a system that many have long hoped to change.
These Federal Prison Guards Are Desperate for Trump to Lose
Unlike many law enforcement unions that endorsed the president, Bureau of Prisons staff argue he's anti-union.
Prisoners Won The Right To Stimulus Checks. Some Prisons Are Standing In The Way.
A federal judge ruled prisoners can get the $1,200 checks many Americans received in the spring. Some prison systems are putting up roadblocks, lawyers and prisoners say.
Thousands of Sick Federal Prisoners Sought Compassionate Release. 98 Percent Were Denied.
Wardens blocked bids for freedom as COVID-19 spread behind bars, data shows.
Byron Miller’s Race Against Time
Months ago, the attorney general ordered pandemic prison releases. After 24 years behind bars, Miller is one of many still waiting for a ticket home.
Before Election, Trump Tries To Stack Prison-Sentencing Agency With Right Wing Allies
The U.S. Sentencing Commission, required by law to be bipartisan, helps set prison terms for more than 70,000 people every year.
Freed From Prison, Dead from COVID-19, Not Even Counted
Officials’ missteps at Butner made it the deadliest federal lockup.
Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort Got to Leave Federal Prison Due to COVID-19. They’re The Exception.
Just a small fraction of federal prisoners have been sent home. Many others lack legal help and connections to make their case.
Coronavirus Ended His Shot at a Second Chance
The case of Patrick Jones, the first federal prisoner to die from COVID-19, epitomizes national debates about criminal justice reform.
How Bill Barr’s COVID-19 Prisoner Release Plan Could Favor White People
Only 7 percent of black men would be deemed low-risk enough to get out using the federal prison system’s risk assessment tool, according to an analysis.
“They Don’t Care:” Families Of The Incarcerated Fear The Worst As Coronavirus Spreads
With in-person visits suspended nationwide, people with loved ones behind bars say they’re being left in the dark.
Trade Your Prison Sentence for a Smartwatch?
Another dubious get-out-early offer is spreading through federal prisons. Lawyers say it’s a fake.
A Thirst for Justice
“They booked me into a cell where there was a paper sign over the toilet saying DON’T DRINK THE WATER.”
Want to Time Travel Back to the 80s? Visit a Prison “Typing Room”
“The typing room is where the optimism of naive, hopeful, recently incarcerated inmates goes to die.”
The Federal Prisoner Transit System—aka “Diesel Therapy”—Is Hell
Highlights of prisoner travel include gang fights, overflowing toilets and two weeks shackled to a neo-Nazi.
Money-Making Schemes That Ensnare Prisoners and Their Families
If it sounds too good to be true, legal experts say, it probably is.
I'm in Prison During the Shutdown. I Didn't Get "Holiday Steak."
There will be beans (there's always beans). And half of a chicken.
What the Government Shutdown Looks Like Inside Federal Prisons
Family visits canceled, guards driving for Uber, rising tensions and more.
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.
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.
Federal Watchdog Finds Mentally Ill Are Stuck in Solitary
A new report contradicts a claim from the Bureau of Prisons.
Meet the Full-Service Social Media Secretary for Prisoners
How Renea Royster gives prisoners access to the digital world.
There Are Practically No Juveniles in Federal Prison — Here’s Why
Obama takes bold action, but for a population of fewer than 30