Marshall Project Originals
Think Debtors Prisons Are a Thing of the Past? Not in Mississippi.
How the state’s “restitution program” forces poor people to work off small debts.
Chuck Coma Comes Home
He was one of the thousands of people assaulted in federal prisons each year. After his cellmate nearly killed him, he returned to his family a broken man.
The Kim Foxx Effect: How Prosecutions Have Changed in Cook County
The state’s attorney promised to transform the office. Data shows she’s dismissed thousands of felonies that would have been pursued in the past.
We Are Witnesses: Chicago
An immersive short-video series presenting intimate portraits of Chicagoans who have been touched by the criminal justice system.
The King of Dreams
A Texas con artist made millions promising prisoners' families the thing they wanted most: To bring their children home.
Corporate Confession: Gangs Ran This Private Prison
What happened in Mississippi when no one wanted dangerous, low-paying guard jobs.
Punishing Kids With Years of Debt
Courts often order children who break the law to pay thousands of dollars in restitution to victims—even when the victim is an insurance company.
A Man Died in a Private Prison Van. The Company Says: Not Our Problem
How the dangerous prisoner transport business has dodged responsibility for “gross negligence.”
Desperate for Recruits, Police Consider Non-Citizens
Tattoos, beards and past drug use are okay. What next?
More than a year ago, Nevada death row prisoner Scott Dozier gave up his legal appeals and asked to be executed. He’s still waiting.
How Incarcerated Parents Are Losing Their Children Forever
Being stripped of parental rights while in prison, even for minor crimes, is “the family separation crisis that no one knows about,” one advocate said.
Why Is Karl Taylor Dead?
Our prisons are our mental wards. One fatal case in New York shows where that can lead.
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.
After passing a series of restrictive housing laws, Miami-Dade County faces an odd predicament: bands of nomadic sex offenders and a cat-and-mouse game to move them.
The Victims Who Don’t Count
Seven states won’t give victim aid to people with criminal histories. The policies fall hardest on black families.
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.
How We Reported Our Mississippi Bond Story: A Guide to Our Methodology
A unique database offered an unprecedented look at the lucrative business.
Your Loved One Dies. The Prison Leaves a Voicemail.
Policies for notifying families about inmate deaths vary by state. Some say the process is often inhumane.
The Billionaire's Crusade
Broadcom's Henry Nicholas is spending millions to give victims a bigger voice, but not everyone agrees.
The Connecticut Experiment
Young brains are still evolving. One prison is trying to take advantage of that.
More from The Marshall Project
Vance the philanthropist, Vance and the game of hide-the-evidence, Vance and the rise of the reform DA.
The People vs. Cy Vance
Think the Manhattan DA goes easy on the rich? Take a look at how he prosecutes the poor.
Framed for Murder By His Own DNA
We leave traces of our genetic material everywhere, even on things we’ve never touched. That got Lukis Anderson charged with a brutal crime he didn’t commit.
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.
After nearly a decade in detention, Haroon Gul believed he had a chance at freedom. Then came President Trump.
Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary
Tennessee locks ailing, mentally ill, pregnant and juvenile prisoners in isolation to help jails save money.
Taking Police Reform to Trump Country
Meet Sheriff Michael Chitwood, a Yankee cop in good-ol’-boy territory.
The Big Business of Prisoner Care Packages
Inside the booming market for food in pouches, clear electronics, pocket-less clothing and other corrections-approved goods.
We are Witnesses
The American criminal justice system consists of 2.2 million people behind bars, plus tens of millions of family members, corrections and police officers, parolees, victims of crime, judges, prosecutors and defenders.
“Cooking Them to Death”: The Lethal Toll of Hot Prisons
As the climate changes, inmates without air-conditioning have no escape from extreme heat.
How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor
By reframing the issue around the evils of big government, Republicans are notching victories that have eluded more liberal legislatures.
From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones
In prison for 20 years, Michelle was chosen for Harvard's elite graduate history program. Then she was unchosen.
How to Cut Down on Searches in Traffic Stops: Legalize Pot
New data shows legalization leads to fewer encounters between cops and drivers, but racial disparities remain.
Can This Marriage Be Saved?
Left and right came together on criminal justice reform. Then Trump happened.
How your ugly booking photos (and Tiger’s) became a commodity for cops, hustlers and journalists.
Katie's father went to prison for raping her and her brothers. It was an unthinkable crime that broke her family apart. So why couldn't she remember it?
Afraid of Jail? Buy an Upgrade
How California's pay-to-stay jails create a two-tiered justice system.
America’s Toughest Immigration Court
Welcome to Stewart Detention Center, the black hole of the immigration system.
In Alabama, You Can Be Sentenced to Death Even if Jurors Don’t Agree
Judges have uniquely uncommon power in the state.
Out of Prison, Uncovered
Medicaid for ex-prisoners saves money and lives, but millions are released without it.
Inmates Say They Paid a Bloody Price for a Guard's Injury
Prisoners describe a rampage by correctional officers in a New York prison.
28 Days in Chains
In this federal prison, inmates have a choice: live with a violent cellmate or end up in shackles.
This Machine Could Prevent Gun Violence — If Only Cops Used It
A system that can link gun crimes through shell casings is hobbled by skepticism and lack of manpower.
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'.
When Real Estate and Tax Lawyers Are Forced to Do a Public Defender’s Job
Louisiana judges are finding some unexpected substitutes for underfunded defenders.
When the Money Runs out for Public Defense, What Happens Next?
Massive caseloads, long wait lists, group plea deals, and other realities of a funding crisis.
Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport
Tens of thousands of people every year are packed into vans run by for-profit companies with almost no oversight.
Meet the Full-Service Social Media Secretary for Prisoners
How Renea Royster gives prisoners access to the digital world.
The Day My Brother Took a Life and Changed Mine Forever
I grew up idolizing my brother. Then he killed a man.
Nothing But The Truth
A radical new interrogation technique is transforming the art of detective work: Shut up and let the suspect do the talking.
David Clarke, the Trump-loving, pro-mass-incarceration Fox News favorite, is challenging criminal-justice reform—and stereotypes.
The Prison Visit That Cost My Family $2,370
How loved ones bear the hidden cost of shipping inmates out of state.
The Deadly Consequences of Solitary With a Cellmate
Imagine living in a cell that’s smaller than a parking space — with a homicidal roommate.
Kendrick Lamar, the Grammys and the Year in Socially Conscious Music
Black Lives Matter took center stage in 2015’s hip-hop and R&B.
Policing the Future
In the aftermath of Michael Brown's death, St. Louis cops embrace crime-predicting software.
Why Some Young Sex Offenders Are Held Indefinitely
Jhon Sanchez already served his time for a series of sex offenses he committed when he was 13. But he’s not free yet. Inside the world of civil commitment.
Where the Democratic Presidential Candidates Stand on Criminal Justice
A look at Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley in their fourth debate.
Republican Candidates on Criminal Justice: A Primer
Their sixth debate is in Charleston, a city still recovering from last year’s church killings.
How to Get Out of Solitary — One Step at a Time
New programs are easing inmates out of years of solitary confinement with surprising outcomes for both prisoners and corrections officers.
This Boy’s Life
At 16, Taurus Buchanan threw one deadly punch—and was sent away for life. Will the Supreme Court give him, and hundreds like him, a chance at freedom?
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.
When School Feels Like Jail
Isolation rooms and paddling: What some schools in the South are doing to keep students in line.
6,000 People Are About to be Freed From Federal Custody — Here’s What They’ll Face
Six men who spent years behind bars offer advice.
Exclusive: Obama Calls the Death Penalty “Deeply Troubling.”
A one-on-one interview with the president.
For Men in Prison, Child Support Becomes a Crushing Debt
New regulations would give parents in prison the right to pause child support payments, but opponents say it undercuts welfare reform.
America’s Rock Star Cops
Meet the elite chiefs who revolutionized policing nationwide, for better and for worse. Now they want to do it again.
Why It’s So Hard to Fire an Abusive Prison Guard
Corrections officials say he injured an inmate and lied about it. He’s still a state employee. He’s more the rule than the exception.
Prison Without Punishment
Germany allows inmates to wear their own clothes, cook their own meals, and have romantic visits. Could that work in the United States?
Alternatives to Bullets
From liquids that smell like dead animals to high-temperature heat rays, the present and future of non-lethal weapons.
A Letter to Pope Francis
You are about to enter Philadelphia’s largest jail. Here is what you should know.
‘I Reviewed Jail on Yelp Because I Couldn't Afford a Therapist.’
Why people are using sites like Yelp to vent and offer tips about prison and jail.
The New Science of Sentencing
Should prison sentences be based on crimes that haven’t been committed yet?
A One-Man Justice Crusade in North Carolina
Before there was a conservative push for reform, there was ‘Bev’ Lake.
Life Without Parole
Inside the secretive world of parole boards, where your freedom may depend on politics and whim.
The Long and Winding Detainment of Diana Ramos
Why did this undocumented woman spend more than four years in detention?
From Solitary to the Street
What happens when prisoners go from complete isolation to complete freedom in a day?
Nigerians are Flocking to Work in Texas Prisons
An immigration trend changes the face of corrections.
Willie Horton Revisited
We talk to the man who became our national nightmare. Thirty years later, does he still matter?
A Record of Trouble
California looks to halfway houses, finds a company cited for violence and escapes.
Florida’s Record on Rape
A closer look at the Sunshine State’s history of undercounting, or altogether ignoring, sexual abuse in its prisons.
‘Trust Nobody, and Proceed with Caution’
Two new safety videos aim to protect New York inmates from prison rape.
16-Hour Shifts, 300 Inmates to Watch, and 1 Lonely Son
The very sleep-deprived life of a corrections officer.
Cincinnati: Ferguson’s Hope or Hype?
A closer look at the Ohio city that everyone is touting as the model of police-community harmony.
Death by Deadline, Part One
How bad lawyering and an unforgiving law cost condemned men their last appeal.
No Country for Young Men
Junior Smith was a troubled kid who needed help. Instead, West Virginia sent him to jail.