Marshall Project Originals
When a Wedding Narrowed the ‘Emotional Distance’ of Prison
For the best man, a fleeting moment of humanity.
My Best Friends in Prison are Frogs, Turtles, and Raccoons
Sharing space with open-minded visitors from beyond the walls.
How a Phone Changed My Life on Death Row
“I felt like a virgin on my wedding night — eager to put this thing to use, not sure if it’ll hurt.”
The Best Guard at My Prison Was Murdered
“Timothy. His first name was Timothy. I hadn’t known that. They punish us for using guards’ first names.”
A Primer on the Nationwide Prisoners’ Strike
Prisoners can be forced to work without pay — the Constitution says so.
Do Prison Strikes Work?
Amid a current prison work stoppage, here are five strikes and how they turned out.
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.
How Having a Dog Changed My Life in Prison
“Until now, touching another living thing took place in the context of fights, pat-downs, and strip searches.”
What I've Learned Cutting Hair in Jail
“They look tired, ragged, and sick, more so than they thought they would.”
The Absurd Things I Heard Through the Vents in My Prison Cell
“The man proceeded to make car noises.”
What You Do While You Wait for Your Husband to Go to Prison
“Drive whenever you go anywhere, get your financial house in order, finalize your will, take baths, and cry.”
Watch a Video From “Mariposa and the Saint,” a New Play About Solitary Confinement
The work is based on years of letters between Julia Steele Allen and Sara Fonseca.
A Rare, White Christmas in a Texas Prison
“A few flakes continued to fall, and for a moment, I forgot where I was.”
Deck the Dorm: A Christmas Contest in a Kentucky Jail
The Louisville jail holds an annual competition to bring cheer to a tough time of year
A New York Prison-Yard Search and 10 Cases of Frostbite
Barehanded, inmates are ordered to grip a metal fence in 10-degree weather.
Prisoners Who Fight Wildfires in California: An Insider’s Look
For $2 a day, “It’s a hairy adventure, let me tell you.”
Why Dylann Roof’s Racism Will Only be Nurtured in Prison
An author and former prisoner reflects on the white supremacist’s potential fate.
Fact-Checking Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black
A former CO — and first-time OITNB-watcher — weighs in.
‘I Feel Unsafe Every Day.’
An Oklahoma corrections officer on the stress and danger of understaffing, and why each inmate should be given a joint twice a day.
Adding Pepper Spray to the Prison Arsenal
A new Human Rights Watch report assesses use of force behind bars.
Older Prisoners, Higher Costs
A tough, new report says it’s time for federal prisons to release the elderly and infirm.
‘If You’ve Been Waiting in Jail for Several Months, Prison is Considered the Promised Land.’
Daniel Luke, a 45-year-old former inmate from Oregon, on his time behind bars and what he struggles with now that he’s out.
‘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.
16-Hour Shifts, 300 Inmates to Watch, and 1 Lonely Son
The very sleep-deprived life of a corrections officer.