Marshall Project Originals
California’s Longest Serving Death-Row Prisoner On Pain, Survival and Native Identity
As the Monache and Cherokee 63-year-old awaits a new hearing for a 1978 murder he denies committing, Douglas Ray Stankewitz shares the cultural tools and memories he depends on to stay alive.
Some of Our Best Work of 2021
From police use of force to life without parole to troubling prison conditions, our reporters told groundbreaking stories this year.
Her Baby Died After Hurricane Katrina. Was It a Crime?
An expansive definition of murder in Louisiana leaves many behind bars forever.
He Got a Life Sentence When He Was 22 — For Robbery
Black men are most affected by Florida’s two-strikes law.
Two Strikes and You’re in Prison Forever
Why Florida leads the nation in people serving life without chance of parole.
Parole Is Better Than Prison. But That Doesn’t Mean I’m Free.
At age 17, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. I got out due to Supreme Court decisions, but there was one catch: Parole for the rest of my life.
Supreme Court Conservatives Just Made It Easier to Sentence Kids to Life in Prison
The new ruling could worsen existing racial disparities in states that condemn teens to die in prison.
How COVID-19 Tested the Family Bonds I Was Building When I Got Out
After serving more than 21 years for a crime he committed at age 15, Angel Alejandro was reintroducing himself to his family. Then the virus took three relatives.
“Juvenile Lifers” Were Meant to Get a Second Chance. COVID-19 Could Get Them First.
The Supreme Court gave teens sentenced to life in prison a shot at freedom. Many are still waiting.
A Juvenile Lifer Finds Peace in the Prison Garden
Bobby Bostic was sentenced to 241 years at age 16. Gardening, he writes, keeps him growing.
What’s the Meaning of “Life” When Sentencing Kids?
The Supreme Court ended automatic life without parole for children. What replaces it remains unclear.
I Watched a Man Die in Prison. His Last Words Haunt Me.
“There is hardly a day that passes when I do not see his face.”
I Was a Juror on a Murder Trial, And I Still Can’t Let It Go
“I felt an overwhelming sense of injustice. How did this happen?”
The Right Age to Die?
For some, science is outpacing the High Court on juveniles and the death penalty.
Life After Life Without Parole
Ronald Elston spent more than 30 years in prison, with no preparation for what he would do if he got out.
Is It Murder if There’s No Homicide?
The strange case of a convicted killer whose “victim” probably died of her own drug overdose.
Death by Another Name
California Prop 62 would repeal the death penalty. A lifer says it doesn’t go far enough.
When Parole Boards Trump the Supreme Court
The high court has said most kids shouldn't be sentenced to life without parole, but some prisoners' fate are in the hands of politics.
The Supreme Court May Have Just Granted Thousands of Prisoners a Chance of Freedom
The Montgomery ruling says juveniles sentenced to life without parole must get a shot at a new sentence or parole.
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?
Why it’s Hard to be a Lifer Who’s Getting Out of Prison
After 34 years inside, sometimes you never feel free.
Life Without Parole: For Juveniles, 5 Tough Counties
New study places a quarter of the sentences in a handful of urban areas.
‘Children Do Not Have the Same Capacity as Adults to Control Their Reactions.’
A selection of recent letters from our readers.
Raised, and Imprisoned, by the State
A prisoner and former foster child on the kids he knew — and the inmates they became.
Too Old to Commit Crime?
Why people age out of crime, and what it could mean for how long we put them away.