Marshall Project Originals
Some of Our Best Work of 2019
Catch up on probing investigations, moving documentaries and the new print magazine that made our year.
Our 2019 Picks for Criminal Justice in Movies, TV and Podcasts
The Marshall Project staff shares some of our favorite things to watch and listen to.
The Case for Abolition
“We have grown weary of worn-out debates over the feasibility of a world without prisons.”
It's Time to Change the Way the Media Covers Crime
Ava DuVernay's 'When They See Us' revisits the Central Park jogger case. Here’s what we’ve learned since then
Let’s Make It Easier for Kids to Visit Incarcerated Parents
Nonprofits in a handful of states provide transportation to help children visit their imprisoned parents. Now New York may revive a state-funded free busing program.
How Fear Contributes to Cops' Use of Deadly Force
Police employ lethal violence in response to perceived threats at vastly different rates across the country. Racial bias is just one factor.
“Medicare for All” Is Missing a Vital Group: The Incarcerated
“Can criminal justice reform succeed without addressing the health of incarcerated people?"
Why We Bear Witness: Speaking Uncomfortable Truths About Immigration
We Are Witnesses: Becoming an American sparks a difficult but honest conversation about the U.S. immigration system.
What Becoming an American Means Now
The Marshall Project's new film series takes you inside the U.S. immigration system through personal, poignant testimonials.
Out From the Holocaust
Germany reckoned with its past to build a better justice system. America should too.
A Sentence for Felony Murder—and the Consequences of Hope
California scales back its felony murder rule.
California Passed a Law to Put Me Out of Business—And Taxpayers Will Get the Bill
Why eliminating bail is bad for my industry, defendants and everyone else.
Here's Why Jeff Sessions' Parting Shot Is Worse Than You Thought
Former attorney general’s directives make it easy to render federal action against abusive police departments ineffective.
The Inspiring Life and Career of Devah Pager
An appreciation of the Harvard sociologist who meticulously documented racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
Voters Want Criminal Justice Reform. Are Politicians Listening?
Midterms show wide support across party lines for changing the system.
Florida’s Election Shows the True Promise of Restoring Voting Rights
With the passage of Amendment 4, more than a million people intimately affected by the criminal justice system have become more empowered to shape it.
Why Police Should Embrace Communities—Not Shut Them Out
A former police chief on why the job should be more than “runnin’ and gunnin’.”
Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke's Record Was a Warning Sign
Can the conviction of Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke finally force policing into the 21st century?
The Video Doesn’t Lie — Even If the Officer Did
A retired police officer reflects on the Jason Van Dyke verdict.
The Terrible Cost of The Sentence
Powerful HBO documentary chronicles family trauma caused by mandatory minimums.
Forget The Ticket — Could You Get Arrested For A Parking Violation?
Supreme Court lets stand lower court ruling extending pretextual stops to parking infractions.
Arrests And Technology Haven’t Stopped Fare Evasion — And Probably Never Will
Subways and buses are no match for those intent on riding without paying.
Three Strikes Didn’t Work. It’s Time to Pay Reparations
Black and brown men paid the price for supplying what the recreational drug market demanded: cocaine and weed.
Jim Crow’s Lasting Legacy At The Ballot Box
Denying voting rights to people with felony convictions has roots in racist laws.
What ‘Enemies Of The People’ Truly Means — And Why The Media Are Not
Journalists expose systems that don’t work, and officials often agree.
Medium-Security Monastery: McCarrick House Arrest Skirts Civil Justice System
Accused priests face church-imposed “prayer and penance,” but not courts.
Why Incarcerated People At Poultry Plants Deserve Better
Hazardous conditions undermine the benefits of early work release.
The Real BlacKkKlansman - And Other KKK Infiltrators
Spike Lee’s Hero is Not the First Black Person to Breach the Klan — Or the Most Effective.
In Trump Country, ICE May Chill Immigrants’ Crime Reports
Fewer calls on opioid abuse may mean sicker, and more dangerous, rural communities.
It’s Still ‘Show Me’ the Money
Post-Ferguson, St. Louis County courts initiate reforms, but bail hasn’t yet gone away.
This Call May be Monopolized and Recorded
Advocates say prison phone companies’ merger diminishes competition
Revolutionary Moments in Law Enforcement
Had British authorities and their soldiers exercised de-escalation tactics, would the United States exist today?
An Irrevocable Separation
When the government executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the welfare of their two boys was a secondary concern.
The Long Way Home
“Each step in the transition from prison to community is an opportunity for either social integration or isolation.”
Fear of a Black Patron
In retail, fear of black criminality regularly shows up in policies and practices across stores and sectors.
Police Brutality Drove a Wedge Between Me and My Church
“I still believe that the congregation has some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, there were limits to that warmth that I could not abide.”
I Was Too Young to Own a Gun
“I take full responsibility for my actions. I killed a man. Still, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if we’d met just a few years later...if I didn’t have a gun.”
Let’s Put an End to Prosecutorial Immunity
“The time has come to create some level of accountability for prosecutors.”
For Henry Montgomery, a Catch-22
His “meaningful opportunity for release” came with impossible conditions.
About the ‘Anglo-American Heritage of Law Enforcement’
Jeff Sessions is right about the ‘heritage' of U.S. sheriffs, in more ways than one.
Waiting for Justice
One man’s seven-year wait for a trial reveals the ways mandatory minimums distort our courts.
How Post-Prison Reentry Programs Fail Queer Women
Having a man counts as a plan in some reentry programs.
Cyntoia Brown and Our Twisted System
The process that sent a teenage sex-trafficking victim to prison for life didn’t fail. It worked as it was designed to.
A ‘Routine’ Stop Almost Ended My Career Before It Started
Sometimes there’s danger in speaking out against perceived police misconduct.
When A Small Town’s Private Prison Goes Bust
Contrary to popular belief, private prisons often don’t save the economies of the rural towns that seek them out.
Debating Risk-Assessment Tools
Experts weigh in on whether algorithms have a place in our criminal justice system.
When Race Tips the Scales in Plea Bargaining
New research finds that prosecutors give white defendants better deals than black defendants.
In Defense of Risk-Assessment Tools
Algorithms can help the criminal justice system, but only alongside thoughtful humans.
Bad Bail Practices and Immigration Policy Led To My Client’s Death At Rikers
Selmin Feratovic might be alive today if not for our deeply broken system.
‘Black Identity Extremists’ and the Dark Side of the FBI
Leaked documents remind us of the agency’s history of dirty tricks.
Federal Prisons Don’t Even Try to Rehabilitate the Undocumented
The Bureau of Prisons fails to provide basic resources to undocumented prisoners.
Why the Fraternal Order of Police Must Go
The nation’s largest police organization does more harm to public safety than good.
What's Terrorism? Depends on Who, and When, You Ask
The definition of terrorism varies by jurisdiction and has morphed over time.
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.
After Executions, Defense Attorneys Have Their Own Grief
A therapist on the emotional price lawyers pay to defend individuals sentenced to death.
How Bad Apples Spoil the Whole Bunch
When a ‘hot cop’ proves himself a bad apple, police should hold him accountable, not close ranks.
Making Sense of Senseless Violence
A Harvard sociologist on a recent story from The Marshall Project and the ways violence begets more violence.
When Backing the Blue Backfires
The DOJ’s most recent attempt to appear pro-cop actually hurts law enforcement.
A Decades-Old Conviction Cost Me My Post-Retirement Job
A mistake from a Dallas grandmother’s past reared its ugly head when she least expected it.
Trump Sells Snake Oil on Opioids
Instead of offering real solutions to the epidemic, the president is race baiting.
When Less is More
How putting fewer people on probation and parole can reduce prison populations, save money and keep us safer.
Trump’s Remarks To Police Violate His Oath of Office
The president swore to uphold the Constitution but asked officers to ignore it.
Our Long, Troubling History of Sterilizing the Incarcerated
State-sanctioned efforts to keep the incarcerated from reproducing began in the early 20th century and continue today.
White America’s Unshakeable Confidence in the Police
A new poll says whites are as confident in the police as ever. How?
To Be Good Employees, the Formerly Incarcerated Must First Become Bosses
For the incarcerated, personal agency is a deciding factor in success after release.
Law Enforcement is Still Used as a Colonial Tool In Indian Country
Leaked documents reveal coordination between big business and law enforcement to break up last year’s protests at Standing Rock.
After Creating Danger, Can Cops Use Force with Impunity?
A recent Supreme Court decision left open that possibility. That’s bad for the public, and for police.
Jeff Sessions Could Learn Something From Fox’s New Cop Show
A former senior DOJ official says ‘Shots Fired’ gets right what the AG gets wrong.
Give Juveniles Their Due
Fifty years after a landmark Supreme Court case, juvenile courts still lack due process.
A Lesson On Jordan Edwards
A high school teacher on the challenge of responding to high-profile police shootings.
Ledell Lee Never Had A Chance
He was the first man executed by Arkansas in nearly 12 years. Jurors never heard his story.
What I Learned About Justice Reporting From Inside Prison
A former prison journalist on what’s missing from criminal justice coverage.
Public Record, Astronomical Price
Unable to afford a trial transcript, a journalist digs into the laws that govern them.
Crime Hotspots Need Investments, Not Just Policing
Anti-crime strategies should try to fix what makes hotspots prone to violence.
A Critical Civil Rights Tool Is on the Chopping Block
A pending vote on class actions could determine the future of civil rights cases.
How Immigrants Make Communities Safer
Immigrants may actually bring down crime in areas where they live.
Why Trump’s Wall Won’t Keep Out Heroin
It’s the easiest drug to traffic in small batches, and it is very lucrative.
Why Jeff Sessions Should Police the Police
Consent decrees can improve law enforcement even in cities that aren’t investigated.
What We Can Learn from the Amazing Drop in Juvenile Incarceration
Lesson One: Don’t make policies when emotions are running high.
Dear President Trump: Here’s How to get Right on Crime, Part 3
Listen to Pence, Carson, Priebus, Kushner — and look out your window.
Dear President Trump: Here’s How to get Right on Crime, Part 2
End overcriminalization, reward success, pay attention to the heroin crisis.
Dear President Trump: Here’s How to get Right on Crime, Part 1
Focus on intent, tailor the punishment to the crime, prepare prisoners for life after incarceration.
Some of Our Best Work in 2016
In-depth investigations, insightful features and one story to give us hope.
Waiting for a Reprieve That Never Comes
For defenders, the frantic paperwork ends, and so does a client’s life.
What Chris Christie Got Wrong About Solitary Confinement
Scope, purpose, duration — in short, everything
Revisiting the Ghosts of Attica
A wrenching new book recounts the bloodiest prison battle in our history.
What the DOJ’s Report on Baltimore Teaches Us About Cops, Sex Workers, and Corruption
A look inside a culture of pervasive misconduct.
Five Voices on Reforming the Front End of Justice
While the feds fiddle, some locals are innovating.
Is Philando Castile the Ultimate Casualty of Driving While Black?
On paper, he looked like a career criminal. But look closer.
Poor on a Native American Reservation? Good Luck Getting a Lawyer.
A judge takes a hard look at tribal justice.
For 50 Years, You’ve Had “The Right to Remain Silent”
So why do so many suspects confess to crimes they didn’t commit?
Some of Our Best Work of the Past Year
From David Simon's Baltimore anguish to elite police fraternities to teens behind bars.
Bill Clinton, “Black Lives” and the Myths of the 1994 Crime Bill
Pause the debate for some inconvenient history.
It’s Been 40 Years Since the Supreme Court Tried to Fix the Death Penalty — Here’s How It Failed
A close look at the grand compromise of 1976.
A Judge Overturned a Death Sentence Because the Prosecutor Compared a Black Defendant to King Kong
The South Carolina prosecutor is known as ‘Death Penalty Donnie.’
Death by Indifference
Remembering Robert Knott, a case the Justice Department would rather you forget
“Look at O.J. ... If He Had a Public Defender, He’d be in Jail.”
Why African-Americans don’t trust the courts, and why it matters.
Does Predictive Policing Lead to More Police in Black Communities? Readers React
What you had to say about our latest story on predictive policing.
Black and Unarmed: Behind the Numbers
What the Black Lives Matter movement misses about those police shootings.
Were You or a Loved One the Victim of a Crime? Was the Perpetrator Later Exonerated?
If so, we want to hear from you.
Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall and the Way to Justice
Two towering lives in a prequel to Black Lives Matter.
Why We Need to Shut Down Juvie
“In my five years running the Washington system, I never saw one white youth in my correctional facility.”
Digg Dialog Recap: How Not To Handle A Rape Investigation
Missed the discussion? Here are the highlights.
Raphael Holiday was Put to Death, and His Lawyers Should Have Tried Harder to Stop It
Gretchen Sween was hired a month before Holiday was executed. This is what she saw.
Join Our Discussion: How Not To Handle A Rape Investigation
Thursday at 12:30 PM, The Marshall Project and ProPublica are hosting a Digg Dialog on how police should handle rape allegations.
Who is Putting the Most People in Jail? Not New York, Chicago, or LA.
A new tool drills down on hidden incarceration rates.
Five Things Wrong With Georgia’s Death Penalty
On the eve of the next execution, a look at the state’s history of bad lawyering and faulty evidence.
Radley, DeRay, and Piper on Obama’s Conversation with The Marshall Project
Other voices from the criminal justice community weigh in.
What Can Reforming Solitary Confinement Teach Us About Reducing Mass Incarceration?
It’s not about non-violent offenders. And it won’t be cheap.
Crime, Fear, and the Republicans
Can the GOP interest in criminal justice reform survive Donald Trump?
Obama’s Final 500 Days
People from across the political spectrum suggest criminal justice reforms the president should enact during his remaining time in office.
Why Dylann Roof’s Racism Will Only be Nurtured in Prison
An author and former prisoner reflects on the white supremacist’s potential fate.
Join Our Facebook Chat On Rikers Island
Bill Keller, Dana Goldstein, Alysia Santo and Eli Hager will answer your questions on what life is like on Rikers, and recent reform efforts.
Fact-Checking Season 3 of Orange Is the New Black
A former CO — and first-time OITNB-watcher — weighs in.
Kalief Browder was a Good Kid. Should That Matter?
The not-so-nice kids don’t deserve to be brutalized, either.
Why Carlos Montero Has Been in Rikers for Seven Years Without Trial
Blame the judge, lawyers, and DNA.
How Do We Hold a Child’s Mind Accountable?
A Colorado judge on why we don’t know nearly enough about the link between the young brains and behavior.
Fixing the Jail Where Kalief Browder was Held
Former corrections chief Martin Horn has some ideas for Rikers Island.
How Nebraska Repealed the Death Penalty
A deep-red state shows the way, with conservatives in the lead.
A Courtroom Divided
What a battle between a Mississippi judge and a group of public defenders tells us about the state of indigent defense.
Asking the Right Questions About the Death Penalty
The incoming head of the Death Penalty Information Center on the time he was a potential juror in a capital case.
Reflections on Roper
On the 10th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision about juveniles and the death penalty, what has really changed?
The Missed Opportunity of Robert Woodson
One conservative black activist’s campaign for community crime control.
A New York Lesson for Chicago (and Elsewhere)
Paying the wrongfully imprisoned, quickly, is both moral and economical.
Four things the next attorney general needs to know about America’s indigent defense crisis.