Marshall Project Originals
A State-By-State Look at 15 Months of Coronavirus in Prisons
The Marshall Project and The Associated Press collected data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons every week. See how the virus affected correctional facilities near you.
‘A Dog Can Be Trained To Be Anti-Black’
A new film highlights historical use of canines against Black people
31,000 Prisoners Sought Compassionate Release During COVID-19. The Bureau of Prisons Approved 36.
As the pandemic worsened inside federal prisons, officials granted fewer releases.
Strict Border Enforcement Policies Put Migrants in Harm’s Way. Title 42 Is No Exception.
In fiscal year 2020, border encounters dropped by half while rescue rates doubled. Experts and humanitarian groups point to a Trump-era policy that continues today.
“He Died Like an Animal”: Some Police Departments Hogtie People Despite Knowing The Risks
The U.S. Department of Justice in 1995 warned that people may die when police tie handcuffed wrists to bound ankles.
Life Without Parole Is Replacing the Death Penalty — But the Legal Defense System Hasn’t Kept Up
Just ask a Dallas woman who spent a year in jail without talking to a lawyer.
Does Banning People With Felonies From Dating Apps Actually Make Anyone Safer?
“It’s using the justice system as a barometer of someone’s worth.”
The Marshall Project Wins Two Deadline Club Awards
Honored for our documentaries “Tutwiler” and “Anatomy of Hate.”
He Spent Six Days in a Cell Covered in Feces. The Supreme Court Says He Can Sue His Jailers.
It’s the first time in years the highest court allowed such a suit to proceed. The ruling suggests it is reconsidering protections for officers who cause harm.
Can The Death Penalty Be Fixed? These Republicans Think So
A growing number of conservative lawmakers want to overhaul capital punishment, or end it.
The Marshall Project Wins the Goldsmith Prize
Honored for our investigations into violence and dysfunction in the Mississippi prison system.
As States Expand Vaccine Eligibility, Many People in Prison Still Wait for Shots
Despite CDC advice to vaccinate prisoners quickly, two-thirds of states lag behind the general population.
Why Is It So Hard To Prosecute White Extremists?
Citing the protections of the First Amendment, prosecutors often use other charges as a workaround to go after members of hate groups.
Texas Prisons Stopped In-Person Visits and Limited Mail. Drugs Got in Anyway.
Guards smuggle in most contraband, people who live in or work at prisons say.
The Marshall Project Wins Nine Awards in the Society for News Design’s Best of Digital Design Competition
Honored with a gold medal for “Welcome to The Zo.”
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.
Inside Frigid Texas Prisons: Broken Toilets, Disgusting Food, Few Blankets
The deep freeze has been terrible for many Texans, but prisoners have little way to get warm.
The Marshall Project and Mississippi Today Win Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting
Our investigation exposed Mississippi’s modern-day debtors prisons.
The City Where Police Unleash Dogs On Black Teens
In Baton Rouge, police dogs bit a teenager 17 or younger every three weeks, on average.
When The Prison Banned Board Games, We Played Chess In Our Minds
“At the heart of our mental chess game lies a profound lesson: The difference between being content or distraught is a matter of perspective.”
Prisons Are Releasing People Without COVID-19 Tests Or Quarantines
People getting out of prison are bringing the virus outside because lockups aren’t taking basic precautions. Overtaxed halfway houses and other reentry programs are left to pick up the slack.
Zoom Funerals, Outdoor Classes: Jails and Prisons Evolve Amid the Pandemic
But will high-tech programs replace “the human touch” when the virus ebbs?
Moving People—and Coronavirus—From Prison to Prison
As COVID-19 infections soar, prisoners and corrections officers worry that transferring people between facilities is causing outbreaks.
Prisoners Are Setting Fires To Protest Pandemic Conditions
But many Texas prisons don’t have working fire alarms.
No-Show Prison Workers Cost Mississippi Taxpayers Millions
Prisoners, guards face danger from chronic understaffing by MTC
We’re Tracking Police Dog Bites Across the Country
Police dogs bite thousands of Americans each year, including innocent bystanders, children, police officers, even their own handlers. The Marshall Project—in collaboration with AL.com, IndyStar and the Invisible Institute—examined more than 150 serious cases nationwide.
Will Drug Legalization Leave Black People Behind?
Even in states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana possession, Black people are still more likely to be arrested for it than White people. These organizers are working to change that.
A Pacifist's Plan to Survive the Violent World of Prison
I once surveyed a plot of land for a future prison. Now I live in one.
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.
We’re Tracking 7 Ballot Measures That Could Change Criminal Justice
Find out whether voters said yea or nay to legalizing drugs, allowing people on parole to vote and run for office, and more.
Prison Is Even Worse When You Have a Disability Like Autism
State officials often fail to identify prisoners with developmental disorders, a group that faces overwhelming challenges behind bars, from bright lights to noises to social dynamics.
Police Wanted “A Dog That Would Bite A Black Person”
The terrifying reign of a small town’s police dog.
Unlocking The Vote In Jails
The majority of the 745,000 people held in local jails can vote, but few do. Advocates say it’s voter suppression on a national scale.
Mauled: When Police Dogs Are Weapons
A series on the damage police dogs inflict on Americans, published in collaboration with AL.com, IndyStar and the Invisible Institute.
She Went Out For A Walk. Then Drogo The Police Dog Charged.
Growing up, few Black families in Ayanna Brooks’s neighborhood had dogs. A vicious attack reminded her why.
Alabama’s Ugly Secret: Police Dog Attacks
Law enforcement releases little information about their K-9s, despite injuries and death.
When Police Violence Is a Dog Bite
An Alabama man killed by a K-9 officer was one of thousands of Americans bitten by police dogs every year. Few ever get justice.
The Sheriff’s Race Pitting Trump Against Black Lives Matter
Will demands for law enforcement accountability reach popular tough-on-crime sheriffs? A Florida race offers a test.
Half of Oklahoma Is Now Indian Country. What Does That Mean for Criminal Justice There?
Tribal courts and federal prosecutors face a flood of new cases after the Supreme Court ruling.
Will The Reckoning Over Racist Names Include These Prisons?
Many prisons, especially in the South, are named after racist officials and former plantations.
Your Local Jail May Be A House of Horrors
But you probably wouldn’t know it, because sheriffs rule them with little accountability. After one man's death in a notorious lockup, residents of a Missouri town fought back.
They Agreed to Meet Their Mother’s Killer. Then Tragedy Struck Again.
A Florida family opted for restorative justice over the death penalty for the man who murdered their mom. What happened next made them question the very meaning of justice.
How Long Can You Hide a Dead Body in a Prison Cell?
Mental-health problems, short staffing plague a Texas lockup in COVID lockdown.
Freed From Prison, Dead from COVID-19, Not Even Counted
Officials’ missteps at Butner made it the deadliest federal lockup.
Their Unlikely Alliance Began at Whataburger. Can They Reform a Texas Jail?
When COVID-19 threatened the jail in Tyler, Texas, an activist pressured her sheriff to make change.
“It Was An Execution”: Nicolas Chavez Was On His Knees When Police Killed Him. His Father Wants Answers.
The Houston shooting has sparked more questions about use of force and what many experts call the failed promise of police body cameras.
“I Begged Them To Let Me Die”: How Federal Prisons Became Coronavirus Death Traps.
The Bureau of Prisons was unprepared and slow to respond. Then officials took steps that helped spread the virus.
New Hope for People Who Claim Racism Tainted Their Death Sentence
The North Carolina state Supreme Court has upheld the controversial Racial Justice Act, which opponents repealed in 2013
We Were Gassed, Arrested, and Maybe Exposed to COVID-19
The things that make mass arrests especially awful are now health risks.
First Came The Pandemic, Then Came the Raw Sewage
As if coronavirus wasn’t bad enough, plumbing problems are making life in some Texas prisons even more miserable.
While I Wasted Time in Prison, My Mom Died of a Broken Heart
My mom was by my side the first time I went away. The second time was just too much.
Ahmaud Arbery and the Local Legacy of Lynching
How the white vigilante killing of the unarmed, black jogger in Brunswick, Georgia, is both an echo of past violence and a modern call to action.
What Women Dying In Prison From COVID-19 Tell Us About Female Incarceration
Fatal victims illuminate women’s unique problems in prison, and the all-too-common ways they get there in the first place.
Introducing “Tutwiler,” a new Marshall Project/Frontline documentary about women in an Alabama prison who support each other through pregnancy, labor and saying goodbye to their newborns.
Prisons Are Coronavirus Hotspots. This Town’s Got Five of Them.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” says the former mayor of Palestine, Texas.
Texas Prison Officers: We Asked For Face Masks In 2017. COVID-19 Got Here First.
A state spokesman says the system has more than 100,000 N95 masks, but it’s unclear how many have been given to officers or prisoners.
These Prisons Are Doing Mass Testing For COVID-19—And Finding Mass Infections
Health experts say not testing staff could be a blind spot.
Tracking the Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons
A new Marshall Project effort has collected data on the prevalence of COVID-19 among prisoners and prison staff. Here's what we know after one month of reporting.
“How Do I Defend People Now?”
Public defenders rely on in-person, confidential meetings with clients. They say COVID-19 makes their jobs nearly impossible.
The Judge Will See You On Zoom, But The Public Is Mostly Left Out
Volunteers who monitor courts across the country say they are getting little access to online-only proceedings.
Federal Prison Factories Kept Running as Coronavirus Spread
Prisoners made furniture and license plates during the pandemic, according to workers and families. Some plants are now making face masks.
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.
Federal Prisons Agency “Put Staff in Harm’s Way” of Coronavirus
Orders at Oakdale in Louisiana help explain COVID-19 spread.
Coronavirus Restrictions Stoke Tensions in Lock-ups Across U.S.
As COVID-19 fear grows among prisoners and guards, concerns rise about possible unrest.
Freed From Prison After 26 Years—Into a Coronavirus Hotspot
During the COVID-19 crisis, people coming home after decades behind bars find loved ones in quarantine, dire job prospects and overwhelmed social services agencies.
How Is The Justice System Responding to the Coronavirus? It Depends On Where You Live.
While some cities free people from jail and stop arrests, others are much more business as usual.
How Coronavirus is Disrupting the Death Penalty
Colorado abolished capital punishment. But COVID-19 is pausing it everywhere else.
“I Want to See my Child.” Juvenile Lockups Cut Visits Over COVID-19 Fears
Families fret about isolated youth behind bars.
North Carolina Prisoners Still Working in Chicken Plants, Despite Coronavirus Fears
“Kinda defeats the ban on visitation, which was to protect inmates and mainly staff,” critic says.
The Beto Effect: Transforming Houston's Criminal Justice System
New judges change courtroom culture as well as bail rules.
Mississippi Prisons: No One’s Safe, Not Even the Guards
Too many prisoners, too few officers leads to violence.
Anna Wolfe and Michelle Liu win February Sidney Award
Their investigation exposed modern-day debtors prisons in Mississippi.
Newsrooms Rethink a Crime Reporting Staple: The Mugshot
Confronted with the photos’ lasting impact, some news websites no longer use them as click-bait.
They Went to Jail. Then They Say They Were Strapped to a Chair for Days.
Allegations in a Missouri lawsuit shed light on how some jail officials use restraint chairs, which have been linked to dozens of deaths.
What’s in a Name?
New lawsuits by transgender people challenge bans on name changes for those convicted of crimes.
How We Investigated Mississippi’s Modern-Day Debtors Prisons
A tip led us to a little-known program that affected hundreds of poor workers.
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.
Mississippi Prison Killings: Five Factors Behind the Deadly Violence
Understaffing, powerful gangs and constant lockdowns brew tensions that exploded last week.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Prison officials tout video visitation’s convenience. Families say they’re paying high rates for second-rate service
His Appeal in Louisiana Was a Sham Proceeding. But the High Court Won’t Review the Case.
Louisiana automatically rejected appeals from prisoners who represented themselves. One prisoner hoped the Supreme Court would consider his conviction in the light of that scandal.
How Do You Prove You’re Innocent If You’re On Death Row?
Rodney Reed faces execution in Texas despite mounting evidence of innocence and bipartisan support.
How Did They Run an Elaborate “Sextortion” Scam From Prison? Cellphones.
Victim’s family pushes for a high-tech crackdown—but it may not work.
How More Than 50 Women Walked Out of a Prison in Oklahoma
The state slashed sentences for more than 500 people convicted in low-level drug and theft cases.
Why Some Police Departments Are Leaving Federal Task Forces
Cities say the feds won’t follow their rules about using force, body cams.
'Tutwiler' Reveals the Heartbreak of Pregnancy in Prison
A new documentary from The Marshall Project and Frontline (PBS) offers a rare look at the lives of expectant mothers inside a notorious women’s prison.
Do Deportations Lower Crime? Not According to the Data
A new study casts doubt on the effectiveness of a program that encourages local police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
Tennessee's Voter Restoration Gauntlet
The state’s byzantine felony disenfranchisement laws keep hundreds of thousands of formerly incarcerated residents from registering to vote.
What Gate Money Can (And Cannot) Buy
Most states give money to people leaving prison. But some formerly incarcerated people say it's often not enough to meet their basic needs.
They Got Their Voting Rights Back, But Will They Go to the Polls?
Thousands of Louisianians on probation and parole face numerous obstacles to casting a ballot, including the idea that their votes don't matter.
Money-Making Schemes That Ensnare Prisoners and Their Families
If it sounds too good to be true, legal experts say, it probably is.
Racism Tainted Their Trials. Should They Still Be Executed?
North Carolina Supreme Court hearings raise broad questions of systemic bias in the state judicial system.
Shock Treatment in Court
Stun belts are intended to keep control in the courtroom, but some judges use them to inflict punishment.
Corporate Confession: Gangs Ran This Private Prison
What happened in Mississippi when no one wanted dangerous, low-paying guard jobs.
Court Focuses on Motive as Shooter Pleads Guilty to Killing Muslim Students
Craig Hicks' broad hatred of non-white people lay behind the 2015 crime.
The Murderer Was Full of Hate. But Did He Commit a Hate Crime?
For the Muslim community in North Carolina, motive matters in 2015 student shootings.
More Families of Murder Victims in Louisiana Will Qualify for Financial Help
Lawmakers change rules after Marshall Project report on compensation fund.
D’Angelo Burgess Fled From Police. Does That Make Him a Killer?
An Oklahoma case raises issues about both felony murder charges and high-speed police pursuits.
Behind Bars for 66 Years
The story of North Carolina’s longest-serving inmate highlights the situation of people with intellectual disabilities in the criminal justice system.
They’re Haunted by ‘Ghost Warrants’ Years After Their Arrests
Outdated or inaccurate charges often linger on people’s records and lead to devastating new stints in jail.
The U.S. Prison Population is Shrinking
In 2018, the number of prisoners hit a nine-year low. But some states are resisting the trend.
Can Better Data Fix Florida’s Prisons?
A landmark law lets the state track people through the justice system. But that’s tougher than it sounds.
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.”
A DNA Test Might Help Exonerate This Man. A Judge Won’t Allow It.
North Carolina judge denies testing in a 1992 murder case, but lawyers want shell casings examined.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Buck
A capital case in Alabama raises the question: are you entitled to a conflict-free lawyer?
Desperate for Recruits, Police Consider Non-Citizens
Tattoos, beards and past drug use are okay. What next?