Marshall Project Originals
Federal Judge Eyes a ‘Last Resort’ Fix for New York City’s Jails
Record deaths at Rikers Island may lead to a federal takeover as criticism mounts.
Some Are Jailed in Mississippi for Months Without a Lawyer. A Court Just Barred That.
The Mississippi Supreme Court moved to end the “dead zone” before indictment in a notoriously dysfunctional public defender system.
Fighting the High Cost of Prison Phone Calls
Tired of exorbitant phone bills, prisoners and their families are pushing to lower costs.
How ‘Cruel and Not Unusual’ Conditions Persist in Many Lockups
Insight from a discussion with journalists, formerly incarcerated people and experts.
Some of Our Best Work of 2022
From coverage of prison violence and abuses in a juvenile lockup to investigations by our new Cleveland team, our reporters told stories that made a difference.
A Rikers Officer Had Sex With a Detainee. It Took 7 Years to Fire Him.
The officer also asked the woman to cover up that another Rikers guard sexually assaulted her.
Why So Many Jails Are in a ‘State of Complete Meltdown’
Overcrowding, violence and abuse proliferate at jails across the country, as staffing problems make long-simmering problems worse.
When It Comes to Voting in Jail, the Devil Is in the Details
Most people in New York City jails are eligible to vote. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to register or cast their absentee ballots. That’s where volunteers come in.
‘A Moral Disgrace’: How The U.S. Stopped Counting Deaths Behind Bars
The Department of Justice is failing miserably at collecting data on deaths. Experts say that makes it hard to identify the worst prisons and jails.
Banned Behind Bars
Issue 11 of News Inside delves into topics that would normally get a publication barred from prisons and jails
The ‘Foul-Mouthed Pagan Lesbian’ Who Inspired My Jail Memoir
Keri Blakinger’s new book, “Corrections in Ink,” began with Susan Begg, an older woman the author met on her second day in jail. If only Susan had lived to see it in print.
I Had a High-Risk Pregnancy in Jail — Then I Gave Birth in Chains
When Rebecca Figueroa was arrested two months into her pregnancy, she didn’t worry because she wasn’t guilty. But seven months later, she was still in jail and totally unprepared for a high-risk pregnancy, childbirth in restraints and the constant fear of losing her daughter.
Omicron Has Arrived. Many Prisons and Jails Are Not Ready.
Experts fear “another potential tinderbox scenario” akin to the early days of the pandemic.
They Put Me in Solitary for Drugs I Didn’t Have
Lockups use unreliable tests to claim that lawyers are sending drugs to their clients behind bars.
Dispatch From Deadly Rikers Island: “It Looks Like a Slave Ship in There.”
Rikers Island has been notorious for violence and neglect for decades. But detainees, corrections officers and officials tell us the New York City jail complex has plunged into a new state of emergency.
Experts Say the Culture Is Often to Blame When Lock-ups Spin Out of Control
Could changes in jailers’ attitudes lead to better jail conditions and fewer deaths?
Stopping Violence Over Prison Phone Time? There’s an App for That.
While Corey Devon Arthur was quarantining, people in the unit got tablets equipped with telephone apps. “If we all had the option to use a phone app, the value of violence would plunge,” he writes.
Inside The Nation’s Overdose Crisis in Prisons and Jails
Behind bars, drug use is rampant and uniquely deadly, new data shows.
“Spaces of Detention” Takes You Inside the Facilities That Criminalize Undocumented Immigrants
Photographer, artist and anthropologist Cinthya Santos-Briones partners with formerly detained immigrants to shine a light on the insular “architecture of punishment” in New Jersey.
Jail Populations Creep Back Up After COVID-19
Judges, prosecutors and sheriffs in many states sent people home instead of to jail last year, but new data suggests the change is not lasting.
What Could Have Kept Me Out of Prison
We asked people behind bars what services and programs could have changed the course of their lives. Therapy, affordable housing and a living wage topped the list.
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.
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.
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.
The 470,000 Potential Voters Most Likely To Be Disenfranchised Next Election
Voting rights for people in jail is becoming another casualty of COVID-19.
A New Tactic To Fight Coronavirus: Send The Homeless From Jails To Hotels
California and New York City are booking hotels so homeless people released from jail don’t accelerate the pandemic.
Why Jails Are So Important in the Fight Against Coronavirus
With about 200,000 people flowing into and out of jails every week, there are great risks not only for the detained, but also for jail workers and surrounding communities.
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.
How to Fix Our Prisons? Let The Public Inside.
We need a broad national effort to recruit and place volunteers to educate and counsel incarcerated people.
A Thirst for Justice
“They booked me into a cell where there was a paper sign over the toilet saying DON’T DRINK THE WATER.”
Can Racist Algorithms Be Fixed?
A new study adds to the debate over racial bias in risk assessment tools widely used in courtrooms.
The Underground Art of Prison Tattoos
Broken spoons, beard trimmer parts and other ingenious, sometimes dangerous, tools used by incarcerated body artists.
Training the Brain to Stay out of Jail
How one ambitious program aims to reduce crime by changing how repeat offenders think.
Rikers Doesn't Put Teens in Solitary. Other New York Jails Do.
Even after the high-profile death of Kalief Browder, jails in the rest of the state routinely isolate juveniles.
A Drug Company Says This Shot Will Keep You Out of Prison
Johnson & Johnson uses the prospect of jail time to market a schizophrenia drug.
North Carolina Fixes a Glitch — For One Guy
After a Marshall Project story, a man serving nine years in jail is moved to a prison.
Nine Years With No Sunshine
A glitch in North Carolina law is trapping people for years in unequipped jails.
When a Mental Health Emergency Lands You in Jail
Colorado just outlawed jail for people in a psychiatric crisis, but plenty of states still do it.
Hell Is Trying to Visit My Jailed Client
At Rikers, it uses up a day. At the courthouse? Don’t hold your breath.
The Mental Health Crisis Facing Women in Prison
A new study shows a striking disparity between incarcerated men and women.
Sandra Bland, One Year Later
Her death at a Texas jail spurred a striking amount of reform talk across political lines.
Who is Putting the Most People in Jail? Not New York, Chicago, or LA.
A new tool drills down on hidden incarceration rates.
‘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.
A Phone Call From Jail? Better Watch What You Say
A confession, a threat—it’s probably taped. And admissible.
Fixing the Jail Where Kalief Browder was Held
Former corrections chief Martin Horn has some ideas for Rikers Island.
The 17-Year-Old Adults
States are raising the age of who counts as an adult, but it’s no simple task.
Where Rape Goes Unnoticed
The Prison Rape Elimination Act is making its way into state prisons, but what about all those county jails?