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Katie Park is a developer and data journalist who creates data visualizations and digital features at The Marshall Project. Her work has been recognized by the Society for News Design, the Society of Professional Journalists, Malofiej Infographic Awards and the White House News Photographers Association. She previously worked at NPR and The Washington Post.
Twitter @katiepark
Coronavirus April 15
The Marshall Project is collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. See how the virus has affected correctional facilities where you live.
Rahsaan Thomas, an imprisoned journalist, has long fought to change the way outside media describe people in prison. One of his toughest crowds? His fellow reporters.
While we have to be aware that any word we choose has influence, no amount of Googling will reveal the magic word that brings justice into American prisons.
Of course not everyone means harm when they use prison labels. But that doesn’t make the language any less damaging.
Rethinking the words journalists use to talk about people who are currently or previously incarcerated.
As correctional officers, we are conditioned to call prisoners ‘inmates.’ But at Sing Sing, where I worked for 25 years, that was as bad as calling them a snitch.
I didn’t always detest this term. But hearing officers use it as an insult reminded me to call incarcerated people — including myself — by our names.
Coronavirus April 6
As COVID-19 spread earlier this year, prison facilities across the country suspended visits from family and lawyers. Several months into the pandemic, some states are easing those restrictions. We’re rounding up the changes as they occur.
Coronavirus April 6
Despite CDC advice to vaccinate prisoners quickly, two-thirds of states lag behind the general population.
Death Sentences February 10
The Marshall Project tracked every execution in America for more than five years. For condemned people, the path to death grew longer, more winding and erratic.