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“Life Inside” is a weekly series of first-person essays from people who live or work in the criminal justice system. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get it in your inbox.

We're looking for 1,000 to 1,400-word nonfiction stories about a vivid, surprising, personal experience you had with the system—whether you are currently or formerly incarcerated, on probation or parole, a family member of an incarcerated person, a victim, judge, lawyer or police officer, or you otherwise interact with the system.

We don’t accept poetry, fiction, op-eds and essays that are not related to criminal justice.

Email pitches to lifeinside@themarshallproject.org or mail them to us.

Please note that we are unable to respond to all of the pitches that we receive. If we’d like to work on a piece with you, there will be an editing process.

Life Inside August 6
We grew up listening to Tupac, smoking blunts and emulating Black people. Behind bars, our past was a dangerous secret.
Life Inside July 23
Since the killing of George Floyd, protesters have started to change the way we think about law enforcement. Will it trickle into prisons?
Life Inside July 16
Days before Daniel Lewis Lee became the first federal prisoner executed in 17 years, fellow death row resident Billie J. Allen wrote about the shared terror of wondering who’s next.
Life Inside July 9
I’m a Cambodian-American from Long Beach, California. But to a prison system that limits its population categories to “Black,” “White” and “Hispanic,” I’m the race version of a misfit toy.
Life Inside June 25
Being locked up for a crime I didn’t commit was hard. But nothing compares to the humiliation and harassment that my elderly, disabled, Black cellmate experienced.
Life Inside June 18
Growing up with a father who was incarcerated didn’t define me. But it certainly taught me to challenge stereotypes and ask better questions.
Life Inside June 4
Visiting my son in jail for the first time, I know that I cannot protect him. Although he is too young to drink, the criminal justice system regards him as an adult.
Life Inside May 28
“After close to 22 years inside, I thought I had seen everything when it comes to the Department of Corrections using impossible-to-follow rules to punish prisoners. I was wrong.”
Life Inside May 21
My mom was by my side the first time I went away. The second time was just too much.
Life Inside May 14
COVID-19 isn’t an automatic death sentence, but the fear, vilification and isolation are the same.