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Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system. Please send pitches for Life Inside to We're looking for 400 to 1,400-word nonfiction essays about a surprising, personal experience you had with the system — whether you're a lawyer, prisoner, judge, victim, police officer, or otherwise work or live inside the system. Poetry, fiction, essays about experiences that are not directly related to criminal justice, and op-eds will not be accepted. Our Honor Roll recognizing Kickstarter donors who generously supported Life Inside can be viewed here.
Life Inside April 20
One ex-inmate’s view of a comfy 6-month stay.
Life Inside April 13
An inmate, his typewriter and dreams of the Internet.
Life Inside April 6
In Arkansas, 8 men are scheduled to die by lethal injection this month.
Life Inside March 30
A prison psychologist mourns a patient he tried to save.
Life Inside March 23
Two years later and no arrest. ‘Will it ever happen?’
Life Inside March 16
Always playing against the clock.
Life Inside March 9
But only after two wrongly convicted men were set free.
Life Inside March 2
An inmate with cancer wonders if her parole will come soon enough.
Life Inside February 23
Trivial Pursuit, Ted Kaczynski, and candy bars.
Life Inside February 16
‘I can’t touch him and comfort him.’
Life Inside February 9
For the best man, a fleeting moment of humanity.
Life Inside February 2
Discipline at work, leniency at home—with doubts.
Life Inside January 26
Is dying sooner better than being executed later?
Life Inside January 19
How the justice system saved an addict.
Life Inside January 12
Sharing space with open-minded visitors from beyond the walls.
Life Inside January 5
A grandmother struggles to explain the unexplainable.
Life Inside December 22
In cell 62, another birthday turns into another day alone.
Life Inside December 15
A victim is transformed by a family history of crime and violence.
Life Inside December 8
Craving the madness.
Life Inside December 1
What I saw tracking down the mentally ill in jail.
Life Inside November 17
“Her eyes were slightly open, but vacant.”
Life Inside November 10
Spending 20 hours a day with someone else’s delusions.
Life Inside November 3
“Yo… this dude Trump is outta line!”
Life Inside October 27
The terror and joy of stepping outside.
Life Inside October 20
“Being able to vote — that’s rare for people like me.”
Life Inside October 13
“No one wants to be accused of being ‘inmate-friendly.’”
Life Inside October 6
“I felt like a virgin on my wedding night — eager to put this thing to use, not sure if it’ll hurt.”
Life Inside September 29
“Timothy. His first name was Timothy. I hadn’t known that. They punish us for using guards’ first names.”
Life Inside September 22
“My usual insights didn’t seem to apply. I didn’t know how to help her.”
Life Inside September 8
“I can’t help but hate myself for what I did.”
Life Inside September 1
“Until now, touching another living thing took place in the context of fights, pat-downs, and strip searches.”
Life Inside August 25
“They look tired, ragged, and sick, more so than they thought they would.”
Life Inside August 18
A prisoner’s world becomes even smaller.
Life Inside August 11
“I was shocked at the ​casual racism emanating from the bench.​”
Life Inside August 4
“The man proceeded to make car noises.”
Life Inside July 28
Even when I was being paid in mackerel and stamps.
Life Inside July 21
“I’ve been called a persecutor and a sellout.”
Life Inside July 14
“Men in suits would sit there and actually talk about what my husband's life was worth.”
Life Inside July 7
Dehydrated, hungry prisoners defecating on themselves.
Life Inside June 30
“Drive whenever you go anywhere, get your financial house in order, finalize your will, take baths, and cry.”
Life Inside June 23
And it got a million clicks.
Life Inside June 16
A play-by-play of a police-involved shooting in Ohio.
Life Inside June 9
And it made me a different person.
Life Inside June 2
A prosecutor on the case he’ll never forget.
Life Inside May 26
Inside an innocence investigator’s hunt for a key witness.
Life Inside May 12
And the case I’ll never forget.
Life Inside May 5
On living with, and sharing, that information for a lifetime.
Life Inside April 28
“Sometimes I won’t hear from my family in years.”
Life Inside April 21
Moral conflicts at every turn.
Life Inside April 14
Frequent urine tests, controversial scanners, and false positives.
Life Inside April 7
“At the end of my life, I’d like to know that I wasn’t responsible for Lewis Clay spending his final days in prison.”
Life Inside March 31
San Quentin inmate Kevin Cooper on watching the minutes tick away on his life.
Life Inside March 25
Fear and anxiety during a three-day lockdown.
Life Inside March 17
Tales of the “pale, white-haired, geezer in a wheelchair.”
Life Inside March 10
“If I could have done anything, it would have been to deadlock the jury, but I didn’t have the personal strength to do that.”
Life Inside March 4
What it’s like to slowly lose your mind in the grossest corner of the prison-industrial complex.
Life Inside February 25
When the people in charge are homophobic.
Life Inside February 18
Life, restricted.
Life Inside February 12
Finding refuge in old media.
Life Inside February 5
One crinkly letter at a time.
Life Inside January 15
From moonshine to tattoos to balloons of drugs.
Life Inside January 8
Finger handshakes, the toilet phone, and the “shoe bomber.”
Life Inside December 23
“A few flakes continued to fall, and for a moment, I forgot where I was.”
Life Inside December 11
On loss behind bars.
Life Inside December 4
After 34 years inside, sometimes you never feel free.
Life Inside November 25
Cooking turkeys, building resumes.
Life Inside October 27
Ten days in a room with 22 other jurors. What could possibly go wrong?
Life Inside July 31
The imagined journey of Steven Ray Epperson.
Life Inside July 16
Freedom, with conditions.
Life Inside July 7
The ongoing fight for more, and better, prison food.
Life Inside June 9
“The staff didn't have a clue.”
Life Inside June 2
In which the rookie learns what police really think.
Life Inside May 26
A prisoner and former foster child on the kids he knew — and the inmates they became.
Life Inside May 19
Most of us get out old and broke. Not me.
Life Inside April 22
One inmate’s unexpurgated version of life in a Mississippi prison
Life Inside February 13
A relationship told through letters.
Life Inside February 9
Out of prison, not yet home.
Life Inside February 5
The life of a transgender corrections officer.
Life Inside January 5
I was taught that judges reason, never feel. And yet …
Life Inside November 15
An aging bank robber faces the end.