The Marshall Project
Nonprofit journalism about criminal justice
A nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system
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Jeff Östberg for The Marshall Project
I Never Thought I Could Fall In Love With a Woman. Then Came Prison.
We call straight women who couple up with fellow prisoners “gay for the stay.” That slang masks the complexity — and often beauty — of these bonds.
My Biggest Daily Challenge in Prison Isn’t Violence. It’s the Monotony.
Boredom may seem like a small price to pay for committing a crime. But life on the inside isn’t so much a physical battle as it is a mental one.
How a Borrowed Blazer, Tie and Dress Shirt Helped Me See Myself as a Man, Not a Prisoner
On a special visiting day at Washington Corrections Center, incarcerated men were able to dress up. This seemingly small change made a big difference.
Computer Book Bans and Other Insights From a Year Investigating Prison Censorship
Incomplete data. Inconsistent policies. How banned books in prison can strip away an incarcerated person’s vision of the outside world.
The Prison Soul Band That Opened for Stevie Wonder
The band The Power of Attorney flourished when more Americans saw incarcerated people as more than their crimes.
Prison Is a Dangerous Place for LGBTQ+ People. I Made a Safe Space in the Library.
As a queer teen, Michael Shane Hale found belonging in books. Here’s how he built a place where everyone can read in peace in prison.
Michael Shane Hale
Many Prisons Restrict Books to Stop Drug Smuggling. Critics Say It Doesn’t Work.
Battling an overdose crisis, more prisons are blocking books based on the sender or packaging. Free speech advocates call it a de facto book ban.
Andrew Rodriguez Calderón
Prison Healthcare Means Not Knowing What’s Slowly Destroying My Body
For over two years, a mystery illness has made it hard for James Keown to walk, sit up and eat. Now he wonders if he has to die to be diagnosed.
August 12, 2023
What the New Wave of Prison Art Tells Us About Incarceration Today
From LEGO sculptures to psychedelic quilts, several new exhibits convey the prison experience in ways that transcend words alone.
Why Fighting California Wildfires Was the Best Prison Job I Ever Had
On the fire line, David Desmond found that racial segregation and gang affiliation could not withstand the unifying power of extinguishing a blaze.