The Marshall Project

The Marshall Project The Marshall Project is a nonprofit news organization covering America’s criminal justice system.

Why The "Marshall" Project? Thurgood Marshall is an American hero. His work as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, including the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. civil rights movement. As the first African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, he was a persuasive advocate for a living and breathing Constitution that sees beyond the prejudices of revolutionary America. If Marshall were alive, I have no doubt that he would place criminal justice reform high among the urgent priorities of today’s civil rights movement, and that his would be a powerful voice for change. It is for these reasons that I chose to name The Marshall Project in his honor. — Neil Barsky, founder of The Marshall Project

Mission: The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. We achieve this through award-winning journalism, partnerships with other news outlets and public forums. In all of our work we strive to educate and enlarge the audience of people who care about the state of criminal justice.

The power of sheriffs stretches deep into American history, Maurice Chammah writes for The Marshall Project. The vocal o...
05/18/2020
The Rise of the Anti-Lockdown Sheriffs

The power of sheriffs stretches deep into American history, Maurice Chammah writes for The Marshall Project. The vocal opposition to lockdown orders among at least 60 of them is only the latest example.

Opposition to stay-at-home orders is the latest example of a history of powerful sheriffs, which stretches back to the end of slavery and the settling of the frontier.

Broken sinks. Backed up toilets. Residents eating en masse without masks or other protection. Photos from a federal half...
05/16/2020
Photos Show No Social Distancing In Federal Halfway House

Broken sinks. Backed up toilets. Residents eating en masse without masks or other protection. Photos from a federal halfway house in California reveal dangerous conditions during the pandemic.

A new lawsuit says crowded meals and dorms increase coronavirus risk.

The Marshall Project just updated our tracker of COVID-19 infections and deaths in U.S. prisons. By May 13, at least 25,...
05/15/2020
A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons

The Marshall Project just updated our tracker of COVID-19 infections and deaths in U.S. prisons.

By May 13, at least 25,239 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 25% increase from the week before.

373 have died, up 23%.

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.

Richard Rivera survived the AIDS pandemic in prison. The fear, vilification and isolation in the era of COVID-19 feel al...
05/15/2020
I Survived Prison During The AIDS Epidemic. Here’s What It Taught Me About Coronavirus

Richard Rivera survived the AIDS pandemic in prison. The fear, vilification and isolation in the era of COVID-19 feel all too familiar.

"Coronavirus does not mean death every time, and it is transmitted differently. But the incarcerated people I’m talking to have that same fear that they can’t escape it. Just as they did with HIV, guys are panicking and giving the virus magical qualities like that it can be transmitted over the phone. The prison system too is employing the same tactics: isolate the people with the illness, don’t truly address it."

While COVID-19 isn’t an automatic death sentence, but the fear, vilification and isolation are the same.

Across the country, mentally ill defendants are stuck in jail as hospitals decrease admissions to prevent the spread of ...
05/15/2020
For Mentally Ill Defendants, Coronavirus Means Few Safe Options

Across the country, mentally ill defendants are stuck in jail as hospitals decrease admissions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Failing to treat psychosis leads to a worse long-term prognosis. There is brain damage that is being caused.”

While their mental health deteriorates, some are stuck in jail as hospitals are decreasing admissions to prevent the spread of infections.

Melissa Ann Horn. Andrea Circle Bear. Darlene "Lulu" Benson-Seay. Faye Brown. They're among the relatively small number ...
05/14/2020
What Women Dying In Prison From COVID-19 Tell Us About Female Incarceration

Melissa Ann Horn. Andrea Circle Bear. Darlene "Lulu" Benson-Seay. Faye Brown.

They're among the relatively small number of women who've died of COVID-19 behind bars. But their stories reflect the all-too-common ways women end up in prison in the first place: drug addiction and violence involving the men in their lives.

New team reporting at The Marshall Project.

Fatal victims illuminate women’s unique problems in prison, and the all-too-common ways they get there in the first place.

As the fight against COVID-19 in lockups intensifies, some jails are blasting everything from solitary cells to eating u...
05/13/2020
Jails Turn to UVC Robots To Fight Coronavirus

As the fight against COVID-19 in lockups intensifies, some jails are blasting everything from solitary cells to eating utensils with high-intensity ultraviolet light, a technology typically used by hospitals.

“We were fighting hard water, dirt and grime but now we’re fighting something totally different.”

Some sheriffs are buying ultraviolet light machines traditionally used by hospitals.

05/12/2020
Reckon by AL.com

Tonight!

Join us Tuesday, May 12, at 7 p.m. as we watch "Tutwiler," a documentary by The Marshall Project exploring the lives and experiences of women in Alabama's prison system who are pregnant.

On Thursday, May 14, we will gather on Zoom at 7 p.m. with the film's director, reporter and a doula from the Alabama Prison Birth Project to discuss their work on the project.

RSVP for that discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/events/350032162637716/

Film partners include FRONTLINE | PBS, America ReFramed and Alabama Prison Birth Project.

23 hours a day in isolation. Eating meals by the toilet. Few interactions with anyone other than prison guards. In the e...
05/12/2020
Solitary, Brawls, No Teachers: Coronavirus Makes Juvenile Jails Look Like Adult Prisons

23 hours a day in isolation. Eating meals by the toilet. Few interactions with anyone other than prison guards. In the era of COVID-19, tens of thousands of kids are stuck in juvenile lockups that increasingly resemble the worst adult prisons.

Youth lockups are supposed to rehabilitate kids, not punish them. The pandemic is making that harder than ever.

A handful of state judges across the country have recently signaled they are open to exploring how unconscious bias may ...
05/11/2020
A Growing Number of State Courts Are Confronting Unconscious Racism In Jury Selection

A handful of state judges across the country have recently signaled they are open to exploring how unconscious bias may affect jury selection and what ought to be done about it.

“A judge who deals with prosecutors every day is not going to say, ‘You intentionally discriminated on the basis of race, and you lied about it with pretextual reasons.’”

Prison food is notoriously bad, even in the best of times. And this isn’t the best of times. State prisoners in Texas no...
05/11/2020
Ewwwww, What Is That?

Prison food is notoriously bad, even in the best of times. And this isn’t the best of times.

State prisoners in Texas now get their food at odd hours of the day and night, delivered in paper bags, and if it tastes as awful as it looks it’s not surprising that the men and women forced to eat it are complaining to their friends, family and prison officials. Keri Blakinger has The Marshall Project's latest.

Coronavirus has made Texas prison food even more gross.

For the first time, the federal Bureau of Prisons is reporting the number of sick prisoners in its 11 facilities run by ...
05/09/2020
Why Did It Take the Feds Weeks to Report COVID-19 Cases In Privately Run Prisons?

For the first time, the federal Bureau of Prisons is reporting the number of sick prisoners in its 11 facilities run by private contractors.But they're not revealing how many staffers are ill or how many are being tested.

The Bureau of Prisons reports 110 confirmed cases among 17,000 prisoners—and that may be an undercount.

In the latest Life Inside, Wesley Williams reflects on the cruel irony of being told to socially distance when you're st...
05/08/2020
The Cruel Irony of Social Distancing When You’re Stuck in Solitary

In the latest Life Inside, Wesley Williams reflects on the cruel irony of being told to socially distance when you're stuck in solitary. "You may go crazy in here, but at least you won't get corona," goes one running joke.

Our running joke: ‘You may go crazy in here, but at least you won’t get corona.’

Every time a new member joins The Marshall Project, they're given the opportunity to tell us why. Here's what Donald in ...
05/07/2020

Every time a new member joins The Marshall Project, they're given the opportunity to tell us why. Here's what Donald in Connecticut wrote on Tuesday.

Our short spring membership drive ends tonight! Join us before midnight and every dollar is matched: https://www.themarshallproject.org/donate?via=7010d000001PtRS

We are so grateful to everyone who has donated to The Marshall Project over our three-day membership drive. Knowing that...
05/07/2020
Support Us

We are so grateful to everyone who has donated to The Marshall Project over our three-day membership drive. Knowing that you're behind us—regardless of how much you’re able to give—means so much. And there's still time to join: until midnight tonight, every dollar will be matched.

"The Marshall Project is a godsend to any journalist, like me, at 94, who has a longtime need to keep track of developments and reforms in America's criminally unjust justice system," wrote Donald in CT yesterday when he became a monthly sustaining member.

The Marshall Project is a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system.

“Detained,” an immersive documentary from Emily Kassie that explores the rise and expansion of America’s immigration det...
05/06/2020
The Marshall Project Nominated for a Peabody Award

“Detained,” an immersive documentary from Emily Kassie that explores the rise and expansion of America’s immigration detention system—the world’s largest—has been nominated for the Peabody Award in the Public Service category. The prestigious annual award recognizes the best storytelling in broadcasting and digital media.

Honored for “Detained” in the Public Service category.

Closed courts, faulty technology and delays in post-release programs are keeping thousands of people who've been granted...
05/06/2020
A Dangerous Limbo: Probation and Parole in the Time of COVID-19

Closed courts, faulty technology and delays in post-release programs are keeping thousands of people who've been granted parole behind bars during the pandemic.

Closed courts, faulty technology and delays in post-release programs are among a range of barriers keeping a population prime for release behind bars.

The fourth issue of New Inside, The Marshall Project's print publication distributed in hundreds of prisons and jails ac...
05/05/2020
Incarcerated Lives Matter

The fourth issue of New Inside, The Marshall Project's print publication distributed in hundreds of prisons and jails across the United States, just dropped. "It is my desire to find ways to reach the incarcerated population despite the drastic changes that have been imposed on their lives," director Lawrence Bartley writes in this introduction to the new edition.

Issue 4 of News Inside features a prison-specific coronavirus survival guide and results from our groundbreaking political survey of incarcerated people.

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow—a national day of giving in response to the coronavirus pandemic.We’ve set a goal to raise $3...
05/05/2020
Support Us

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow—a national day of giving in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve set a goal to raise $30,000 in the next three days to sustain our reporting and keep us on a strong financial footing for as long as this crisis may last. To help us reach this goal, a group of Marshall Project board members is matching all gifts made over the next three days. If you’re able, please donate today.

The Marshall Project is a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system.

Coronavirus has upended the semester for college students across the country—and thousands of incarcerated students are ...
05/04/2020
Can College Programs in Prison Survive COVID-19?

Coronavirus has upended the semester for college students across the country—and thousands of incarcerated students are no exception. Educators are finding workarounds but many fear the pandemic could undermine a critical component: teaching in person.

Many educators found workarounds now that they can no longer enter the prisons. But they fear the coronavirus could undermine a critical component: teaching in person

Palestine, Texas has five state prisons. When coronavirus hit, the county's biggest employer became its biggest threat. ...
05/04/2020
“I have a Bad Feeling About This”

Palestine, Texas has five state prisons. When coronavirus hit, the county's biggest employer became its biggest threat. “I have a bad feeling about this,” says the former mayor.

As COVID-19 Spreads From Prison to Town, Locals Worry

Among the many incarcerated people who have died from COVID-19 was Marshall Project contributor Timothy Bazrowx, one of ...
05/02/2020
“We All Have An Expiration Date”: The Death of a Prison Writer

Among the many incarcerated people who have died from COVID-19 was Marshall Project contributor Timothy Bazrowx, one of Texas' best chroniclers of prison life. Maurice Chammah has our appreciation.

Among the many incarcerated who have died from COVID-19 was Marshall Project contributor Timothy Bazrowx, one of Texas’s best chroniclers of prison life.

NEW: The Marshall Project is collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. We've just updated the...
05/01/2020
A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons

NEW: The Marshall Project is collecting data on COVID-19 infections in state and federal prisons. We've just updated the numbers.

And now you can see how the virus has affected correctional facilities where you live.

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.

New York's jail population is at a 70-year low. But defense lawyers say those who remain behind bars in pre-trial detent...
05/01/2020
Can’t Make Bail, Sit in Jail Even Longer Thanks to Coronavirus

New York's jail population is at a 70-year low. But defense lawyers say those who remain behind bars in pre-trial detention have essentially lost their right to a speedy resolution.

With grand juries suspended, people who get arrested lose a route out.

Bobby Bostick was sentenced to 241 years at age 16. Gardening, he writes, keeps him growing. Here's the latest Life Insi...
05/01/2020
A Juvenile Lifer Finds Peace in the Prison Garden

Bobby Bostick was sentenced to 241 years at age 16. Gardening, he writes, keeps him growing. Here's the latest Life Inside from The Marshall Project.

Bobby Bostick was sentenced to 241 years at age 16. Gardening, he writes, keeps him growing.

Three years ago, corrections officers in Texas begged the prison system to better prepare for outbreaks of disease. Unio...
04/30/2020
Texas Prison Officers: We Asked For Face Masks In 2017. COVID-19 Got Here First.

Three years ago, corrections officers in Texas begged the prison system to better prepare for outbreaks of disease. Union leaders and prison workers say not much had changed by the time COVID-19 arrived this March. Here's the latest from The Marshall Project.

A state spokesman says the system has more than 100,000 N95 masks, but it’s unclear how many have been given to officers or prisoners.

Today we learned that Timothy Bazrowx died of COVID-19 at a Texas prison hospital. Last year, Bazrowx authored this essa...
04/29/2020
Fields of Blood: My Life As a Prison Laborer

Today we learned that Timothy Bazrowx died of COVID-19 at a Texas prison hospital.

Last year, Bazrowx authored this essay for The Marshall Project. "The days would run together. The heat, the drudgery, the daily unpaid toiling in dirt and fields under the hot Texas sun.”

“The days would run together. The heat, the drudgery, the daily unpaid toiling in dirt and fields under the hot Texas sun.”

On Tuesday, Andrea Circle Bear died from COVID-19 in a federal prison in Texas. She was 30-years old and serving a more ...
04/29/2020
U.S. Federal Inmate Dies of COVID-19 Weeks After Giving Birth While on a Ventilator

On Tuesday, Andrea Circle Bear died from COVID-19 in a federal prison in Texas. She was 30-years old and serving a more than two year sentence on a drug-related conviction. Her baby survived after being delivered by cesarean section while Circle Bear was on a ventilator.

A 30-year-old woman serving a 26-month sentence for maintaining a drug-affiliated business died of COVID-19 on Tuesday several weeks after giving birth to her child while she was on a ventilator, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said.

"This 'sloppy' code is governing people’s entire lives, dictating their options as they attempt the already difficult pr...
04/28/2020
When Your Freedom Depends On an App

"This 'sloppy' code is governing people’s entire lives, dictating their options as they attempt the already difficult process of reintegrating after incarceration, and the potential privacy violations carry even darker implications."

On the day Layla got out of prison and back to her home in Georgia, she was told she would need to purchase a smartphone—not an insignificant task for someone who’d just completed a sentence, but Layla was lucky to have a friend who could buy one for her. She says she was at home in bed a few da...

A white father and son in Georgia chased down and shot to death a black man jogging through their neighborhood in Februa...
04/28/2020
Two Weapons, a Chase, a Killing and No Charges

A white father and son in Georgia chased down and shot to death a black man jogging through their neighborhood in February. Police and prosecutors filed no charges. Now the case is before a grand jury.

The New York Times has the story.

A 25-year-old man running through a Georgia neighborhood ended up dead. A prosecutor argued that the pursuers should not be arrested.

Three weeks after Attorney General William Barr's order to “immediately maximize” the release of federal prisoners, only...
04/25/2020
Few Federal Prisoners Released Under COVID-19 Emergency Policies

Three weeks after Attorney General William Barr's order to “immediately maximize” the release of federal prisoners, only 1,027 people have been moved to home confinement.

That's half of 1 percent of the federal prison population.

A federal judge called the Bureau of Prisons release process “Kafkaesque.”

A new effort by The Marshall Project has collected data on the prevalence of COVID-19 among prisoners and staff. Here's ...
04/24/2020
Tracking the Spread of Coronavirus in Prisons

A new effort by The Marshall Project has collected data on the prevalence of COVID-19 among prisoners and staff. Here's what we found.

A new Marshall Project effort has collected data on the prevalence of COVID-19 among prisoners and prison staff.

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Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort are allowed to leave prison to go to home confinement because of the coronavirus. What does our country say to all of the people in prison who are desperate to go home, to not die in jail? "Oh sorry, you can't go home, you are just a nobody with no political connections." Dirty, dirty politics. It is sickening....
Hi, I Have A Few Questions About Some Things I've Been Going Through. Can You Help Me? I've Been Dealing With Alot Of Barriers In Life. I Went To School For Criminal Investigation & Recently Got Hired With H&R Block But I Had To Put It All On Hold Because I'm Being Hospitalized Against My Will In Worcester Massachusetts. I'm Grieving Over My Sick Child Who Was Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes & Taken Away From Me Back In 2015. I've Been Trying To Get Answers And Figure Out How The State Allowed My Son To Be Adopted By A Stranger. I Have Never Been In Trouble With The Law Or Had Any Mental Health Problems Before The Adoption. Recently, I Got Arrested For Punching A Police Officer Because They Wouldn't Let See My Son. I've Became Homeless, And Lost My Job. I Still Don't Know Where He Is. He'll Be 10 In June. My First & Only Child. I'm 28. I Just Want To Get Out Of The Psych Center. I've Been Here Long Enough. They Said They Are Going To Help Me With Housing But My Criminal Case Hasn't Even Been Resolved Yet. Court Cases Have Been Rescheduled Due To Covid-19. I'm Thankful We're Allowed To Used Electronic Devices Here. I'd Really Go Insane Lol. I Have My Own Room & Bathroom. I Guess It Isn't That Bad. I'd Rather Be With My Son. He Probably Doesn't Even Remember Me. I Spoke With My Lawyer Today And She Says I Don't Qualify For Timed Served & That I Am Incompetent To Proceed With The Case. She Not Helping Me At All. She Asked If I Had Bail Money. I Asked If I Was So Incompetent; Dangerous To Myself Or Society & Don't Understand The Proceedings Of My Case. Why Would You Let Me Out On Bail? I Don't Have Bail Money. It's $4000. The Stay At The Center Is Up To 6 Months Or Until They Find Me Competent To Proceed With The Criminal Case/Sentencing. I Haven't Put In A Plea Yet. I've Been Here Since October. I Got Arrested In September. I Was Transferred From The Jail To The Center In October.
Is anyone else going crazy about all of the commercials that are so sappy? I am constantly changing the channel because of them. I'd love to do a commercial, or a series of commercials, of all of us who are holding our breath, hoping our loved one might be able to come home. We are such a big part of this world that society wants to stuff down and not think about. To say, "my loved one is in isolation 22 hours a day in a tiny cell, and I am watching him lose his mind. " Or, "sometimes late at night I just want to break down and cry, feeling like I just can't take it anymore." To put our stories out there for so many who don't know. I honestly believe that if people heard some of the stories that we all know by heart, that some of those people would get behind us and then our voices would be heard. We'd be louder, more persistent. When will visits start again? We are going on 7 weeks without seeing each other's face. Phone calls are so brief because when they are allowed out of their cells everybody wants to talk to their loved ones. How long will they live in such tiny spaces? The news reports are predicting that the virus will last for months, if not years - what is the DOC's plan for the future? Wouldn't it be great if somehow we could pay for the commercial airtime, and we could all do short videos and send it to whoever could put our stories into a series of commercials. Stories of our own experiences, what it's like, how it hurts, how we feel so invisible, so helpless and scared. What will happen to our loved ones? They can't socially distance, use disinfectant and so many of the other things that need to be done to protect themselves. I just can't stop thinking this way, I've got to keep trying. There is such a churning inside me constantly...... How many stars and moons have I wished on?
I just finish watching the series Unbelievable and I want to thank you for your work and thanks to your investigation, justice was done to Marie It Is really Unbelievable what the police officers did to a poor orphan girl . I wonder, have you going to report on Jeffrey Rittgarn and Jeffrey Mason?
How about releasing inmates that are being deported we as family members don't want to get virus
Interesting video - what is new is that he explains in such a simple manner
My name is Jermaine Brinkley, I am currently incarcerated at the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown Delaware. I want to talk about how I am being held here illegally during the Corona Virus Pandemic, and how the Delaware Department of Corrections are acting with negligence towards the prisoner population. My incarceration began January 2015. I was sentenced to serve several two year terms and one 3 year term, which were all to run at the same time. In September 2017, I was lawfully released to work release and in October, I was illegally returned to prison. I was held in receiving and then placed in the hole. With no access to the phone or without explanation as to why I was returned to prison. After several weeks, a DOC worker told me that I will be returned to work release and that there has been a mistake. But that never happened. I was later told that my sentencing had a graphical error and that I wouldn’t be released. I tried to Petition the court on my own for an explanation, but I was denied. In 2018, an attorney looked at my case and discovered that the state illegally changed my sentence. In July 2019, he filed another petition for me for free! The court postponed the ruling several times and as of April 1,2020 the court still has not ruled on the motion, but the COVID-19 Pandemic happened and I heard nothing. The DOC and SCI is mishandling this pandemic. Sussex is 1 of only 5 counties in the US that has had a 100% increase in COVID-19 cases since the beginning. DOC has mandated that all staff wear face masks in the prison, most of them are not complying. Prisoners have not been issued masks or gloves. Cases of COVID-19 are going unreported. Staff are accusing prisoners of faking symptoms, no one is being released early, prisoners don’t even have regular access to medical treatment. Staff are still conducting shake downs and touching prisoners belongings. DOC had reported that they are screening prisoners for fevers in all facilities. This is not happening at SCI. They’ve reported they are conducting decontamination. (Fogging) Which has not happened at SCI. Family visits have been canceled completely during this pandemic, and SCI is the only facility without tablets for visits. Phone calls for communication has been reduced, due to crowding and calls that are limited to sometimes 5 minutes. Many inmates are at risk due to underlying health issues and also medical malpractice. Such as some inmates not receiving treatment for hepatitis or cancer until it spreads and becomes stage 4. That inmate is still here at SCI, when he should’ve been granted a compassionate medical release. The DOC commissioner, Claire DeMatteis claims that prisoners are better off in jail because we receive better healthcare. This is laughable when you consider or personally know an inmate who was given muscle rub for a headache, and the fact that medical vendors are constantly rotated out due to mismanagement lawsuits. She claims that prisoners are complaining for the sake of doing so, yet when friends and families call and ask if they could give their loved ones masks, they are told that it would not be fair for other prisoners. When they offered to make and donate masks for other inmates, they were told that they might be trying to smuggle drugs. The truth is that DOC doesn’t value the lives of prisoners, even the ones who are legally detained, like myself. Or who are wrongfully incarcerated, in fact this statement will probably result in retaliation against me because the DOC hates when their dirty deeds are exposed. PLEASE MAKE THIS VIRAL. TAG, SHARE AND REPOST!
Prey for my brothers
Please read. I pray this will bless you as it did me. Thank you to EI Town Hall and Dr. Arthur Sutherland for sharing this with us!