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The Marshall Project

The Supreme Court Let The Death Penalty Flourish. Now Americans are Ending It Themselves.

As Roe v. Wade ends, a look back at how the court reversed itself on capital punishment — spurring an anti-death penalty movement. Fifty years ago, as the Supreme Court was gearing up to hear arguments in Roe v. Wade, the justices thrust themselves into another fierce public debate. In the case of Furman v. Georgia, the court threw out the entire architecture of capital punishment, with several justices arguing it was excessive, arbitrary and marked by racial disparities.
CONGRESS & COURTS
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Data Reporter Geoff Hing Joins The Marshall Project

Hing will expand investigative data journalism and reporting to expose abuses in criminal justice. Geoff Hing is becoming a data reporter for The Marshall Project, the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. He will use reporting, data and code to find important stories and insights about the system. Hing joins The Marshall Project from The Arizona Republic, where he covered demographic change in the state and contributed data reporting for enterprise projects on water use. He has worked as part of investigative, data and news applications teams in a number of newsrooms. Hing investigated the efficacy of Tasers at American Public Media Reports and visualized police accountability and shooting data at The Chicago Tribune.
LAW ENFORCEMENT
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Out on Parole in Colorado? You Can Vote.

Haz clic aquí para leer esta historia en español. This explainer is also available for download as a PDF. Anthony Kent spent nearly five years in jail and prison in the state. He knew he wanted to vote after he got out, but he didn't know he could or how to do it.
COLORADO STATE

Louisiana Limits Solitary Confinement for Youth

Lawmakers in Louisiana passed new restrictions on the use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities following an investigation by The Marshall Project, ProPublica and NBC News into harsh conditions in a youth lockup. The law, which will go into effect Aug. 1, marks the first time that lawmakers in a...
LOUISIANA STATE

A Letter from our Cleveland Editor-in-Chief

The Marshall Project: A Journalism Public Service, Now Serving Cleveland. The Marshall Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit journalism organization, stands for a fact-based focus on American criminal justice and — in the spirit of Justice Marshall — for equality, equity and more effective criminal justice. This week we...
CLEVELAND, OH

I Joined the Parole Board to Make a Difference. Now I Call It ‘Conveyor Belt Justice.’

I visited my first jail in 1970, when I was 16. I had a high school sociology teacher who talked about the disparity of bail and how people were being held simply because they couldn’t afford to pay it. Disturbed, I wrote to many wardens asking if I could come and talk to them about the issue. The only one who would meet with a teenager was John Case, warden of the Bucks County jail in Pennsylvania. — When I arrived with my notebook and pencil, Case said to me, “Carol, it’s great you came with your list of questions for me, but you really need to talk with the men here.” What I learned was that a lot of them were there for minor things, like drug use and resisting serving in the Vietnam War. On my way out, I remember thinking,I just met human beings. I am going home for dinner, and they’re not. It gave me a purpose in life.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE

“No Place for A Child”

During their harrowing journey from Venezuela to the Texas border, the three Zaragoza children liked to imagine the refuge they would find when they reached the United States, a place where they would finally be free from hunger and police harassment and could simply be kids. — Instead, when they reached the border in March, they were detained — dirty with mud from the Rio Grande and shivering with cold — in frigid cinder block cells. They spent sleepless nights on cement floors, packed in with dozens of other children under the glare of white lights, with agents in green uniforms shouting orders.
KIDS

The Marshall Project Announces Cleveland Local News Team

The Marshall Project, the Pulitzer-winning nonprofit media organization covering criminal justice, is excited to announce the launch of its first local news operation, in Cleveland. The Marshall Project – Cleveland aims to expose abuses in Cuyahoga County’s criminal justice system, through investigative, data and community engagement journalism supported by The Marshall Project’s national newsroom. The Cleveland news operation will serve local audiences, including people directly affected by the criminal justice system, who are often neglected or mischaracterized in media coverage. The newsroom plans to distribute its work inside prisons and jails in Ohio, too.
CLEVELAND, OH

What Can FBI Data Say About Crime in 2021? It’s Too Unreliable to Tell

The transition to a new data system creates huge gaps in national crime stats sure to be exploited by politicians in this election year. Nearly 40% of law enforcement agencies around the country did not submit any data in 2021 to a newly revised FBI crime statistics collection program, leaving a massive gap in information sure to be exploited by politicians in midterm election campaigns already dominated by public fear over a rise in violent crime.
NEW YORK CITY, NY

The ‘Foul-Mouthed Pagan Lesbian’ Who Inspired My Jail Memoir

One of the first people I met in jail was a foul-mouthed pagan lesbian named Susan. I liked her from the start. She was in her early 60s when we met, and her graying hair stood out in an upstate New York cellblock filled with 20-somethings like me. Unlike most of us, she wasn’t in for drugs; it was a drunk driving charge that landed her behind bars. And unlike most of us, she was single, had no kids and actually had a long employment history. She’d been a veterinarian and a firefighter and in the merchant marines.
ITHACA, NY

Rethinking Prison Tourism

Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison turned museum in Philadelphia, used to lure in visitors every Halloween with an event called “Terror Behind the Walls.” The haunted house, with evil doctors, a jailbreak, and zombie inmates jumping out to scare visitors, was one of the museum's most lucrative fundraising events. But starting last year, the museum decided to drop the gore and emphasize the educational. Now the event is more optical illusions, eerie soundtracks, and live performances focused on the museum’s mission of highlighting issues of incarceration.
PHILADELPHIA, PA

A Tupperware of Heroin, Or How I Ended Up in Prison

ITHACA, N.Y. — I have problems: I am out of clean clothes, I cannot find my glasses, my English paper is late, and my pockets are not big enough for all the heroin I have. But honestly, more than anything, I want a cigarette. — I’m only 10 minutes from where I’m going, and it’s cold outside. The sun is deceptive; it looks like a nice upstate New York morning, but really it’s December and the wind is whipping up from Ithaca’s gorges. I stop walking and push my fingers deep into my pockets in search of a Parliament.
ITHACA, NY

Lawmakers Call for Probe Into Deadly Federal Prison

On Thursday, three members of Congress called for an immediate federal investigation into violence and abuse at the U.S. penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois, prompted by reporting by The Marshall Project and NPR. This article was published in partnership with NPR. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Cheri Bustos,...
THOMSON, IL

Five Things to Know About One of the Deadliest Federal Prisons

The Marshall Project and NPR investigated how the newest federal prison — the penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois — has quickly become one of the deadliest. The story is the latest in our years-long coverage of the dangers of “double-celled solitary confinement” — putting two people on lockdown in a small cell — as well as the use of force in federal prisons.
THOMSON, IL

How the Newest Federal Prison Became One of the Deadliest

Bobby Everson was nearing the end of his decade-long federal prison sentence, but he feared he wouldn’t make it home alive. In July 2021, he was sent to the Special Management Unit at the new U.S. penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois — a program meant for some of the most violent and disruptive prisoners, though many have ended up there who don’t fit that description. Everson, who was serving time for drug and weapon charges, had recently been written up for “threatening bodily harm” and “assault without serious injury,” but prison records don’t provide details. After his transfer, his letters home to his family in New York state grew more desperate with each passing week. Everson, who the family called AJ, told them he was locked down nearly 24 hours a day with a cellmate, in cells so small that the toilet was crammed next to the bottom bunk. He was let out only for occasional medical appointments, showers or an hour of exercise in an outdoor cage. He could hear guards in riot gear blasting men on his tier with pepper spray and locking them in hard restraints. His own wrists, ankles and abdomen were scarred from these shackles — prisoners called it the “Thomson tattoo,” according to attorneys.
THOMSON, IL

The 1990s Law That Keeps People in Prison on Technicalities

If you even half-paid attention in high school history class, you might be forgiven for thinking that federal courts are the most powerful courts in the land. After all, they’ve been responsible for landmark rulings about everything from abortion rights to school desegregation — disputes so well-known, the cases are household names: Roe v. Wade. Brown v. Board of Education. Despite those high-profile decisions, when it comes to protecting prisoners’ rights and avoiding executions of innocent people, the top courts in the land are oddly impotent.
CONGRESS & COURTS

I Got the Prison Transfer I Fought For. My Feelings Were Surprisingly Mixed

I must show my hands, palms forward and pressed against the window in my cell door, before I’m released for Sunday morning yard. This is one of many protocols that maximum-security prisoners at Baraga Correctional Facility in Michigan have to follow in order to receive our privileges. But this is all about to change for me. It starts with a COVID-19 test. “Buckley, you gotta get swabbed,” says the C.O. on the main floor.
MICHIGAN STATE

Their Sentences Are Unconstitutional — But They’re Still In Prison.

Reginald Reddick is serving life in prison in Louisiana for second-degree murder, even though two jurors at his 1997 trial found him not guilty. Almost anywhere else in the country, he would have been acquitted: Even one juror would have been enough to change the outcome. This week, the Louisiana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Reddick’s case, in which he argues that he is entitled to a new trial. The court’s decision could affect more than 1,000 people who, like Reddick, are serving time for crimes that some of their jurors did not believe they committed beyond a reasonable doubt.
LOUISIANA STATE

Burned to Death in a Prison Cell

The last time the other prisoners saw Jacinto De La Garza alive, he had his face pressed against the glass panel of his cell door, his mouth contorted and gasping for breath. — Black smoke curled around his head, they said, and flames leapt from the burning pile of clothes behind him.
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