illustration by Luba Lukova

In early June, I created this personalized medium space, read a few articles on the effective use of Instagram’s IGTV feature, and decided to launch a passion project that I was almost certain would be a huge flop. Stemming from conversations around bridging the gap between academia and community activism, I asked a simple question, “what criminal justice topics should I discuss this summer?” and as said in an earlier post, I was absolutely shocked when I received multiple responses.

As the summer progressed, we worked together, hosting Q&As, taking part in hashtags, and interacting with each other in digital…

Illustration By: James Steinberg, Boston College Law School Magazine

Note: Due to unresolvable technical difficulties, there is not an IGTV video component that coincides with this week’s text


Throughout the summer we’ve been exposed to daunting statistics: millions of individuals across the nation cycle in and out of correctional facilities each year. Countless persons, particularly those from communities of color and low socioeconomic classes, are forced into the machine of mass incarceration and exposed to violence at the hands of the state.

Within these large numbers that cloud criminal justice news articles and research studies, are the narratives and personal experiences of the innocent — wrongfully convicted, yet forced…

Illustration: Paige Vickers for The Marshall Project

CONTENT WARNING: the following text contains discussion or examples of sexual assault, victimization, and psychological/emotional manipulation. The context discussed below is graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some readers.


Nearly 30% of all incarcerated women worldwide are in the U.S. The number of women in local jails, state prisons, and other correctional facilities have risen more than 700% in the last 40 years. Studying incarceration over time, one can confirm: the incarceration of women is growing twice as fast as that of men.

Imprisonment rates and the experiences of those behind bars have fluctuated. What has, however, remained…


In 2018, the Northern California region experienced the deadliest flames in the territory’s history. People gathered around their televisions and cell phone screens, watching as firefighters cut line, battled flames, and risked their lives to save homes, animals, and civilians. What many didn’t know, however, is that many of the firefighters who’d fought their way into the thoughts and prayers of the general public were incarcerated individuals, working a dangerous, low paying job, in efforts to remove time from their sentences.

Following a New York Times Magazine article about incarcerated women fighting (and dying) on the front-lines of wildfires, I…

illustration by: Cam Floyd


Last week, my phone buzzed in my pocket and I read a disturbing push notification from the Washington Post, “Justice Department plans to restart capital punishment after long hiatus.” My heart sank a little bit more, understanding that the death penalty would be reinstated (on a federal level) for the first time in over two decades — with five people already lined up to die at the hands of the federal government.

Having spent nearly two years researching death penalty laws, working to uncover the details in pursuit of a tangible undergraduate thesis, this news not only felt close to…

Illustration by Ben & Jerry’s, “9 no-brainer ways your state can (and should) make voting easier”


Incarceration has become an issue increasingly discussed in news programs and throughout social media timelines, but despite this, the relationship between prisons and politics remain largely invisible to the public. Simply put, prisons are located in rural areas to save money and provide jobs, leaving mass incarceration, particularly the individuals behind bars, out of discussions surrounding social and political topics.

Prison Gerrymandering

An aspect of criminal justice that is often overlooked by researchers, federal census records from the U.S. Census Bureau tell an interesting story about our nation’s prison population. …

Illustration by David Foldvari for the Financial Times

The ongoing heatwave across the country has resulted in the issuance of advisories and declarations of emergencies. Members of Congress and local representatives have presented reminders to check on neighbors, the elderly, and to avoid spending too much time outside. There has been, however, a missing narrative during the discussion of heat advisories — the nearly 2.3 million incarcerated individuals within prisons and jails throughout the nation.

Did you know that in most states, prisons and jails aren’t required to regulate their temperatures? …

Illustration by Olivia Fields for The Marshall Project, “I Taught Myself How to Read in Prison. Then I Sued the System and Won”


Mass incarceration costs upwards of $182 billion dollars each year. Although I recognize my role as a social science researcher, creating this series as a way to provide accessible criminal justice information, I implore you to think about, reflect, and analyze how billions of dollars can be redirected and utilized within communities, education, and subsequent job training.

As reported by the Prison Policy Initiative, people who serve time in prison are often held back from educational opportunities, making it impossible to earn the credentials deemed necessary for success following release.

The conversation surrounding education, its connection to incarceration and more…

Illustration by ADASTRA COMIX for, “Call for Art: End Migrant Detention!”


Though many political pundits and others attempt to separate the two, there is a direct connection between immigration policies and mass incarceration. Issues of immigration detention, as they relate to the prison industrial complex, are best explained through the lens of private or for-profit prisons.

In 2016, the Migration Policy Institute found that private prison contractors reap sizeable profits from detaining immigrants. Private prison corporations house nearly two-thirds of all detained migrants in funded detention centers, introducing a direct profit from changes to immigration policy that essentially propel the rate of incarceration.

Best stated by the American Friends Service Committee

Illustration by Matt Rota for The Marshall Project


We are well aware of the fact that there are over 2.3 million adults in jails and prisons in the United States. What is often left out of the dominant narrative, however, is the day-to-day plight of individuals once they’re behind bars. There are a host of potential violations happening within correctional facilities; however, this discussion will be limited to food services, healthcare, and phone calls.

Food Services

Most of the food services within state correctional facilities are provided by mega food giant, Aramark. The company prides themselves on “helping 500 correctional facilities around the country maintain safe, stable environments…

Candice Crutchfield

Graduate student at Columbia University researching incarceration and human rights. Tweets @whatcandicesays

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