The Marshall Project: Life Inside

Filed under Journalism

Illustration by John Lee

Media portrayal of the American prison system is widespread, but it's rare that the unincarcerated public gets accurate insight into real life behind prison walls. More often than not, common visions of prison life and the system are dictated by the fictitious accounts we see in movies and on TV.

In its series Life Inside, nonprofit organization The Marshall Project sheds light on real experiences that real people have with the system. The series includes 1,000-4,000 word nonfiction stories about vivid personal experiences from lawyers, prisoners, judges, victims, law enforcement officers, visitors, and other people who have experiences with the prison system.

The essays highlight challenges, celebrate small victories, and provide insight and observations. Most importantly, they amplify the experiences of those touched by the system, presenting a distinct - and distinctly important - chronicle of the real life inside.

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What I Learned From the Neo-Nazi in My Prison Book Club
An inmate who grew up worshipping Hitler forces a eading group faciliator to challenge her own beliefs.

Hell Is Trying to Visit My Jailed Client
At Rikers, it usees up a day. At the courthouse? Don't hold your breath.

The Prison Skinhead Gang was My Family. Then I Walked Away.
After a violent encounter, an inmate makes a life change.

Browse the complete Life Inside series.