Subscribe to our newsletters for regular updates, analysis and context straight to your email.
One Year of Worker-Led Media! Fund the Future of The Appeal.
I wanted to have a better diet in prison. But when you’ve been stripped of your freedom, it can be impossible to make the “right” decisions.
Jul 05, 2022
One incarcerated author used skills from an HIV/AIDS group to push imprisoned people and prison guards to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Apr 26, 2022
Serving out a sentence in a Washington state prison, I was certain I’d never own a home. When my wife and I started the process, we found out just how difficult it would be.
Apr 04, 2022
Sky-high email and phone costs, fear of retaliation by prison staff, and isolation create roadblocks for incarcerated people to share their experience and join a growing national conversation on reforming the criminal legal system.
Christopher Blackwell, Nick Hacheney
Nov 15, 2021
Leaving prison often hinges on completing rehabilitative programming. The pandemic caused many of these required courses to be put on hold.
Jun 29, 2021
Pennsylvania’s prisons have the second-highest number of people in the country serving life without the possibility of parole. Nine people who were released after being sentenced to die behind bars share their stories.
Dec 07, 2020
President Trump has appointed a quarter of active federal appellate judges, and they have decisively hampered legal efforts to force prisons and jails to address the coronavirus.
Oct 06, 2020
Taewon Wilson and Candace Chavez-Wilson are part of a growing movement to end life without possibility of parole and other harsh sentences.
Aug 24, 2020
Legal experts say the IRS is illegally denying CARES Act payments to incarcerated people.
Jordan Michael Smith
Jul 08, 2020
The two men have been awaiting Tom Wolf’s signature for more than six months.
Jul 01, 2020
Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus—a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. Every day, The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
Jun 17, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office waited four years to charge Danielle Sutherland for one of the DUIs. After serving time for the others, she received treatment for her substance use issues and pursued a degree.
May 29, 2020
New York attorneys have launched a campaign to release transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary prisoners during the pandemic.
May 28, 2020
Freddy Butler, Oliver Macklin, and Charles Goldblum are among the 17 people who received recommendations for commutations of life sentences in 2019, but Governor Tom Wolf has yet to sign off on their releases.
May 18, 2020
The governor’s requirements for release are too narrow in light of the threat from COVID-19, they say.
May 13, 2020
The onset of COVID-19—and the need for social distancing—gave an unexpected boost to efforts against plans for a new prison in Washington.
May 04, 2020
In this episode, Josie Duffy Rice and her producer, Florence Barrau-Adams, travel to Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York, to interview Rodney Spivey-Jones and Max Kenner about the Bard Prison Initiative and Bard College.
Apr 29, 2020
Telecommunications companies that serve prisons and jails, like Securus Technologies and Global Tel Link, are offering a limited number of free calls, but families say it’s not enough.
Apr 02, 2020
Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Donovan Ramsey talk with Bianca Tylek, executive director of Worth Rises, about the privatization of America’s criminal legal system.
Apr 01, 2020
With one term under her belt as Chicago's top prosecutor, Foxx says she has more work to do to right a system that has been "unfair, and totally unjust."
Mar 16, 2020
Prison-based gerrymandering takes political power away from Black and Latinx communities—power that could be used to push for more funding for schools, social services, infrastructure, and other important reforms.
Robert Saleem Holbrook
Mar 02, 2020
A review of charging dockets in Lebanon County shows Ashley Menser was the only person charged with felony retail theft in 2018 to receive a 7-year maximum sentence.
Feb 10, 2020
The state said Michelle Heale shook the baby to death, but some experts say her conviction was based on debunked science.
Jan 15, 2020
Many liberals support reform in theory. But when unpopular decisions need to be made, it’s back to the 1990s “Tough on Crime” playbook.
Adam H. Johnson
Jan 09, 2020
One man, Paul Houser, is serving 60 years on a drug conviction for purchasing cold medicine and batteries. He’s one of 2,600 people incarcerated as a result of the state’s three strikes laws.
Dec 20, 2019
Alternative approaches to rehabilitation and healing still face resistance, even though the criminal legal system’s reliance on punishment has done little to move the needle on addressing sexual violence.
Dec 10, 2019
With Daniel Harawa, assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.
Adam H. Johnson
Dec 05, 2019
In California, a prison program run by people once sentenced to life shows how even the most serious offenders are more than the worst things they’ve done.
Nick Wing, Kyle C. Barry
Dec 03, 2019
The poor healthcare that Bobbie Jean Johnson received during her more than 40 years in prison contributed to her death, family members say.
Nov 25, 2019
More than 5,400 people in the state are sentenced to life without parole. This month, The Appeal went inside one prison that helps provide end-of-life care for men.
Nov 20, 2019
More than three years after heavy rains and flooding devastated the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, officials have reached an agreement to build a new facility.
Oct 29, 2019
The New York Post used a tragedy to target bail reform activists, rather than point to the challenges of a failed mental health system and poverty.
Adam H. Johnson
Oct 21, 2019
Oct 11, 2019
In a rare move, a federal court vacated Anastazia Schmid’s murder conviction, saying she’d received ineffective assistance of counsel and had been mentally unfit to stand trial. But Schmid, who’d spent 18 years in prison, remained locked up for three months more.
Sep 06, 2019
Our response to crime should focus on healing and accountability, not punishment and retribution.
Aug 30, 2019
A statewide pattern of discrimination in jury selection has gone largely uncorrected, while lives remain in the balance, advocates say.
Aug 26, 2019
The 2020 presidential candidates recently unveiled national criminal justice agendas that reimagine public safety and punishment.
Aug 23, 2019
The New York Times’s coverage of the one-off case of a 77-year-old man omits key facts about how older adults are treated by our punitive legal system.
Adam H. Johnson
Aug 09, 2019
Richard Kinder thought he would die in an Alabama prison until the Supreme Court ruled mandatory juvenile life without parole unconstitutional. But last year, despite a judge concluding there was “uncontradicted evidence” that Kinder had worked to rehabilitate himself, the state parole board refused him release.
Aug 07, 2019
Gloria Williams was in her 20s when she was sent to prison for her part in a robbery that turned deadly. After serving nearly five decades, including one decade in solitary confinement, Williams now has a chance at freedom.
Aug 06, 2019
A new report shows that a progressive approach, like the one advanced by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, can help decrease jail populations—and crime.
Aug 05, 2019
Recent legal victories have spurred counties and states to provide medication-assisted treatment to prisoners struggling with substance use.
Jul 31, 2019
Jul 24, 2019
Jul 22, 2019
Jul 19, 2019
The backlash is underway against a recent wave of prosecutors who champion criminal justice reform. Here are some methods of attack.
Adam H. Johnson
Jul 15, 2019
Jun 25, 2019
Jun 21, 2019
Jun 20, 2019
Though little is known about how Layleen Polanco died, advocates say her story highlights New York City’s flawed approach to criminal justice.
Jun 12, 2019
Jun 05, 2019
Court challenges and a sweeping reform bill are offering hope to men trapped in isolation for decades.
Jun 03, 2019
Prisoners can shave time off their sentences by participating in shock incarceration programs. More than a dozen former shock prisoners say that comes at a steep cost.
May 21, 2019
With Chicago activist Celia Colón
Adam H. Johnson
May 16, 2019
Josie and Clint talk about prison abolition with Mariame Kaba.
Josie Duffy Rice, Clint Smith
Mar 20, 2019
The Bureau of Prisons’ South Central regional director utilized incarcerated people from a Texas prison to work on a landscaping project at his church.
Mar 12, 2019
Family members are frantic after 330 prisoners are transferred to Pennsylvania.
Feb 27, 2019
William J. Richards was cleared in the death of his wife. But he says he was the victim of medical neglect while he was behind bars, which led to a cancer diagnosis becoming terminal. Now he's suing.
Feb 19, 2019
California amended its felony murder law, which holds accomplices responsible for murder. But reform won’t reach a man sentenced to death in a deadly robbery—even though he was never accused of firing a shot.
Feb 04, 2019
The technology also allows authorities to mine call databases and cross-reference the voices of individuals prisoners have spoken with.
George Joseph, Debbie Nathan
Jan 30, 2019
As Kamala Harris begins her presidential run, her move to block gender affirming surgery for an incarcerated transgender woman deserves scrutiny, especially as new cases highlighting the struggle for the rights of imprisoned trans women emerge.
Jan 28, 2019
Prisoners in the state’s Regional Medical Units allege that they are being denied access to essential programs and services like law libraries.
Jan 08, 2019
Trump didn’t start it, but we can end it.
Jan 03, 2019
The Boyd County Detention Center has been consumed in chaos, even as the DOJ investigates it. Now, the community is pinning hopes for reform on a new jailer.
Zachary A. Siegel
Jan 02, 2019
But more than 1,100 others are still serving sentences that voters decided were too harsh.
Dec 19, 2018
Meanwhile, the abysmal medical care that helped spark the riot persists.
Nov 30, 2018
A lawsuit accuses Illinois of cutting off LGBTQ prisoners’ lifeline to supporters.
Nov 08, 2018
Dozens of former detainees at the Gwinnett County jail in Georgia claim they were subjected to brutality at the hands of its Rapid Response Team.
Oct 01, 2018
‘Cold case’ playing cards were just introduced into Delaware prisons in hopes of producing tips on unsolved homicides—but critics warn that informants cultivated behind bars can be dangerously unreliable.
Sep 27, 2018
Louisiana is keeping people behind bars long after their sentences have expired, attorneys say.
Sep 26, 2018
As media attention wanes, “this is the most dangerous period with any prisoner action,” one organizer said.
Sep 25, 2018
The company is being paid $4 million a year to open and scan prisoners’ mail into a searchable database.
Sep 24, 2018
Prisons carry enormous, perhaps impossible to measure social costs—but when assessing the system fiscally, reformers should focus on staffing salaries instead of the number of incarcerated people.
Sep 20, 2018
Now in its second week, a strike staged by prisoners over poor conditions, low wages, and other issues is resulting in consequences, including harsh conduct reports and placements in solitary confinement.
Aug 31, 2018
Instead of changing its conditions and practices, The Bureau of Prisons is simply moving a problem-plagued federal prison unit in Pennsylvania to Illinois.
Aug 21, 2018
After being released from prison, her only chance is a pardon from the governor.
Aug 14, 2018
In the wake of Nia Wilson’s murder, it’s critical that calls for justice in response to anti-Black violence are not contingent upon appeals to white-approved notions of innocence and respectability.
Aug 08, 2018
In one Pennsylvania county, more than three times as many people on the registry were charged in 2016 with failing to follow registry requirements than were charged with a new sexual offense
Aug 01, 2018
A onetime gang liaison for the Baltimore Police Department writes that its database is racist and error-ridden.
Jul 23, 2018
In jurisdictions across the country, people incarcerated before they've ever been convicted of a crime are charged a daily fee just for sitting in jail—and several courts have ruled that the practice is legal.
Jul 20, 2018
As worthy cases for clemency from Cyntoia Brown to Calvin Bryant mount in Tennessee, advocates decry the fact that a Tennessee governor hasn't commuted a prison sentence since 2011.
Jun 12, 2018
May 21, 2018
Apr 27, 2018
Feb 01, 2018
A little-known New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision policy has limited access to books in at least nine prisons for years.
Jan 11, 2018
Jan 09, 2018
Oct 04, 2017
The price of shoplifting at Wal-Mart isn’t always low.
Sep 05, 2017
Aug 14, 2017
Aug 07, 2017
“You look like a cold-blooded monster.”
Jun 22, 2017
Jun 14, 2017