In Cleveland, The Marshall Project’s local mission includes connecting communities with information from the criminal justice system. Part of that work is being done by an outreach manager, whose job includes connecting with people in state prisons and local jails, as well as those recently released from the facilities and family members who support them.
In some cases, that work will be creating useful guides on how to navigate bureaucratic processes. It also means elevating the stories of people who are incarcerated and putting their concerns in the hands of a local team of journalists. Stories also will appear in News Inside, an award-winning publication that circulates in hundreds of prisons and jails across the country.
In Cuyahoga County, Black residents are about 30% of the population, but make up nearly two-thirds of the people who are arrested by police and charged with felonies by prosecutors. After county judges impose sentences, state records show 75% of people convicted in Cuyahoga County who end up in state prisons are Black.
Cleveland Outreach Manager Louis Fields’ primary goal will be to get News Inside into the hands of incarcerated Ohioans, and to curate a special Cleveland edition that will include local reporting and perspectives. (To request a free subscription for an incarcerated person, fill out this registration form.)
Fields will also work with local reporters as they engage the community and report on instances where the criminal justice system is — or isn’t — working.
“Without awareness, we can't build solutions,” he said. “The Marshall Project brings awareness to these issues because once you're aware, you're on the hook, because now you either take action towards fixing (the problems) or you consciously allow injustice to go on.”Hear more from Fields: