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Beth Schwartzapfel is a staff writer. Her long-form reporting on the criminal justice system has appeared in Mother Jones, The American Prospect, and the Boston Review. She won the June 2014 Sidney Award, the 2016 James Aronson Award, and the 2016 John Jay College/H.F. Guggenheim Prize for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting, for which she was also runner up in 2014 and 2015.
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News November 21
Lawsuits say the practice severely penalizes those too poor to pay.
News November 8
A new order reminds prosecutors to show their evidence.
Feature August 7
Defendants say evidence laws force them to take pleas while “blindfolded.”
News August 2
Your doctor, your pharmacist... and the police.
Life Inside July 13
A rash of suicides in solitary confinement hits an inmate close to home.
Q&A June 12
The inmate-produced show will tell intimate stories of daily life behind bars.
News May 23
A small nonprofit gathers criminal justice statistics, one county at a time.
News April 13
Georgia squeezes “offender-funded” supervision.
Feature March 30
Many veterans make careers in policing. Some bring war home.
News March 12
Now 28, he’ll be re-sentenced, unless the court finds him ‘irreparably corrupt.’
News March 1
Medications are effective, but jails are still slow to provide them.
News January 16
The question is trickier than you’d think for police, and the courts, to answer.
News January 5
A ‘60s radical faces very different political atmosphere than her co-defendant did a decade ago.
Feature January 3
Researching lynching cold cases, law students restore history.
Feature December 6, 2016
Medicaid for ex-prisoners saves money and lives, but millions are released without it.
Crime on the Ballot November 9, 2016
From early release to bail reform, reform efforts gain some ground.
Crime on the Ballot October 17, 2016
Four important ballot measures you probably haven’t heard of.
Feature October 6, 2016
A system that can link gun crimes through shell casings is hobbled by skepticism and lack of manpower.
News September 27, 2016
Prisoners can be forced to work without pay — the Constitution says so.
News July 20, 2016
We may never know, because “it is so easy to fall through the cracks.”
News June 9, 2016
For decades, California prosecutors covered up unethical deals with jailhouse informers.
News May 19, 2016
The high court has said most kids shouldn't be sentenced to life without parole, but some prisoners' fate are in the hands of politics.
News March 29, 2016
Rules from 2012 are too often ignored, advocates say.
News March 29, 2016
A new report says care varies widely between Louisiana’s jails and prisons.
News February 22, 2016
Corrections facilities are ground zero for treating hepatitis C — but at a cost.
Life Inside February 18, 2016
Life, restricted.
News February 9, 2016
Target of legislation is sex-traffickers; critics call it a ‘scarlet letter.’
Analysis January 27, 2016
Obama takes bold action, but for a population of fewer than 30
News January 25, 2016
Brush your teeth, sit up straight, and prepare for disappointment.
News January 7, 2016
Prohibitions exist, but almost no enforcement.
Feature December 10, 2015
From prison pups to personal trainers with rap sheets.
Life Inside December 4, 2015
After 34 years inside, sometimes you never feel free.
Q&A November 25, 2015
Revisiting a 30-year concept that is used to justify deadly force.
News November 24, 2015
Treating Hep C isn’t cheap, but experts say it’s cost-effective.
News November 6, 2015
A widespread heroin problem could open the door to a once-radical idea.
News October 22, 2015
Editor-in-Chief Bill Keller moderates a White House talk with law enforcement leaders.
News October 22, 2015
Phone home, go broke.
News October 8, 2015
Three prisons were ordered to provide transgender health care. Three prisoners were suddenly set free.
News September 22, 2015
New study places a quarter of the sentences in a handful of urban areas.
Feature September 8, 2015
Why people are using sites like Yelp to vent and offer tips about prison and jail.
The Lowdown August 13, 2015
What it takes to be a jailhouse lawyer.
News August 10, 2015
A California case may decide.
News July 30, 2015
But will politics eventually trump cost and data?
News July 23, 2015
New, retroactive sentencing guidelines begin to kick in.
Feature July 10, 2015
Inside the secretive world of parole boards, where your freedom may depend on politics and whim.
News July 10, 2015
For example: Most states don’t require board members to have any experience with the criminal justice system.
Investigate Your State July 10, 2015
Help us localize our national story on parole.
News June 29, 2015
Are U.S. drug companies against the death penalty? Sort of.
Feature June 28, 2015
From the people who live and work there.
News June 19, 2015
Dylann Roof and the challenges of proving bias.
News June 17, 2015
A Minnesota sex-offender program is under fire. How long can the state hold people for crimes they have not yet committed?
Q&A June 11, 2015
A conversation with Atlanta’s Chief of Police, George Turner.
News June 8, 2015
Or is it junk science?
News May 26, 2015
A new report could have a big impact on New York’s prison population — if anyone pays attention.
News May 20, 2015
How many years make a life sentence for a teenager?
Feature May 13, 2015
We talk to the man who became our national nightmare. Thirty years later, does he still matter?
News May 7, 2015
She was for reform before she was against it before she was for it.
Q&A March 11, 2015
A trauma surgeon on the moment the accused Boston Marathon bomber became his patient.
News February 16, 2015
Boston cops weather the endless snow.
News January 23, 2015
Defendants may be presumed innocent — but can judges ensure they look innocent?
News January 12, 2015
Alabama pitches prison reform as a states' rights issue.
News November 24, 2014
In the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pennsylvania says no.