To bring to life dozens of stories about mass incarceration in America, NBC News Investigative Unit’s Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville have raised near $40,000 with the crowdfunding platform Beacon.
Before any stories were published on Beacon, NBC News or other news outlets, the Everyday Incarceration Instagram account was created, and its run alongside reports from The Legacy of Mass Incarceration project.
With sketches, archival photos and the work of a handful of talented photographers from across the United States, Everyday Incarceration has some thick storytelling. Some photographers whose work is exhibited is the result of years of work.
Sometimes the photos mirror the project, and sometimes they tell their own story.
Here’s some of that work, which ranges from prisoner rodeo in Louisiana, families torn apart, families reunited, convicted murderers, teens on probation and the complex story that is mass incarceration in America, the world’s largest jailer.
Sundhe Moses, 38, was reunited with his mother, Elaine, last December after spending 18 years locked in prison. In 1995, Moses was convicted of killing a 4-year-old girl in Brooklyn. The case centered around a questionable confession taken by NYPD detective Louis Scarcella, whose history of wrongful convictions is being examined by prosecutors. Moses left Bare Hill Correctional Facility near the Canadian border that morning with his lawyer, and was hugging his mother in her downtown Brooklyn apartment that evening. Photo by @pearlgabel , a staff multimedia journalist at the New York Daily News. #justicestories #criminaljustice #photojournalism
There is almost unanimous agreement among criminal justice experts that maintaining strong family ties provides much-needed support for inmates and helps prevent recidivism when they are released. However, most prison system policies separate families rather than bring them together. These policies are particularly damaging to children. More than 2.7 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent and approximately 10 million children have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. To see more of my work, please visit my website: gabrielabulisova.photoshelter.com
A series of photos of women prisoners outside Atlanta, Georgia by Marilyn Suriani were shared in Everyday Incarceration. Suriani was interviewed for The Legacy of Mass Incarceration project.
Lacrisa, a prisoner at the Metro Correctional Institution near Atlanta, Georgia c.1993. “I’m ready for my license. State board here I come. One more skill under my belt. I’m gonna need all I can get to survive in this vicious world, cause I NEVER want to come back here EVER! Not even to visit, and that’s the gospel.” Photo by Marilyn Suriani #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #womenprisoners #womenbehindbars #georgia #atlanta #everydayincarceration #prisonphotography
There’s also about a dozen sketches of inmates at Rikers Island by artist Ricardo Cortes.
For three years, artist and publisher Ricardo Cortes ran art workshops for women and young men incarcerated on Rikers Island. After a few requests, he began to draw portraits of inmates. Controversy has been building over conditions on Rikers Island. Last year, the Department of Justice found “a pattern and practice of conduct at Rikers that violates the constitutional rights” of adolescents held there. Violence has increased across the island. A recent assessment by the city found a growing number of incidents between inmates, as well as between inmates and staff. In February, the New York Times reported that violence has continued, including inmates seriously injured by staff, even as officials have focused on improving the facilities. In March, the Mayor and head of the DOC instituted a 14-point plan aimed at reducing violence in the jails. The DOC says it is continuing to “expand upon its broader reform agenda to create safer jails for both inmates and staff.” Find the New York Times coverage here: http://nyti.ms/19niFhB Read the recent city report here: http://on.nyc.gov/1Bs4BKA Pencil portrait by @Rmcortes #everydayincarceration #portraits #prisonportraits #drawing #newyorkcity #NYC #RikersIsland #drawing #criminaljustice #incarceration #jail
Last year, a 22 year old man named Victor White was shot in the back of a police car in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. An investigation found that he had shot himself in the chest while cuffed behind his back. A federal investigation was opened into the death. In her months-long investigation for The Advocate, @hrappleye has found more than 30 civil lawsuits have been filed against the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office in federal and state courts since the sheriff took office in 2008. At least six people, including five inmates, have died in Sheriff’s Office custody during that time. Documents examined by The Advocate — including complaints filed by inmates and settled civil lawsuits — allege a wide array of misconduct by Sheriff’s Office employees, ranging from excessive force used in routine arrests to an inmate beating that was so savage that guards slipped and fell in the victim’s blood. (link in profile)
New Orleans-based photographer William Widmer, whose work has also been featured in Sports Illustrated, New York Times and Al Jazeera America, shared a series of shots with Everyday Incarceration from a prison rodeo in Louisiana.
He also took a portrait of this man whose sentence was reduced by President Obama as a result of changes to sentencing laws that make penalties for crack and cocaine comparable.
Angola, LA – 10/26/2014 – An #inmate is thrown by a Brahma #bull. Participants at the 50th Annual #Angola #Prison Rodeo try to grab a red poker chip tied to the forehead of a bull during the main event, called “Guts & Glory”. Other events include Bareback Riding, Wild Cow Milking, and “Bull-Dogging”, where the object is to wrestle the bull to the ground as quickly as possible in pursuit of the coveted “All-Around Cowboy” award. Photo by @misterwidmer | More work at: http://www.si.com/more-sports/photos/2014/11/12/angola-prison-rodeo#1 #prisonrodeo #incarceration #massincarceration #legacyofincarceration #Louisiana
Andrew Lichenstein shared photos from Ohio, Texas and other parts of the country.
A young man just released from prison in Huntsville, Texas. The majority of people have no one waiting to meet them when they are released. Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein @andrewlichtenstein Click the link in our profile to read an interview with Lichtenstein. #legacyofincarceration #texas #prisonphotography #documentary #criminaljustice #huntsville #prison #everydayincarceration #everydayeverywhere #prisonwives
Street photographer Julius Motol spoke with recently released inmates for his project “First Meals: This Is What Freedom Tastes Like” to recreate and photograph their first meal after leaving prison.
First Meal: Two Supreme Steak Chalupas, a Steak Burrito and a Large Mountain Dew Baja Blast from Taco Bell Released from prison on Sept. 5, 2014, Levi Wheeler bought his first meal at Taco Bell. "It tasted like freedom, really," said Wheeler, 29. "I been waiting for five years to eat that.” Prison food was largely devoid of flavor, he said, making food after prison a delight. Though Wheeler's still nervous in a supermarket–”I feel like people are looking at ya, like you’re gonna steal stuff”–he finds the freedom to choose what he eats comforting. Photo by @juliusmotalphoto for a project called “First Meals | This Is What Freedom Tastes Like #firstmeals #reentry #incarceration #food #cunyjschool #massincarceration #everydayincarceration #prison #prisonphotography #prisonlens #tacobell #mountaindew #freedom
Memphis, 16, inside a holding room. Holding rooms are used as a safety measure for juveniles who may be a risk to themselves or other residents and staff members. Memphis says that he is ready to go home, that he misses his mom, his little sister, hot showers and wearing his own clothing. Photo by Zora Murff @zorajmurff #corrections #youth #juvenilejusice #criminaljustice #iowa #incarceration #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #everydayeverywhere #everyincarceration
Wendy, 13, and Sheila, 14, were placed on probation for assaulting a student during a basketball practice who had shoved Wendy earlier that day. Sheila told me, “Defending yourself or your family is different than fighting just to fight. I don’t care who it is, if they’re messing with my family, then they are messing with me.” Photo by Zora Murff @zorajmurff #corrections #youth #juvenilejusice #criminaljustice #iowa #incarceration #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #everydayeverywhere #everyincarceration
Scott Houston shared some photos from Estrella Jail in Phoenix, AZ.
Men march on a chain gang at the Estrella Jail in Phoenix, AZ on March 5th, 2012. Jail inmates stay in 8×12 foot cells 23 hours of the day during lock down, unless they are out on assigned chain gang duty, for which they can volunteer. The nation’s only male chain gang, and the world’s first-ever female chain gang, clean streets, paint over graffiti, and bury indigents at White Tanks cemetery on the outskirts of Phoenix. Photo by Scott Houston. See more of Scott Houston's work at scotthoustonphoto.com #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #everydayeverywhere #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #chaingang #Arizona #everydayeverywhere Read an interview with Scott Houston on Beacon Reader – The Legacy of Mass Incarceration: http://bit.ly/163emqM
Sean Kernan’s photos from 1977-1978 in a West Virginia prison are definitely worth a look. Kernan was interviewed as part of The Legacy of Mass Incarceration project.
"This was made on the first day of my first extensive visit to this prison. This unusually old convict was playing with this kitten near a vent from the prison laundry the source of all the steam on a cold November day.” West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville, West Virginia, 1977-78. Photo by Sean Kernan, all rights reserved Kernan notes that this image was used in a psychology experiment in which people who knew nothing about photography really hated the picture but people who knew about photography and art liked it. What’s your take? #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #alabama #westvirginia #everydayeverywhere
"The West Virginia Penitentiary had a boxing program that was run by an outsider. It was popular among a good number of inmates.” West Virginia Penitentiary, Moundsville, West Virginia, 1977-78. Photo by Sean Kernan, all rights reserved Read an interview with Kernan on Beacon Reader (link in profile) See more of Kernan’s series In Prison, as well as his other work at www.seankernan.com #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #alabama #westvirginia #everydayeverywhere
Robert Gumpert shared a photo story with Everyday Incarceration that go inside the San Francisco County Jail.
As murder suspect is booked into the San Francisco County jail, employees document his neck wounds from a suicide attempt. Part of the series, “Lost Promise – The Criminal Justice System,” 1993-1996 in San Francisco, CA. Photo by Robert Gumpert. Check out his work at taptas.com #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #SanFrancisco #countyjail #prisonphotography
Jailers drag a man down the hall at County Jail 1 in San Francisco, CA, which for years served as the jail intake. The policy here was: If a prisoner can't walk in the jail won't take them. The facility was shuttered in 1996. Photo by Robert Gumpert. This image is part of the series, “Lost Promise – The Criminal Justice System. 1993-1996” in San Francisco, CA. Check out more of his work at taptas.com. #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #SanFrancisco #countyjail
Dope deals were a regular part of the landscape in the San Francisco’s Tenderloin District in the 1990s. Known as the center of the city’s grit, the Tenderloin was a place where law enforcement and residents often clashed. Photo by Robert Gumpert. Check out more of his work at taptas.com. #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #SanFrancisco #countyjail #everydayincarcertion #prisonphotography
Joseph Rodriguez (rollie6x6 on Instagram) went into California prisons and followed people trying to get their life back together on the outside for his “Reentry” series.
Marcos Luna, 37, is a recovering drug addict and a resident of Walden House. He spent almost 11 years behind bars. He now works at bakery at Homeboy Industries, which offers job training to former gang members, and volunteers his time giving food to the homeless. “Myself, I’m a two-striker, so I really got to think about what my third strike might be,” he said. “With my criminal record, automatically I get a term of 25 years to life, with no possibility of parole.” In 2012, Californians reformed their “three strikes” law, eliminating some of the harshest punishments. Now a life sentence can be imposed only in serious violent crimes. The reforms also allowed those in prison for life for a more minor “third strike” to petition for their release. Since 2012, more than 1,000 “three-strikers” have been released from prison. Photography by Joseph Rodriguez @rollie6x6 Read an interview with Rodriguez on Beacon Reader (link in tagline) for @everydayincarceration #reentry #incarceration #cunyjschool #massincarceration #everydayincarceration #prisonphotography #prisonlens #criminaljustice #legacyofincarceration #waldenhouse #california #losangeles #parole #homeboyindustries #threestrikes #everydayeverywhere
REENTRY STORY 1 – A leader of the congregation, who is a Holocaust survivor, has encouraged Goldstein to attend synagogue as much as possible. “The first time I walked into the shul, my first Shabbos,” Goldstein says, “he listened to me pray and he said, ‘Seven years in jail didn’t deter you from God. I don’t know what you went through but I understand where you’re coming from.’ I interpreted that as a welcome.” Photo by @jbeckerny —— #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #cunyjschool #nycityphotowire #prisonportraits #criminaljustice #reentry #jewsinjail #kosherbehindbars #boropark
Isadora Kosofsky photo story follows two brothers in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Vinny punches trash cans behind his aunt's house. Vinny attempts to find ways to vent his anger about past experiences. "Vinny and David" is a long-term project that begins with Vinny, then 13, when he was incarcerated for stabbing his mother’s assailant, and shadows him and his older brother, David, who cycles in and out of jail; the ongoing photo essay focuses on the brothers’ lives in their family and community over three years in New Mexico. I'm Isadora Kosofsky @isadorakosofsky – a documentary photographer based in Los Angeles. I will be guest posting on #EverydayIncarceration for 4 days. To view more of this photo documentary, visit www.isadorakosofsky.com #family #legacyofincarceration #prisonlens #youth #everydayeverywhere #EverydayIncarceration #brothers