News archives

News archives

Original content produced by The Medill Justice Project.

The Art of Detainment: Guantánamo Bay, Cuba

By Allisha Azlan
The Medill Justice Project


GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba–National security versus human rights. That’s what Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has come to symbolize—a flashpoint of controversy—for many on the international stage. In a rare glimpse, the U.S. military gave The Medill Justice Project access to the detention camp—called the most expensive prison on the face of the earth—where suspected terrorists from across the globe continue to be held under intense security and under opaque circumstances at the U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay. Read the full story here.

Code of Silence

MIAMI—Andre Gonzales used to pride himself on dressing in the latest designer clothes. His walk-in closet in his old Brownsville apartment was crowded with dozens of wide-brimmed baseball caps and stacks of Air Jordan sneakers. Brands like Rocawear, Sean John and Phat Farm—coveted staples in hip-hop and urban streetwear communities—hung heavily on racks.

Today, the only clothing label he wears is prison-issued. Having spent the last decade behind bars, Gonzales knows his family gave away most of his closet’s collection—markers for the fashion of the early 2000s—as they began doubting he would don them again as a free man.Read the full story here.

Shadows and Ghosts

Read the full story here.

Hidden Scars

GALENA, Ill.—Draven was missing from home.

The 16-year-old boy had slipped out without saying a word, boarded a train from Chicago and rode for over two hours to meet a girl he met online. He didn’t see the flood of texts, missed calls and voicemails from friends and family. From everyone, it seemed—except his mom.

She had no idea he had gone missing. She was missing, too, in a way: locked up for a murder she maintained she didn’t commit.

Late that night, Draven returned home to a furious dad, aunt and grandma. They took his phone away, a blow to a teenager who already felt alone and used his phone to stay connected with his few friends. He says he was also dealing with being bullied in school, which he blamed partly on having a mom in prison.Read the full story here.

Daughter and Mother in Motion

By Medha Imam
The Medill Justice Project

Missed Moments, New Memories

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas—Jenni Del Prete presses up against the railing in hopes of getting a better view. In front of her is a maze of ramps, rails and small flights of stairs. Hidden from view is her 27-year-old daughter, Tia, busy tying the yellow straps of her knee and elbow pads, adjusting her helmet and wheeling back and forth in her custom-made wheelchair. She calls it practicing. It looks more like pacing.Read the full story here.

Photo Essay: Freewheeling

By Alyssa Wisnieski
The Medill Justice Project

Jenni Del Prete, 46, kisses her daughter Tia Pearl, 27, wishing her good luck at the beginning of the Wheelchair Motocross World Championships in April in Grand Prairie, Texas. The challenge for wheelchair competitors like Tia is to perform Read the full story here.

Code of Silence

MIAMI—A key eyewitness, fearful of retribution, said he will not testify in a Miami murder case even though he knows who committed the killing and it isn’t the man who is serving a life sentence for it. Read the full story here.

Stranger Than Fiction?

WILKINSBURG, Pa.—Shots were fired and­ a man slumped dead, bloody in his basement on a late snowy December night in 1975. Within minutes, Sgt. Dominick LaBella of the Edgewood Police Department entered the modest brick home where he found the victim’s 5-year-old son hysterical.Read the full story here.