Nicholas Chrastil covers criminal justice for The Lens. As a freelancer, his work has appeared in Slate, Undark, Mother Jones, and the Atavist, among other outlets. Chrastil has a master's degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University, where his research focused on New Orleans' newspapers during the Reconstruction era. During his time at LSU, he also covered the Louisiana state legislature as part of the Manship Statehouse Bureau. He is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota.