J.D. Melvin, at the behest of his editors at the Argus, gets a job as a supercargo aboard the Helena on a round-trip journey from Queensland to the Solomon Islands.  He observes and participates in the return of 60 workers at the completion of their work contracts, and the recruitment and transport of 90 new workers from the islands. 

Reporters have worked as guards or gotten themselves arrested -- sometimes with the aid of authorities and sometimes without -- to investigate conditions inside prisons and jails.

Boston Globe reporter Richard H. Stewart spent six days in a Salem jail on a staged drunk driving conviction and wrote about his stay in a five-part-series called "Doing Time." In it, he describes everything from the conditions pf the facilities, the feeling of being confined to a cell for 13 hours a day and even the revealing and often emotional group alcohol counselling sessions he was required to attend as part of his sentence. The series ran almost as a cautionary tale during the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve.  

San Francisco Chronicle prisons investigation involving undercover as a prisoner by Tim Findley and as a guard by Charles Howe.

Arizona Daily Star reporter R.H. Ring spent 10 days posing as a maximum-security convict at Arizona's Florence State Penitentiary. Very few people in the prison system knew of his stay, not even Florence's warden.