IRE Radio Podcast | Reaching Behind Bars

In 2016, nearly 2.2 million adults were behind bars. If that were a city, it would be the nation’s fifth largest. That’s a critical community and one journalists often struggle to reach. On this episode, we’ll be exploring ways journalists can amplify the voices of inmates. The Marshall Project’s Eli Hager discusses the nonprofit’s popular…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Three Strikes

A 1982 Virginia law meant to reduce recidivism had a pretty simple concept: Three strikes and you’re out. Or, in prison terms, you’re in for good. On this week’s episode, we talk with Virginian-Pilot reporter Tim Eberly about his three-month investigation into the law. Tim interviewed 41 “three-strikers” and found that the majority had never…

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Tips for digging into prisons and jails

“I was the first person who asked him why he killed someone,” recalled Amy Brittain, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. As part of a Thursday session on prison and jails, Brittain discussed one of the subjects of her investigation into an old Washington, D.C. law that allowed violent offenders to remain on the…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Profiting from Prisoners

Prisons have long posed a challenge for investigative journalists. And when you’re trying to report on a private prison ­– one owned by a company, not the government – the situation becomes even more challenging. On this episode, we’re talking to three reporters who managed to pull back the curtain on the for-profit prison system. Shane Bauer describes…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Life and Death in Lowell

Approximately 2,700 women are serving time at Lowell Correctional Institution, the nation’s largest women’s prison. On this episode, Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown discusses her year-long investigation into Lowell. Documents, interviews and a Facebook page for former inmates helped her expose a world of sexual extortion, abuse and corruption inside the Florida prison. As always,…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Solitary to the Streets

This week we’re taking a look at a joint investigation between The Marshall Project and NPR. The two teamed up to look at what happens when prisoners go straight from solitary confinement back to the streets. Reporters Christie Thompson and Joseph Shapiro will discuss how they worked through common prison reporting roadblocks. As always, you…

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3 ideas for covering America’s booming prison population

The United States is a world leader in incarceration, with more than 2 million people in prisons and jails. At the 2014 IRE Conference Barry Krisberg, a senior fellow at UC Berkeley Law School, discussed a handful of trends for journalists to follow in the coming year. Here are three to keep an eye on:…

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Louisiana failed to turn over key public records about execution drugs

Documents entered into court record in the lawsuit of one prisoner on death row show that the Louisiana Department of Corrections had documents that would have fulfilled a records request made by The Lens in 2013. The Lens, a non-profit newsroom in New Orleans, had previously requested records pertaining to the purchase and inventory of the state’s…

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Behind the Story: How the Los Angeles Times turned an anonymous tip into a front-page story

Paige St. John No such records exist. That’s the message Paige St. John received when she requested audit records on the Los Angeles County Probation Department’s GPS monitoring program. Despite the rocky start, the Los Angeles Times reporter went on to break the story about trivial alerts from GPS monitors overwhelming probation officers in LA…

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Getting access to information inside prisons

By Perla Arellano There are many stories behind prison bars. Prison gangs, medical care, autopsy records, and flawed prison programs are just a few of the ideas offered at a panel sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists. But getting access to the information inside prisons to build the story at some times may seem impossible.  …

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