The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Mike Ward" ...

  • Sex Offender Program

    The stories spotlighted a little-known state agency and civil commitment program that purported to be a treatment program for convicted sex offenders, revealing questionable and abusive practices and raising questions about its constitutionality. In addition to uncovering the details of questionable contracts, the stories revealed a systemic and ongoing failure by state officials to conduct the civil commitment program in accordance with state law, best practices, and its overall constitutionality. Unlike civil commitment programs in other states, Texas’ program effectively operated as an additional criminal punishment for some of society’s least sympathetic offenders, forcing them into a purported treatment and educational program no one has successfully completed in its 15-year history. The stories have sparked a nearly completed housecleaning of the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management leadership and plans for a revamp of the entire program. The state district judge who oversees most of the court cases involving the civil commitment program also is the subject of an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. In addition to a series of investigations and a state audit underway, legislators have called for an overhaul of the program and may revisit the original authorizing law.
  • Toxic Chemicals Taint Barton Water

    At least half a million visitors swim in this a natural pool in Barton Springs, Texas. As these reporters reveal this water is contaminated with carcinogens including DDT and other benzene-based carcinogens. Apparently, the authorities knew about this since eight years but had not stopped people from swimming in the pool. After this series of investigations though the authorities ordered an investigation.
  • Toxic Chemicals Taint Barton Waters

    Samples from a smattering of Austin city waterways showed high levels of toxins, some higher than levels f the same chemicals in Superfund sites. The levels of contaminants pose some serious health concerns for the city, which has the waterways under its jurisdiction.
  • Sick in Secret: The Hidden World of Prison Health Care

    The American-Statesmen reports on the health care failures of the Texas prison system. The series reveals that - even though the state has hired the University of Texas' medical school to provide care for sick convicts for $297 million a year - the prisons continue to have "deadly inadequacies" in their medical care. "The care is so bad that prisoners angle to join medical experiments that will take them away from prison infirmaries," the investigation reveals. On the other hand, there is evidence that some prisoners have seen both the best and the worst of health care. Some of the difficult cases have been handled with "real-world ferocity" by university doctors, but prisoners have also been left to starve to death in infirmaries and prison clinics operated by the university.
  • The Secret World of the Texas Parole Board

    The Austin American-Statesman investigates the Texas Parole Board's controversial policy of holding its hearings behind closed doors. The three month investigation reveals the inner workings of "this mostly hidden part of the Texas public justice system".
  • A&M Bonfire Investigation

    "The series dealt with the tragic collapse of the Texas A&M bonfire in November of 1999 and the investigation that followed. The series uncovered numerous findings throughout the investigation," such as the structure of the bonfire was leaning while the students worked on it and faculty engineers had warned the school about the design of the bonfire.
  • A Menace Unchained

    The Austin American Statesman examines how gangs operate in Texas prisons and finds the gangs' influence extends beyond the confines of the prison walls. Prison gangs aligned by race and ethnicity thrive inside prison, despite authorities' efforts to stop them. Some gangs even recruit members from the outside, orchestrating crimes from within prison.
  • Oklahoma prison system paints picture of waste, failure

    Tulsa Tribune overview of Oklahoma prison system paints picture of waste, failure.