Stories

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

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "county" ...

  • Failures in the Foster System

    Our two part investigative series first uncovered the story of a toddler nearly tortured to death in foster care, despite multiple reports to county social services. Our second report exposed major flaws in the County's response to child abuse reports systemwide. We revealed an estimated 7,000 calls to the emergency hotline were not being answered each year, resulting in abused and neglected children remaining in unsafe homes.
  • Addiction Treatment: Inside the gold rush

    Flying beneath the radar, Palm Beach County’s thriving addiction treatment industry, one of the nation’s largest, is exploiting vulnerable addicts seeking help, gouging insurers and families and engaging in fraud, all in pursuit of outlandish profits from simple drug screen tests. The Palm Beach Post exposed industry practices as an FBI task force secretly gathered evidence toward indictments still not issued as of January 2016. The Post exposed out-of-control sober home operators Ken Bailynson and Kenny Chatman and gave the community its first look deep into the industry’s sordid underbelly. https://github.com/PalmBeachPost/postgeo https://github.com/PalmBeachPost/dbfs2csv
  • Jailhouse Jeopardy

    In 2009, the Department of Justice unearthed piles of evidence of abuse, deaths and corruption at the Harris County jail – and then they’d gone away. But instead of improvements local officials had promised, the Houston Chronicle’s own wide-ranging probe – called Jailhouse Jeopardy – revealed the county jail – one of the nation’s largest – remained an extremely dangerous and violent place. The series documented dozens of preventable deaths, rampant abuse of prisoners by guards – including two guard-related homicides, unjust prosecutions launched by guards who’d abused inmates and tough judges who routinely locked up elderly and even dying defendants in one of Texas’ most extreme pretrial detention policies. The series featured compelling video testimonials of violent and tragic episodes, including a widow who watched her husband die in a jailhouse restraint video, parents who lost their son after he contracted the flu in jail, a man locked up for three years after being accused of a crime by a guard who'd broken his finger and many other untold stories.
  • No Place to Call Home

    For low-income residents in Portland, Section 8 has historically been the golden ticket for housing, allowing them to live in market-rate homes instead of housing projects or on the street. But Portland's booming rental market makes it nearly impossible for people with Section 8 to find a home that fits within the criteria set by the program. No Place to Call Home examines the problems with the Section 8 program in Multnomah County and introduces readers to one disabled senior with Section 8 who's facing homelessness – and fighting back.
  • The Tax Windfall

    These reports uncovered how subtle changes in contracts and secret business relationships with government officials led to the elimination of competition for a major vendor in the county’s new tax assessment program. We found that one former tax commissioner, who was integral in creating the program, later became an owner of an assessment firm that benefited from the contracts. A second insider firm, who had hired the father-in-law of the chief county assessor, won 90 percent of the contracts for the towns in the county required to revamp their assessments. That same company also had on its payroll the very same assessor who would be supervising their work in the various towns.
  • Graves of Shame

    In the summer of 2014, a team of forensic anthropologists gathered in Brooks County, Texas, to unearth mass graves containing the remains of hundreds of migrants who had died on their journey north. Reports emerged of bodies buried in kitchen trash bags and skulls wedged between coffins. Within days, the Texas Rangers were asked to investigate. But the probe found no wrongdoing. Investigative Fund reporting fellow John Carlos Frey finds that the Rangers investigator spent all of two days compiling the report and missed massive criminal wrongdoing. In a story for the Texas Observer, Frey uncovers an illegal failure to collect DNA samples and properly label remains. He finds bodies buried less than a foot underground, in violation of Texas law, and other graves containing commingled remains. These violations have made it nearly impossible for families to identify and properly bury their missing loved ones. As a result of the piece the cursory investigation performed by Texas Rangers was nullified, organizations protested, and state representatives vowed to strengthen existing law.
  • Government Behind Closed Doors

    The most powerful local government body in rural, mountainous western North Carolina is the county commission. And once that body enters into closed session -- that is, removes itself from the public eye to discuss vital issues affecting thousands of people and hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds -- residents are essentially cut out of decision making, or, in some cases, even knowing what decisions are being made at all. This Carolina Public Press investigative series removed the secrecy to bring the public back into the process, in an investigation that ultimately prompted the release of meeting details and, in some cases, the first-time development of local policies regarding closed county commission sessions.
  • Prosecutorial misconduct - the vindictive reign of Mark Lindquist

    Throughout 2015, in more than 50 news stories and editorials, The News Tribune chronicled the saga of Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist, the county's most powerful lawyer. Lindquist, elected as a minister of justice, sees himself as a politician first. Justice matters less to him. He aspires to higher office and pop-culture stardom. The News Tribune's stories included deep investigations, breaking coverage and editorials, all describing Lindquist's efforts to consolidate political power and evade accountability despite multiple adverse legal findings, investigations and accusations of legal misconduct.
  • Out of Control: Inmate violence at state-run Martin Girls Academy has local staff, taxpayers paying

    Treasure Coast Newspapers’ reporter Melissa E. Holsman began investigating Martin Girls Academy after hearing from prosecutors, defense attorneys and others concerned with the sometimes brutal violence being reported at the facility since it opened in 2008. Records detail multiple assaults victimizing youth and, more often, employees. The monthslong research included reviewing hundreds of arrest and assault documents, juvenile justice reports, Department of Children and Families abuse records, videos capturing assaults at the complex and personal interviews with current and former staff, attorneys and state officials. Melissa found such a high level of violence within the facility that it is a safety hazard to employees and to the girls themselves. The violence also is costing Martin County taxpayers thousands of dollars annually.
  • 911 Dispatch Delay

    In November of 2012, a man dialed 911 for help from his apartment which had caught fire. The fire spread quickly while he was on the phone with 911. The fire took his life. An internal investigation that began the next morning and continued for the next year determined a failure to properly dispatch the fire department led to a nearly five minute delay in response. It was only the second time in the history of the Onondaga County 911 center a dispatch delay had led, in part, to a fatality. The delay was never revealed. Not to the man's family, the fire department or the public. Three years after the fire our investigation of more than eight months led to all of those parties learning of the deadly delay. We also discovered the dispatcher who was determined to be at fault served no punishment and was not retrained. http://cnycentral.com/news/local/911-commissioner-5-minute-dispatch-delay-blamed-partly-for-fiery-death http://cnycentral.com/news/local/fire-victim-tells-911-call-taker-i-dont-want-to-die-during-dispatch-delay https://youtu.be/WqkQpYKN65E https://youtu.be/TAsu2G4oWpo https://youtu.be/vLbMZltc-sE https://youtu.be/IGy14aM64GI