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 "department of corrections" ...

  • How the Government Put Tens of Thousands of People at Risk of a Deadly Disease

    An in-depth investigation into valley fever in California prisons and how the state put tens of thousands of people at risk of a deadly disease. Major findings include evidence that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation did little to mitigate the problem, ignored data and internal reports suggesting the disease affected people of color more seriously and quashed a federal study of the epidemic within state prisons.
  • Trouble Behind Bars

    A KyCIR investigation found preventable county jail deaths that provoked little to no follow-up, as well as failures at all levels of government. Not even the state Department of Corrections knows who is dying in county jails, and why. https://soundcloud.com/wfplnews/rg-dunlop-on-the-cost-of-jail-abuse-and-misconduct https://soundcloud.com/wfplnews/rg-dunlop-on-former-grant-co-jailer-terry-peeples/s-i3QFO https://soundcloud.com/wfplnews/trouble-behind-bars-when-jail-deaths-go-unnoticed https://soundcloud.com/wfplnews/remedies-rare-for-grant-countys-dangerous-jail https://soundcloud.com/wfplnews/cascade-of-failures-lead-to-25-year-olds-death-in-grant-county-jail
  • Youth prison chaos revealed

    A breaking news investigation that revealed a state-federal probe into allegations of abuse and mismanagement at a youth prison facility in northern Wisconsin and quickly identified many of the problems, including poor oversight by the state Department of Corrections.
  • Shift in Supervision

    he Tennessee Department of Correction researched and created a new supervision policy for the state in 2014 that drastically reduced supervision for some and increased supervision for others. WJHL's investigation revealed that change left some criminals, even convicted murderers, with limited face-to-face contact with their probation and parole officers. Instead, some of those people now could report using an automated phone reporting system. A local district attorney and state representative said not only did they think the changes were a bad idea, they wished the state would have asked for their input or at the least, let them know the changes were on the way. TDOC maintained based on research and other state models this change would improve public safety. However, leaders from the state agency did acknowledge, when pressed, they could have done a better job of communicating the changes. In the days after the first story aired, as a direct result, TDOC's commissioner sent letters to the district attorney and state representative and told them he would be wanted to clear up their concerns directly.
  • Death Inside San Carlos

    Two days after Chris Lopez walked out of a nine-and-a-half month stint in solitary confinement, the mentally ill inmate appeared catatonic on the floor of his cell inside one of the state's most notorious prisons. What happened next would lead to the firings of three corrections officers, yet for more than a year no one with the Colorado Department of Corrections would talk about it publicly. Through a confidential source, KUSA-TV obtained word of the details surrounding Lopez's death, and eventually obtained the video that forced the Colorado DOC to acknowledge a death inside San Carlos. Eventually, Colorado DOC handed out what amounts to the largest settlement in the history of the state's prison system.
  • Inmates making insiders wealthy

    Privately owned and operated work-release programs are a new fad in corrections. Work-release programs tend to reduce recidivism rates and inmates are able to save some money while in prison so they don’t re-enter the real world penniless. Privately run programs, according to proponents, are superior to those run by public entities, because private operators take a percentage of inmate wages and are thus incentivized to find the best possible jobs for inmates. However, as The Advocate’s stories have shown, the private companies that get this work tend to be politically connected, and they don’t have any real incentive to provide quality housing or food or to prevent escapes. They chronicled problems with escapes, drug use and even death at one outfit run by friends of the sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb. That facility was shut down after our reporting (which the sheriff called “reckless”). As another direct result of their investigation, the state secretary of the Department of Corrections announced that in the future, work-release programs would only get contracts after undergoing a competitive process.
  • Of Natural Causes: Death in Illinois Prisons

    When WBEZ reported in 2011 and 2012 on prison conditions in Illinois we were struck by the number of complaints regarding the lack of healthcare in the Illinois Department of Corrections. They reported some of the worst cases (and there were many) like Christopher Clingingsmith who told the prison doctor that his jaw was broken but medical records show he recieved no care for 8 weeks. By that point his jaw had to be rebroken to fix it. The healthcare in Illinois prisons is provided by a private company that has a 1.4 billion dollar contract with the state but that company doesn’t seem to do a very good job providing the care that taxpayers have paid for. Given the horror stories we heard they wondered how many people were dying inside because of a lack of care. The reporting analyzed the cases of inmates who died while serving sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
  • Exposing Missouri's Secret Execution Drug Source

    For the past several months, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra have been investigating Missouri's execution process and the legal and ethical questions around how the state is obtaining its execution drug. Since most drug manufacturers don’t want their products used for lethal injection, Missouri has had to go to great lengths to find a supply. In October, our reporting uncovered that the state had turned to an unauthorized distributor. Then, at the direction of Missouri’s Governor, the Department of Corrections switched to a different execution drug. But they didn’t stop there – they also changed the rules to make it illegal to reveal the source of the drug. After at least a dozen open records requests and numerous interviews with pharmacy experts, our investigation has revealed that the state is obtaining its drug from an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy that isn’t licensed in Missouri. Under normal circumstances, that could be a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Our reporting has led lawyers representing Missouri’s death row inmates to file a complaint with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, demanding they stop the state from illegal importation of its execution drug. And several state lawmakers have called for an appointed commission to investigate the Department of Corrections, and for executions to be put on hold while the General Assembly looks into the issue.
  • Colorado's Failing Parole System

    A father of three, gunned down for his pizza delivery uniform. That uniform is then used in the murder of Colorado’s Prisons Chief, shot and killed when he answered his front door. The man who carried out the killings: a career criminal on parole. A series of Call7 Breaking News Investigations uncovers the catastrophic failure of Colorado’s parole division. Failures that allowed a parolee identified as high risk and assigned a specially trained officer, to commit murder- twice. A parolee absconder who Call7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta uncovered committed both murders while “off the grid” as parole officers at all levels ignored critical alerts he was on the run for nearly a week. Marchetta holds officials accountable for the fatal oversights that took place. Her investigations led to immediate and long-term meaningful changes at the Colorado Department of Corrections, including a new policy requiring officers to respond to ankle bracelet tamper alerts, new equipment for parole officers, legislative hearings and a change in leadership at the parole division.
  • Watching Tony Die

    Wendy Halloran's journalistic skills have been focused in uncovering the secrets that often lurk behind the closed doors of our state institutions. Wendy began reporting about conditions in the Arizona Department of Corrections and became the vehicle through which the public would learn the story of Tony Lester. Tony, 26 years of age and suffering with schizophrenia tragically took his own life as he lingered in his prison cell, without proper medications and treatment, to ease the suffering he endured due to his debilitating illness. Wendy's ground breaking work in penetrating the great wall of silence within our state prison system was truly amazing. Wendy was able to obtain videos of Tony's last few moments of life through her fearless, "don't stop until the job is done attitude" The picture we see revealed in his final hours will create the guide for reform of Arizona's prison policy and procedures in treatment of those with mental disabilities for years to come. Tony Lester was a young man with a mental disability whose life unfortunately crossed with Arizona's criminal justice system. Tony's illness became a death sentence for him as all of our mental health system safety nets failed him. From the moment of Tony's first major psychotic break, when law enforcement was summoned rather than a Crisis Response Team, Tony's chances of survival grew dim. Arizona's courts do not place much importance on the state of mind a defendant has at the time a crime occurs but rather spend millions to be sure a defendant is competent at the time of trial. At trial we then prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law, as we did in Tony's case and hand him a 12 year prison sentence, for his illness which was at the root of his desire to end his suffering. Some call it the definition of insanity, we do the same thing over and over again and each time expect a different result. Her work in bringing the story of Tony Lester's illness and treatment within the Arizona criminal justice system into the public view, has opened the eyes of the public as to what we can expect, when we allow a mental health system to fail and our prisons to become the largest psychiatric facilities in our state. Since Wendy Halloran's news story on Tony Lester has circulated, Arizona has seemed to have heard the sounding of the alarm, that our mentally disabled must have proper care. Meaningless punishment for a disease of the brain such as schizophrenia does nothing to heal the mind of the afflicted or keep our communities safe. The Tony Lester story has captured the attention of the Maricopa County Attorney and the Arizona Department of Corrections. Both of these important criminal justice players are currently involved in dialogue with The Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. This has encouraged and promoted an open public discourse on mental health/criminal justice collaboration and reform.