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 "drug offenders" ...

  • Behind the Prop

    California's Proposition 36 aims to help drug offenders out of prison, saving the taxpayers millions. But as Stephen James uncovers, the goal of this plan isn't necessarily fulfilled. Proposition 36, also known as the Substance Abues and Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (SACPA), received great praise from its sponsor, the Drug Policy Alliance, who said that the plan would save California taxpayers $1.5 billion over five years. But James discovers that the law just may be a very expensive failure. SACPA allows for criminal offenders convicted of nonviolent drug possession to be sentenced to drug teatment instead of probation without treatment or jail time. James found that only about 10 percent of SACPA defendants actually complete the entire program.
  • War Without Victory

    This series describes the facets of the war on drugs in Washington state, particularly areas that seemed too "small town" to have any drug problems. It involves a vivid description of the drug war in Snohomish County, the effects of drugs on newborn babies who carry on their mothers' addiction, how some drug offenders never spend a single day in jail, and also a study of how the legal system handles drug cases.
  • Prescription for Pain

    The stories demonstrated that Eastern Kentucky led the nation in the distribution of prescription narcotics-much of it illegal. Reporters found a series of unlikely accomplices to the illegal trafficing including the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Local cops were corrupt or compromised and a $30 million federal enforcement effort was rendered ineffective by a lack of cooperation among the police agencies involved. The reports found an elected judge who admitted that he'd had private business dealings with rug dealers and was unilaterally lowering drug offenders' sentences set by plea bargains. The reporters also found that effecive drug treatment was hard to find in rural areas of Kentucky. The newspaper also produced an examination of how OxyContin was marketed through "detailing," the practice of sending sales men directly into doctor's offices. The reporting also took readers inside one local drug ring. Finally, the newspaper examined how public Medicaid payments were providing some rural Kentucy drug dealsers with millions of silent partners-U.S. taxpayers- who were helping to ensure their supply.
  • The Drug War Series

    The series focused on the execution and impact of the so-called drug war on Chicago's minority communities. Specifically, the stories examined racial disparities in drug sentencing, drug arrests and the number of ex-drug offenders returning to Chicago communities. The Chicago Reporter found that blacks and Latinos were more often sentenced to prison than whites for the same drug crimes, even when they appeared to have similar criminal pasts.
  • Is locking 'em up the answer?

    Washington Monthly examines the value of incarceration for nonviolent criminals, especially drug offenders.
  • Trouble at the Track

    The Star-Ledger investigates "the illegal medication of horses in New Jersey standardbred (harness) racing." The reporter points out that the subject is known within the industry but rarely discussed publicly even by racing magazines. The series' main findings are that doping is common, the tests to detect it are inadequate, and other measures such as random barn checks are not being implemented. "The state agency charged with policing the sport had allowed many of its drug offenders top continue racing as their cases dragged through appeals," the investigation reveals.
  • Debt to Society: The Real Price of Prisons

    A Mother Jones interactive project chronicles and quantifies "the explosive growth of America's inmate population." The online series depicts the economic and social costs of prisons, and includes a database on states' prison population and prison spending. The first part explains why America became the world's leading jailer, and looks at the paradoxical growth of the incarceration rate over the past decades when the crime rate was declining. The reporters find that "the soaring number of nonviolent drug offenders" and increases in sentencing are behind the expansion of prisons. The second part discovers that "prisons are rife with infectious illnesses - and threaten to spread them to the public." The third story examines the influence of jail sentences on inmates' inclination to violence after being released. The fourth part looks at the social costs for children who have a parent behind bars. The fifth article explains various alternatives for society to respond to lawbreakers without locking them up. The sixth part reveals that spending on a domestic anti-drug war is ineffective. The seventh article finds that "mass incarceration comes at a moral cost to every American."
  • America's Shadow Drug War

    In this group of stories Time examines the effectiveness of America's "war on drugs" at home and in South America. Ramo investigates the shoot-down of an unarmed American missionary plane over Peru by American and Peruvian anti-drug forces. American anti-drug spending is about $1.9 billion a year and government officials are still convinced that air surveillance and crop eradication methods will work in South America. In the second story Ripley profiles the American missionary, Vernoica Bowers, who was killed along with her seven-month-old daughter when their plane was shot down by Peruvian anti-drug forces. The last piece, written by Margot Roosevelt, looks at America's stance on drug offenders and mandatory drug sentencing in relation with the second Bush Administration. The story finds that many states are finding treatment alternatives for drug offenders instead of locking them up. The piece contains a follow-up story by Davis on the cycle of addiction that many drug users face.
  • Crime and Punishment

    "The incarceration of so many drug-only offenders makes no economic sense." Since the 1970s, a "prison build-up" began in the U.S. Since 1980, incarceration costs have grown from $ billion annually to $45 billion. Drug offenders make up the largest area of growth in prison populations. By comparing the social and real costs of certain crimes, it would seem that locking up drug offenders is very inefficient while programs that teach new work skills seem to show lower rates of recidivism.
  • The High Cost of Hard Time

    The Virginian-Pilot investigates the Viriginia prison boom. "The series traced a costly prison-building boom that Virigina undertook in the mid-1990s, diverting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from other pressing needs such as education and transportation. Moreover, it was sold on a false premise: that the state was in a grip of a violent crime wave. in fact, crime in Virginia, already low by national standards, was declining. As a result, the state overbuilt, ending up with some 4,000 surplus prison cells. To fill them, it is now importing out-of-state prisoners in a unique cell-for-hire program. The series also found that contrary to proponents' emphasis on violent crime, most of the new inmates coming into the system are nonviolent offenders -- especially drug offenders."