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 "federal prisons" ...

  • Dying in Private Prisons

    This harrowing investigative series into America’s shadow system of privatized federal prisons for The Nation magazine and The Investigative Fund exposed deadly medical neglect and failed government oversight, and led to a major announcement by the Department of Justice in August ordering the Bureau of Prisons to end its use of private prison operators.
  • Profiting from Prisoners

    "Profiting from Prisoners" is a multiplatform investigative project revealing how financial companies have become central players in a multi-billion dollar economy that shifts the costs of incarceration onto the families of prison inmates and helps private companies profit from these captive customers. The stories and documentary put human faces on a growing structural inequity in society: As mass incarceration stretches prison budgets, prisons are cutting back on basic services like providing toilet paper and winter clothes for inmates. Families are forced to close the gap by paying into a hidden, multi-billion dollar pipeline of cash – facilitated by financial companies – that flows directly from relatives’ pockets to the coffers of prisons and the vendors they employ. The series’ second major story, based on previously undisclosed government documents, detailed multi-year, no-bid contracts granted to Bank of America and JP Morgan to provide financial and other services in federal prisons.
  • Death Behind Bars

    A Global News investigation revealed that Canada's "psychiatric prisons," home to the penal system's sickest, most vulnerable and most volatile inmates, have the highest death and assault rates of any federal prisons. Designed, theoretically, to provide special care for Canada's growing population of inmates with severe mental illness, these prisons have become little more than warehouses for extremely ill offenders: They're kept in solitary confinement despite overwhelming evidence against it, and, Global News discovered, even so-called "intensive psychiatric care" is little more than segregation by any other name. After refusing to speak with us about this for months, Canada's Public Safety Minister announced a pilot project for two women inmates with mental illness in a groundbreaking facility specially designed for their care and rehabilitation. Global News also reported that, six months later, that pilot project had yet to materialize.
  • Death Behind Bars

    A Global News investigation revealed that Canada's "psychiatric prisons," home to the federal penal system's sickest, most vulnerable and most volatile inmates, have the highest death and assault rates of any federal correctional facility. Designed, theoretically, to provide special care for Canada's growing population of inmates with severe mental illness, these prisons have become little more than warehouses for extremely ill offenders: They're put in brutal restraints by prison guards ill-equipped to deal with their needs, and lack sufficient access to health-care practitioners; they're kept in solitary confinement despite overwhelming evidence against it, and, Global News discovered, even so-called "intensive psychiatric care" is little more than segregation by any other name. After refusing to speak with us about this for months, Canada's Public Safety Minister announced a pilot project for two women inmates with mental illness in a groundbreaking facility specially designed for their care and rehabilitation. As part of our extensive follow-up to our initial series, Global News also reported that, six months later, that pilot project had yet to materialize.
  • A Broken Code

    This story looks at a top-secret intelligence unit within the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADX) prison and examines claims that prisoners in the program exaggerate their gang status and knowledge of criminal activity within ADX to curry favor and win extraordinary privileges. The unit was supposed to benefit authorities by providing them with information from inmate snitches about criminal activities going on both inside and outside the prison.The snitches were to provide information on fellow gang members and corrupt prison staff and detail how they obtained weapons or passed messages inside the prison. But at least one ADX prisoner claims inmate snitches in the program manipulated prison staff and lied about innocent people to win special privileges.
  • INS fails to see the light

    The National Law Journal reports on how the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been denying detained aliens the right to hear a presentation about their legal options from a group of New York lawyers. "Under rules promulgated in 1998, the lawyers should have been able to do so, but were stymied for a year and half, even as the agency proudly announced the expansion of the legal access program to federal prisons and county jails," the story reveals.
  • Marked For Death

    Westword reports on federal inmate Tony Francis, whose case highlights the inability of the Department of Prisons to prevent violence or protect prisoners from each other. Prisoners who "check-in" to protective custody make themselves even more of a target than a prisoner who won't defend himself. Tony Francis' solution was to get caught escaping and isolated without the stigma of being a snitch.
  • Bailing Out Private Jails

    The American Prospect looks government contracts to privatize federal prisons when the same companies have come under much scrutiny for problems with their privatized state prisons. The same problems created by the desire to cut costs in for-profit state prisons can be expected in the new federal prisons, the Prospect reports.
  • The Devil's Chair

    The Progressive "investigated the restraint chair, a popular restraining device used in jails and prisons" and "revealed that at least eleven people have died since 1984 after being placed in restraint chairs..." The story "revealed widespread abuse - including torture - of prisoners in the chairs." Some of the major findings included the use of chair "for punishment of nonthreatening behavior" and cases when "prisoners have been interrogated" or "required to testify while in restraint chairs." The reporter also found that "jails, state and federal prisons, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, state mental hospitals, juvenile detention centers are all equipped with the chair."
  • The Cowboy Way

    The Cowboy Way "deals with crime behind prison walls ... and emerged from ongoing reporting on management problems at a federal prison complex."