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 "jail" ...

  • Northwest Jails' Mounting Death Toll

    Since 2008, at least 306 people across the Northwest have died after being taken to a county jail. Until now, that number was unknown, in part because Oregon and Washington have not comprehensively tracked those deaths in county jails. If they did, they would find a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe. Key findings: - Over the past 10 years, the rate of jail deaths has trended upward in Oregon and Washington. In 2008, county jails in Washington had a mortality rate of about 123 deaths for every 100,000 inmates. By 2017, that rate was 162. Jail population data for 2018 were not yet available at the time of publication, but reported deaths spiked that year. A conservative estimate puts the 2018 mortality rate closer to 200 deaths per 100,000 inmates. - In 2018, police shot and killed 39 people between Oregon and Washington, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. For that same year, our investigation found 39 deaths in Oregon and Washington county jails. - At least 70 percent of Northwest inmates who died in the past decade were awaiting trial at the time of their deaths, still considered innocent under the law. - More than 40 percent of deaths happened within an inmate’s first week in jail. A third of all inmates who died never made it past three days. - Suicide, by far the leading cause of jail deaths in the Pacific Northwest, accounted for nearly half of all cases with a known cause of death.
  • Unchecked Power

    After losing hard-fought reelection campaigns, Alabama’s sheriffs often turn their attention to undermining their successors in ways that abuse the public trust. On his way out the door, one sheriff drilled holes in government-issued cell phones, while another pocketed public money intended to feed inmates. The ousted leaders dumped jail food down the drain and burned through tens of thousands of sheriff's office dollars by purchasing thousands of rolls of toilet paper. These are among the findings of my six-month investigation into these practices for AL.com and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. In June 2019, I chronicled the actions of nine defeated Alabama sheriffs, seven of whom allegedly destroyed public property, stole public funds and/or wasted taxpayer money after their electoral defeats. These stories were made possible by my realization that incoming sheriffs were often more willing to talk on the record about the bad behavior and criminality of predecessors who had taken advantage of them than they would be under other circumstances.
  • NJ Advance Media: Death & Dysfunction

    An 18-month NJ Advance Media investigation for The Star-Ledger and NJ.com found serious failures at nearly every level of New Jersey’s patchwork system of medical examiner offices, the obscure agencies charged with one of the most fundamental tasks: figuring out how somebody died and why. The probe revealed families left to grieve without answers or closure, innocent people sent to jail and murders still unsolved.
  • To fulfill Trump’s vision on immigration, sheriffs are trampling over constitutional principles

    “To fulfill Trump’s vision on immigration, sheriffs are trampling over constitutional principles,” by Yvette Cabrera and published in ThinkProgress, examines the practice by sheriff’s departments across the country who are holding people in jail past their release date at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] using a technique that legal experts say raises serious questions about potential constitutional rights violations.
  • NJ Advance Media: Death & Dysfunction

    An 18-month NJ Advance Media investigation for The Star-Ledger and NJ.com found serious failures at nearly every level of New Jersey’s patchwork system of medical examiner offices, the obscure agencies charged with one of the most fundamental tasks: figuring out how somebody died and why. The probe revealed families left to grieve without answers or closure, innocent people sent to jail and murders still unsolved.
  • WNYC: New Jersery Jail Deaths

    This three-part radio series exposed New Jersey jails as among the deadliest in the nation, with no consistent method of accountability.
  • The Virginian-Pilot: Jailed in Crisis

    In a first-of-it’s-kind investigation, the Virginian-Pilot tracked down more than 400 cases across the country in which people with mental illness died in jails, documenting the scope of a tragedy that’s been unfolding for decades: too many people are being jailed instead of treated and many are dying in horrific ways and under preventable circumstances. The series goes on to detail how so many people ended up in jails because of a lack of mental health services and how some municipalities are finding ways to get them into treatment. The investigation prompted long-delayed action by the U.S. Justice Department to address the conditions for people with mental illness in the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • The Marshall Project: The Bail Bond Racket

    Many journalists have detailed the financial costs the bail bond industry imposes on poor or minority families. This article is the first to expose, in detail and to the penny, the financial benefits reaped by the bail bond industry, using the lightly regulated state of Mississippi as case in point.
  • The Marshall Project and USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee: Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary

    “Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary” revealed for the first time the devastating toll of Tennessee’s “safekeeper” law that puts people in solitary confinement who are mentally ill, pregnant or juveniles despite not being convicted of any crime — and sparked prompt changes to the state’s 150-year-old law.
  • FOX 5 Atlanta $2 Tests: Bad Arrests

    "Test kits don't lie." That's what we heard on dash cam video as another cop led another innocent Georgian to jail based on the false positive results of a drug field test. In fact, some test kits do lie, and sometimes with terrible consequences. Our investigation provided a first-time look at the big picture and continues to change the way law enforcement trusts these tests.