Stories

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

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Search results for "parole" ...

  • Burned: A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn't

    The book revisits the murder conviction of Jo Ann Parks, sentenced to life in prison without parole for allegedly murdering her three young children in 1989by setting fire to her home and trapping them inside. In re-investigating the case, the author found flawed forensic science, false and contradictory testimony, and strong evidence of cognitive bias throughout the case, including use of an unreliable informant who later recanted, and sworn expert testimony that the fire began because Parks supposedly constructed a crude “incendiary device” by deliberately overloading a sabotaged electrical extension cord. Testing later proved the cord did not and could not start a fire. Information in the book has since been added to Parks’ existing habeas corpus petition filed by the California Innocence Project, now being considered by the state Supreme Court. Additional findings suggests the problems with flawed forensic science and cognitive bias in general, and in arson investigation in particular, is widespread and has led to other wrongful convictions. Correcting the use of flawed forensic and expert testimony is hindered by the legal system’s reliance on precedent, which slows and sometimes prevents the correction of scientifically dubious ideas used to win convictions. Nascent attempts to study and change this tendency to prolong the use of flawed forensic science initiated by the Obama Administration have been shut down by the Trump Administration.
  • Ohio Parole System Problems

    Over the course of 18 months, three young women were killed in separate murders by violent ex-felons who were supposed to be closely monitored by Ohio’s Adult Parole Authority. They weren’t. Time and time again, WBNS-TV’s investigative unit, 10 Investigates, found lapses in judgment and failures by the state’s parole system to closely monitor these ex-felons. In one case, a Georgia judge’s order to place a GPS ankle monitor on a twice convicted rapist was ignored. The reason: Ohio’s Adult Parole Authority believed it would be too expensive. Six months later, the man was arrested for the rape and murder of a young woman. We also uncovered data showing part of the problem might be many of these parole officers are overwhelmed. State corrections records show there are 450 parole officers in Ohio tasked with monitoring 37,000 ex-prisoners who are under some type of post-release supervision. Given that workload, it’s hard for anyone to understand why these parole officers would be assigned to watch an empty parking lot. But that’s where we found some of them sitting every day, for nearly a month. Our reporting on this issue has already changed state law and led to the ire of some state lawmakers who are calling for additional changes.
  • Mexican Mafia Killer and the LAPD

    This series started off with a tip: Los Angeles police were bringing a high-profile criminal to a private business event in downtown L.A. That criminal turned out to be Rene "Boxer" Enriquez, a former shot-caller for the Mexican Mafia sentenced to life in prison for two killings. That the LAPD would use public resources to bring him to a private event was only the first surprise — we soon learned Enriquez had a cozy relationship with law enforcement officials and was set to be paroled. We spent weeks digging into his background, contacting the children of one of his victims, interviewing people who knew him, reading court records and transcripts outlining his crimes. The reporting by The Times ultimately prompted two investigations by the LAPD, including one into a high-profile deputy chief. The governor also decided to deny Enriquez parole and keep him behind bars.
  • Life Without Parole

    An investigation by The Marshall Project found that in the national search for solutions to mass incarceration, parole boards have emerged as part of the problem: secretive, unaccountable, and so politically cautious that in many states they parole only a fraction of those eligible, even those who pose little danger and whom a judge clearly intended for eventual release.
  • I will die in prison for a nonviolent crime

    Oklahoma's prisons are over capacity, yet more than 50 people are serving life without parole for drugs, the result of an antiquated and ineffective three-strikes law. These inmates are not drug kingpins but regular people who had a drug addiction that landed them behind bars. Three days after the story ran, the governor amended the law to allow more sentencing flexibility in these types of drug cases.
  • 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.
  • How Kids Get Caught in Chicago's Deadly Gun Trap

    Told through the perspective of a killer out on parole, this is the story of how gang members influence kids, teaching them to sell drugs and shoot guns to get money, power and respect. The story also reveals that if juveniles do get caught with guns in Chicago, they still rarely get punished. Even fewer get sent to juvenile detention. Gangbangers use that to their advantage to lure kids into violent lives of crime.
  • Collection of stories: College student's murder reveals broken parole system

    The kidnapping and brutal slaying of a college student in Little Rock led to the discovery that the suspect, an eight-time parole violator, had been released from jail just hours before the murder. That story and subsequent follow-ups and investigative pieces led to the abrupt retirement of the parole system's leader; three separate investigations, including one conducted by the Arkansas State Police; a series of legislative hearings; and numerous policy reforms.
  • 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.
  • Tracking Danger

    Two men murdered in a matter of days in seemingly unrelated incidents. A shootout in Texas with a Colorado parolee on the run. Call7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta breaking exclusive information in the days that followed that would broaden the size and scope of the investigation. Her 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 Marchetta uncovered committed both murders as parole officers ignored critical alerts. Marchetta holds officials accountable for the fatal oversights and presses for meaningful changes to better protect Coloradans.