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 "prison system" ...

  • Tech Behind Bars

    "Tech Behind Bars" is a deeply reported, multi-media three-part examination of the growing intersection of the corrections system and the technology industry. Part 1, "Inside the prison system’s illicit digital world," explores the growing problem of smartphone smuggling inside federal and state prisons, and reveals dozens of social media profiles of inmates currently serving time in several states, many of whom were using the internet illicitly from their cells. Part 2, "After years behind bars, can prisoners re-enter a digital society?", explores what happens to inmates after they're released from length prison stays, and are forced into a world and a job market that expects them to have familiarity with the tools of the digital age, and profiles Code 7370, a program at San Quentin State Prison that is equipping inmates with computer skills in preparation for their re-entry. Part 3, "Can technology and prisons get along?", is an examination of the growing number of attempts to integrate modern technology into correctional facilities, through the lens of the Napa County Jail, which is giving tablets to its inmates in attempt to keep them up to speed with the digital revolution.
  • Preying on Prisoners

    In “Preying on Prisoners,” The Marshall Project exposed how Texas, the state with the most instances of prison sex abuse, fails to penalize prison staffers who sexually abuse inmates. In a six-month investigation, Alysia Santo found that since 2000, the state prison system referred only 400 cases of suspected sexual assault by prison employees for prosecution, of which prosecutors refused to pursue almost half. Ultimately, 126 prison workers were convicted, but just nine were sentenced to jail time, and the rest were subject to fines and a few years probation, with the promise of a clean criminal record if the court’s conditions were met.
  • Cruel and Unusual: The Texas Prison Crisis

    A WFAA investigation found that pigs are treated better than inmates inside Texas' prison system, where inmates are dying painful and preventable deaths and guards are also sickened by the stifling heat inside un-air conditioned units, prompting calls by critics at the United Nations and elsewhere for reform. https://vimeo.com/wfaa/review/151846234/686ead36ea
  • Child Predators in the Military

    Over six months of reporting, including filing numerous federal Freedom of Information Act requests and appeals to unearth details of scores of cases, The Associated Press found that the largest category of criminals in the military prison system are in for sex crimes against children. It also found that harsh sentences announced publicly were substantially reduced under plea agreements that were not routinely disclosed, and that military proceedings are opaque compared with the degree of openness of civilian courts. The lack of transparency made accessing the records needed for this story a significant challenge. http://www.sfgate.com/news/item/AP-interactive-Military-child-sex-assaults-48405.php
  • See No Evil: A Miami Herald Investigation

    For more than two years, Brown has investigated corruption, brutality and the systemic, barbaric abuse of inmates in Florida’s prison system, the nation’s third largest. In 2015, Florida prison deaths were at an all-time high, and use of force against inmates had more than doubled in five years. Brown began to examine why and discovered a disturbing pattern of deliberate indifference and even blatant cover-ups among corrections officers, commanders and the agency’s top leaders who often looked the other way as inmates were beaten, starved and killed.
  • Doctors in Georgia

    The citizens of Georgia are largely dependent on the state's medical board to protect them from incompetent or unscrupulous. These stories revealed that the board has failed to carry out that mission - by licensing doctors that other states considered untouchable, leaving patients in the dark about key issues such as the true nature of disciplinary actions and funneling some of the worst physicians into the state prison system.
  • 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.
  • Sell Block: The empty promises of prison labor

    Our state’s glossy marketing brochures and polished YouTube videos told a story that everyone wanted to believe: Washington Correctional Industries, a for-profit arm of the state prison system, would employ inmates in its factories to make goods for government agencies while paying for itself. The program would teach prisoners new skills so that after release they’d more easily find jobs, thereby lowering crime. It was a wonderful success story, but, unfortunately, it was mostly untrue. Behind the nation’s fourth-largest inmate labor program, our reporters found a broken system that has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, charged exorbitant markups on goods that state agencies are required to buy, and taken jobs from private businesses that can’t compete with cheap prison labor. “Sell Block: The Empty Promises of Prison Labor” is the first investigative project about this growing industry
  • Always Open

    The report on the prison Viamão - shows the lack in the prison system of Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil. Recordings made by a prison guard last year , reveal that inmates leave prison and enter the house anytime you want . Blatant still shows the armed power of the criminal - that should be confined in the cells leaving only with legal authorization to work . They boast pistols, revolvers and submachine up.
  • 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.