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 "prisoners" ...

  • Not So Securus: Massive Hack of 70 Million Prisoner Phone Calls Indicates Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege

    The Intercept obtained a massive database of leaked phone records belonging to prison telecom giant Securus Technologies — accessed by an anonymous hacker and submitted to The Intercept via SecureDrop. By analyzing its contents, “Not So Securus” provided an unprecedented illustration of the sheer scale of phone surveillance of detainees within the criminal justice system, revealing how such monitoring has gone far beyond the stated goal of ensuring the security of prison facilities to compromise the privacy of inmates and their loved ones — and potentially violate the confidential communications guaranteed to prisoners and their lawyers.
  • 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.
  • Jailhouse Jeopardy

    In 2009, the Department of Justice unearthed piles of evidence of abuse, deaths and corruption at the Harris County jail – and then they’d gone away. But instead of improvements local officials had promised, the Houston Chronicle’s own wide-ranging probe – called Jailhouse Jeopardy – revealed the county jail – one of the nation’s largest – remained an extremely dangerous and violent place. The series documented dozens of preventable deaths, rampant abuse of prisoners by guards – including two guard-related homicides, unjust prosecutions launched by guards who’d abused inmates and tough judges who routinely locked up elderly and even dying defendants in one of Texas’ most extreme pretrial detention policies. The series featured compelling video testimonials of violent and tragic episodes, including a widow who watched her husband die in a jailhouse restraint video, parents who lost their son after he contracted the flu in jail, a man locked up for three years after being accused of a crime by a guard who'd broken his finger and many other untold stories.
  • Deaths in Detention

    This project was the first-ever analysis of 18 people who died in the custody of law enforcement agencies throughout Milwaukee County during the five-year period ending in 2012, not including suspects shot by police. At least 10 of them had medical or psychiatric conditions that were improperly monitored or left untreated by authorities. None of the 18 custody deaths resulted in criminal charges against an officer. Discipline was handed down in just two cases — both under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department — and the punishment of many of the officers was overturned. The Journal Sentinel analysis found that in the aftermath of in-custody deaths, pathologists, prosecutors and law enforcement rely on each others’ conclusions — even when those conclusions are flawed — ensuring no one is held accountable when prisoners die.
  • Cruel and Unusual?

    In a five-month investigation, “Cruel and Unusual?,” the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s Bill Lueders identified 40 alleged instances of physical or severe psychological abuse by guards at one state prison, Waupun Correctional Institution. All of the incidents allegedly involved prisoners in the so-called segregation unit. Two-thirds of them involved a single correctional officer.
  • Profiting from Prisoners: Time Is Money

    "Time Is Money" takes the audience inside prisons, vendors’ operations and families’ homes to reveal a growing structural inequity in society: As mass incarceration stretches corrections department budgets, prisons are cutting back on basic services like providing toilet paper, winter clothes and substance abuse counseling for inmates, forcing families to close the gap. They end up paying into a hidden pipeline of cash flowing directly from relatives’ pockets into a hidden, multi-billion dollar pipeline of cash -- facilitated by financial companies -- to the coffers of prisons and the vendors they employ.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Prisoners of Profit

    HuffPost Business reporter Chris Kirkham exposes the corruption at juvenile for-profit prisons, boot camps and detention centers. From condoning abuse of inmates to neglect to corruption, Kirkham uncovers firsthand stories from those on the inside.
  • Abuse in G4S' prison exposed in South Africa

    Global security firm G4S runs a prison for profit in Bloemfontein, South Africa. I work for the Wits Justice Project, a collective of investigative journalists who research the criminal justice system. I visited the prison for the first time in September 2012 and talked to some of the inmates who had written to us. Their tales were worrying; they complained about the ‘Ninjas’; the Emergency Security Team (EST), a group of about eight armed men who are called to emergency situations. They are supposed to use minimum force, but according to the prisoners, they went completely overboard. They would take prisoners to the single cell unit, strip them naked, pour water over them and electroshock them with the electronically charged shields they carry with them. Also, the inmates told me how they would be injected forcibly with anti-psychotic drugs, while some of them did not suffer from any mental illness. In addition, they spoke to me about very lengthy isolation, some were placed in isolation cells for up to three years, I spoke to approximately 70 inmates and 25 warders over a period of a year, but these three sources were most crucial: The general. One of the inmates, a general in one of the infamous prison gangs, supplied with me dossiers and names of inmates who had been electroshocked, forcibly injected or placed in isolation for unlawful periods (up to 3 years). The deep throat. A government official who had worked at the prison was very concerned and had written a report in 2009 listing 62 inmates who had been placed in isolation up to 3 years, some of whom had been denied life saving TB and HIV medication. he also compared the prison to Guantanamo bay and mentioned excessive electroshocking The freedom fighter. A warder and informal labour union leader was very helpful in providing an entry with other warders and he leaked interesting information. An anonymous source eventually provided the smoking gun: video and audio footage of a forced injection and audio of electro shocking. I wrote three main stories about the prison and chose to publish in South Africa as well as in the UK, as G4S is head quartered there. I wrote pieces for the South African Citypress and the Mail and Guardian, simultaneously running a story in the British Guardian. When I finally broke the big story on the electroshocks and the forced injections, I also worked closely with the BBC and the South African investigative tv programme Carte Blanche, I provided them access to the results of my year-long research and they produced tv items that were broadcast at the same time as my stories ran in the newspapers. This in turn led to a worldwide coverage of the issue.