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 "private" ...

  • 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
  • Of Natural Causes: Death in Illinois Prisons

    When WBEZ reported in 2011 and 2012 on prison conditions in Illinois we were struck by the number of complaints regarding the lack of healthcare in the Illinois Department of Corrections. They reported some of the worst cases (and there were many) like Christopher Clingingsmith who told the prison doctor that his jaw was broken but medical records show he recieved no care for 8 weeks. By that point his jaw had to be rebroken to fix it. The healthcare in Illinois prisons is provided by a private company that has a 1.4 billion dollar contract with the state but that company doesn’t seem to do a very good job providing the care that taxpayers have paid for. Given the horror stories we heard they wondered how many people were dying inside because of a lack of care. The reporting analyzed the cases of inmates who died while serving sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
  • Loaded with Lead: How gun ranges poison workers and shooters

    Roberto Sanchez suffered silently while racked with chronic pain. James Maddox quietly endured failing health. Manny Romo privately bore guilt for inadvertently exposing his children to an unseen peril. For decades, the stories of victims like these had gone untold until The Seattle Times’ “Loaded with Lead” series exposed a hidden danger pervading one of America’s most popular and growing pastimes. This series, the first of its kind, found that America’s gun ranges put workers, shooters and their family members at risk from an insidious poison: lead. “Loaded with Lead” laid bare how outdated industry safety standards, reckless shooting-range owners and lax regulation have contributed to hundreds of lead-poisoning cases nationwide. In an unprecedented analysis, our reporters discovered that regulators have only inspected 201 of America’s 6,000 commercial gun ranges, about 3 percent, in the past decade.
  • Smart ALEC Oregon

    A team of KBOO reporters carried out a six-month investigation researching, cataloging and analyzing Oregon legislation which has been influenced, or created by, the American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC). ALEC states that their organization is "the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators...which works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level." KBOO volunteer investigative reporters reviewed hundreds of Oregon state legislative activities, and interviewed dozens of state legislators and lobbyists, to uncover ALEC influences.
  • First Lady Inc.

    “First Lady, Inc.” examined the dual roles of Cylvia Hayes, the fiancée of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, as she parlayed her proximity to the governor into private consulting deals for herself.
  • The Data Brokers

    The report chronicles the so-called data broker industry, made up of private companies that digitally collect and sell personal information about Americans, largely in secret. We found that while most Americans became concerned about government snooping and the collection of raw data after the Edward Snowden leaks, few had heard about the data broker industry which mines and commodifies sensitive personal information.
  • USAT: Unfit for Flight

    "Unfit for Flight" reveals the hidden dangers of private aviation by exposing how manufacturers let defective parts and designs remain in place for decades, federal investigators fail to find defects because they do cursory crash investigations, and federal regulators let manufacturers build brand-new aircraft under safety standards that are decades old. The series exposes manufacturer negligence that has led companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements, many of them confidential and reported for the first time.
  • Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

    The U.S. government is the nation's single largest employer of undocumented immigrants. This was the startling discovery of a 7-month investigation into a little-known program that allows the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to employ these immigrants and pay them a $1 a day or less to perform most of the jobs running the 250 federal immigration detention centers around the country. This finding was even more striking considering the number of undocumented workers involved -- more than 60,000 per year -- and the amount of money the federal government saves and private prison companies make (at least $40 million annually) as a direct result of being allowed to pay these people so far below the minimum wage, or about 13 cents per hour.
  • Investigation of a Community Health Center

    With an infusion of $11 billion, the 1,300 community health centers across the U.S. have been hailed as the backbone of the Affordable Care Act’s plan to leave no one without health care. That’s a lot of money to accomplish a lot of good. It’s also a lot of money to tempt those with larcenous intent. Two years ago, Alabama Media Group discovered that two community health centers -- Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health -- had paid more than $2 million for contracts to companies owned by the centers’ CEO. Now there are indictments and allegations of $14 million in federal funds being diverted to private hands.
  • Missteps and Secrets: Los Alamos Officials Downplayed Waste's Dangers

    A leak from a drum of Cold War-era nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., on Feb. 14, 2014, released radioactive contaminants that reached almost two dozen and the environment outside the ancient salt cavern turned nuclear waste dump. Documents obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican exposed truths deliberately hidden from regulators and waste dump personnel by Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the waste originated, and the private contractors that operate the lab.