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 "recidivism" ...

  • Frequent Flyers of Rikers Island

    In November of 2015, WNYC aired The Frequent Flyers of Rikers Island. It’s a story that puts a human face on recidivism and questions the effectiveness of a criminal justice system that jails low level offenders over and over without any deterrent effect.
  • Inmates making insiders wealthy

    Privately owned and operated work-release programs are a new fad in corrections. Work-release programs tend to reduce recidivism rates and inmates are able to save some money while in prison so they don’t re-enter the real world penniless. Privately run programs, according to proponents, are superior to those run by public entities, because private operators take a percentage of inmate wages and are thus incentivized to find the best possible jobs for inmates. However, as The Advocate’s stories have shown, the private companies that get this work tend to be politically connected, and they don’t have any real incentive to provide quality housing or food or to prevent escapes. They chronicled problems with escapes, drug use and even death at one outfit run by friends of the sheriff of St. Tammany Parish, a New Orleans suburb. That facility was shut down after our reporting (which the sheriff called “reckless”). As another direct result of their investigation, the state secretary of the Department of Corrections announced that in the future, work-release programs would only get contracts after undergoing a competitive process.
  • There’s not a list

    Under Colorado’s “lifetime” sentencing laws, sex offenders were supposed to remain in prison until they successfully completed a rigorous mental/behavioral health program. The intent was to fully rehabilitate them and prevent recidivism. Through months of research, 9Wants to Know also uncovered names of offenders who committed new sex crimes after release. Even after we provided those names to DOC, a prison official publicly claimed, “There’s not a list,” and the recidivism rate was zero. As a result of our investigation, DOC could no longer be in denial. The sex offender treatment program manager was replaced, and prison officials are changing the program rules and asking for more state funding.
  • Locking up the sick

    The Gazette found a direct correlation between cuts in Colorado's public mental health system and increased incarceration of mentally ill people. Prisons and jails are unequipped to treat their mentally ill inmates, who often commit crimes while incarcerated and serve time beyond their original sentences. The Gazette also found high recidivism rates among mentally ill ex-convicts.
  • Addicted to Drug Courts

    An insightful look at the Hennepin County Drug Court shows that it has not reduced the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses, nor has it reduced recidivism rates. According to the story, the state's largest drug court has actually increased the number of people prosecuted on drug charges by 50 percent. And most of those people are poor, inner city minorities.
  • Tough Love

    The News-Journal reports on abuse and neglect riddling the juvenile justice system in Volusia County, Fla. A teenager hangs himself in his cell, and the tragedy triggers an investigation to find what is behind the hundreds of abuse complaints and the soaring rates of delinquency and recidivism. The reporters find a system where more youths are committed for lesser offenses; guards make $7 per hour; training to ensure detainees' health and safety is neither required nor offered; and turnover among guards is encouraged rather than curbed.
  • On the road again

    WTHR -TV reports on problems with getting and keeping drunken drivers off the road. The main finding is that many convicted drunken drivers keep on driving on suspended licenses. The investigation exposes defendants driving "away from court just minutes after being sternly admonished not to by the judge." A computerized DUI case database shows that the problem is pervasive, and there is a pattern of drunken driving recidivism. The investigation also sheds light on "a surprising and little-known change in the law that eliminated mandatory jail time for convicted drunken drivers caught driving while suspended."
  • Kids In Prison

    A Miami Herald investigation on the effects of Florida's tough law addressing juvenile crime shows "a punishment system gone awry." The series examines how, rather than deterring juvenile crime, the state's policies seem to be encouraging it. "Instead of targeting violent criminals, the crackdown is falling hardest on nonviolent offenders - those convicted of burglary, theft and drug charges," the Miami Herald reports. The investigation is based on the analysis of databases of inmates, assaults against youth offenders in Florida's adult prisons, and recidivism records. The data shows that, after being released from prison, most young offenders become hardened criminals.
  • Making Criminals Pay

    The Washington Monthly examines the effectiveness of The Sheriff's Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) administered in New Jersey. The program allows offenders to serve their jail time on weekends, while keeping their jobs and maintain their families. At times when nationwide millions of convicted criminals are ignoring their punishment, SLAP enhances collection of fines from offenders, decreases the recidivism rate, and saves jail costs to the state, the story reveals. Some participants, however, have complained that it makes good use of "public shaming," and have felt embarrassed to work on county projects dressed in conspicuous orange jerseys.
  • Where The Bad Boys Are

    The Rhode Island Months reports on training schools for juvenile offenders. The schools attempt to put kids back on the right track with mandatory education, helping kids learn how to learn when they have blown off or been blown off by school. GED scores that are well above passing is what happens when "you get them away from all the bullshit in their lives and they can focus on education," one teacher says. The recidivism rate is still around 30 percent, though. Each kids cots taxpayers about $80,000 a year to house at the schools.