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

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Search results for "smoking" ...

  • Tobacco Debt: How Cash From Big Tobacco Went From Boon to Burden

    A landmark 1998 settlement with Big Tobacco awarded states billions of dollars a year to offset the health-care costs of smoking. But what seemed like a boon quickly became a debt trap for many state and local governments when they used it to promise investors billions in the future in exchange for cash advances.
  • 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.
  • The Five Percent Rule

    The investigation uncovers the U.S. military's failure to comply with its own tobacco pricing restriction, selling millions of dollars of tobacco products for well beneath legal limits.
  • Disposable Heroes

    The original story focused on Iraqi war veteran James Elliott, who suffered a psychotic breakdown and was stun gunned by police while taking the drug Chantix in a smoking cessation study by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The series examined the use of military veterans as guinea pigs in drug experiments conducted by the federal government and exposed numerous ethical lapses, including a system-wide failure to notify participants when the Food and Drug Administration issues new drug warnings.
  • Chantix: Miracle cure for dangerous drug?

    An investigation into the anti-smoking drug Chantix/Varenicline found many adverse reactions in the FDA's public database. The reactions included aggression, violent behavior and thoughts of suicide. "A follow report detailed how drugs are sent to market with minimal testing."
  • Smoking ban fears proves unfounded

    After the ban of smoking in bars and restaurants, the ban in the Twin Cities does not appear to be the economic disaster many predicted.
  • "Teen Tobacco Law"

    KOMU-TV investigates Missouri's Youth Access Law, which aims to stop smoking among minors. It makes it illegal for teens to purchase and posses tobacco products. The consequences of teens getting caught is a court summons and fine. This threat has not stopped teens from smoking. This past year budget cuts have left Mid-Missouri with three agents in the Division of Tobacco and Alcohol Control. Minimal staff has contributed to less teens being caught for smoking. The investigation found that it's difficult for a full staff to catch teens from smoking, and now that there's fewer staff, the law is for the most part, ineffective.
  • Town Tries to Police the Parents

    "Like many other communities, St. Clair Shores, Mich., responded to increasing teen crime by passing a 'parental-responsibility' ordinance. But the first prosecution is raising troubling questions." The Times delves into the case of a father charged with abdicating his parental responsibility. His teenage son was smoking dope and drinking in the house, stealing from neighbors and even the local church. However, a closer look revealed a mild-mannered father who had lost control of his son. Once the son, who at 6' tall towered over his father, began using drugs, he gradually became more violent to the point where he essentially took control of the household. His parents lived in fear of their son, and the father even had to call the police after one incident where the boy gouged his eyes and threatened him with a golf club. Given such circumstances, the article examines whether the father truly deserved punishment by the city for being an irresponsible parent, and looks at the larger issue of whether such 'parental ordinances' can really work at all.
  • Courting Trouble, Courting Hope: A family's journey through the judicial system

    13-year-old Christian Keith was a handful. Skipping school, running away from home, smoking marijuana and other behavior made him more than enough to handle, even for a mother who loved him early. In this story, Times Union reporter Kate Gurnett followed Christian and his mother, Lorraine Keith-Morales, during a seven-month odyssey through the justice system. The paper gained unlimited access to the family's court preceding.
  • Up in smoke

    WTHR examines the effectiveness of the state-imposed tobacco ban at Indiana prisons. The story finds that "tobacco moves freely through the system and the frequent but unsuccessful attempts to stop it rack massive expenses." The cost of punishing inmates for tobacco violations with the loss of early release credit, conservatively estimated at an extra 375 years of prison time, is at least $6, the program reports.