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 "mental illness" ...

  • The Virginian-Pilot: Jailed in Crisis

    In a first-of-it’s-kind investigation, the Virginian-Pilot tracked down more than 400 cases across the country in which people with mental illness died in jails, documenting the scope of a tragedy that’s been unfolding for decades: too many people are being jailed instead of treated and many are dying in horrific ways and under preventable circumstances. The series goes on to detail how so many people ended up in jails because of a lack of mental health services and how some municipalities are finding ways to get them into treatment. The investigation prompted long-delayed action by the U.S. Justice Department to address the conditions for people with mental illness in the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • The Marshall Project and USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee: Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary

    “Too Sick for Jail — But Not for Solitary” revealed for the first time the devastating toll of Tennessee’s “safekeeper” law that puts people in solitary confinement who are mentally ill, pregnant or juveniles despite not being convicted of any crime — and sparked prompt changes to the state’s 150-year-old law.
  • Role of Obama-era school discipline policies in Parkland massacre

    Most news media neglected a huge part of the Parkland school massacre. They did so by focusing largely on the roles played by gun laws and mental illness in Nikolas Cruz’s rampage. Paul Sperry went against the grain, in a series of reports for RealClearInvestigations that exposed a central factor in the horror: an Obama-era push that made school discipline more lenient across the country because of concerns that minority students, especially African-Americans, were being disciplined at much higher rates than other Americans. Sperry was the first to report, and to comprehensively detail, this broad and ultimately misguided effort to end the “school to prison pipeline.”
  • RMPBS "Insight with John Ferrugia" - "Imminent Danger"

    This project examines the issue of killings by mentally ill persons with access to guns. The story is told through the eyes of a mother whose mentally ill son murdered a sheriff’s deputy and wounded four others, and of the Sheriff whose deputy died. Both agree the confrontation could have been avoided if only state law allowed earlier intervention when a mentally ill person with access to guns is spinning out of control. Both did everything possible to head off the crisis, but had no legal tools to prevent it. The project also includes an exclusive interview with the parents of Aurora Theater killer James Holmes who explain they simply did not recognize the warning signs that their son was mentally ill and capable of homicide. They hold themselves responsible for their son’s mass murder.
  • ProPublica and Frontline: The Right To Fail

    As part of a landmark 2014 settlement, hundreds of people with severe mental illness were moved from troubled group homes and into their own “supported housing” apartments. The idea was that, even if they had spent most of their lives in institutions, dependent on others for food, shelter and a medication regimen, a robust safety net of service providers would help them navigate independence. While many reporters have exposed problems at institutions, ProPublica’s Joaquin Sapien and Frontline’s Tom Jennings took an unprecedented look at what has been heralded as the solution — independent housing. They learned that though many are thriving, the sudden shift was sometimes perilous, especially for the most fragile residents.
  • Kaiser Health News: Unlocked and Loaded: Families Confront Guns and Dementia

    In the U.S., where gun violence kills 96 people each day, there has been vigorous debate about how to stop the carnage, including ways to prevent people with mental illness from acquiring and owning firearms. But an unacknowledged and potentially far bigger problem is what to do about the vast cache of firearms in the homes of aging Americans with dementia. Our four-month investigation, produced in partnership with PBS Newshour, shed new light on an aspect of guns and public health that no one talks about, even though it may affect millions of Americans.
  • BLAME: Lost at Home

    BLAME: Lost at Home is an investigative series that unravels the case of a man who was missing for more than a year before he was finally found in his own living room.
  • Student threatened professor more than a year before killing him

    This USC Annenberg Media special investigation uncovered that despite receiving a written warning that a student intended to kill his professor, USC administrators allowed him back on campus to work with the man he threatened and would go on to stab to death on campus. This story revealed that USC did not have a system in place to adequately track threats to campus safety and make sure students with serious mental illness were well enough to be in school.
  • Solitary: Way Down in the Hole

    This four-part series exposed, for the first time, Minnesota’s heavy use of solitary confinement. By building a database and through prisoner interviews, we found more than 1,600 examples of inmates spending six months or longer in isolation over the past 10 years, and 437 instances of prisoners serving one year or longer. We documented more than 24,000 cases of inmates spending longer than 15 days in solitary—the time frame the United Nations defines as human torture. The series also showed how inmates come to prison with pre-existing mental illnesses and end up in isolation only to deteriorate mentally. The final installment told of the difficult path for inmates once they leave isolation. In more than 700 cases in the past six years alone, offenders left prison directly from solitary confinement.
  • A Cry for Help

    The trend was unmistakable. Minnesotans who were suicidal or otherwise having a mental health crisis were dying in confrontations with police. The Star Tribune decided to go beyond the anecdotes and develop the first comprehensive database of individuals killed after encounters with police in Minnesota. An exhaustive analysis of death certificate data, news accounts, police reports and other records revealed a powerful statistic: 45 percent of those who died in forceful encounters with police were in crisis or had a history of mental illness. The number was even more stark for 2015: nine of 13 killed fell into that category. The Star Tribune multimedia project “A Cry for Help” showed the collision of a broken mental health system with law enforcement, the responders of last resort. While questions of police conduct and use of force have revolved around race, one advocacy group estimated that mentally ill people are 16 times more likely to die in a police encounter than others. Our team faced the challenge of how to tell this story in a fresh and engaging way. They did it by obtaining extraordinary access to individuals: A cop who had killed two people, each of whom threatened him amid their mental breakdowns. The mother of a young mentally ill man killed by police who now advocates for better training. A man who tried to commit suicide by cop whose survival demonstrates how these situations don’t have to end in tragedy. These narratives were enhanced by hard-fought access to dozens of police case files that included powerful police video footage of a St. Paul standoff in 2015. The project also quantified, for the first time, the stories of every person who died in an encounter with police since 2000, and that database is now continually updated on the Star Tribune website.