Local Reporting Network Archive

All entries from our Local Reporting Network.

Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?

The creator of Scientific Content Analysis, or SCAN, says the tool can identify deception. Law enforcement has used his method for decades, even though there’s no reliable science behind it. Even the CIA and FBI have bought in.

Chemical Companies Are Building Their Plants Overseas and Shipping Them Back In. They Still Get State Tax Breaks.

Louisiana attracts chemical companies with one of the country’s most generous tax exemptions. The idea is to bring jobs to the state. Instead, construction often happens offsite, and automation has cut down on the jobs that remain.

These Cops are Supposed to Protect Rural Villages. They’re in the Suburbs Instead.

Many remote Alaska Native villages have no law enforcement at all. But state troopers can be found in wealthier, and mainly non-Native, suburbs, where growing communities have resisted paying for their own police department.

This Judge Is Married to the Sheriff. Ethics Complaints Have Piled Up.

Magistrate Angel Underwood was suspended after conflicts involving her husband, the sheriff. But she wasn’t required to disclose that before her reappointment this year. She’s still on the bench, and complaints say her conflicts have continued.

EMS Crews Brought Patients to the Hospital With Misplaced Breathing Tubes. None of Them Survived.

In the world of emergency medicine, an unrecognized esophageal intubation is a “never event,” meaning that it shouldn’t happen under any circumstances. In Rhode Island, it’s occurred 12 times in the last three years. In each case, the patient died.

A Misplaced Breathing Tube Can Be Fatal. New Studies Suggest They Should Be Used Less Often.

EMS agencies perform intubations to help restore breathing to cardiac arrest patients. New studies show patients fare as well or better with less-invasive alternatives.

He Defended the Confederate Flag and Insulted Immigrants. Now He’s a Judge.

Former state Rep. Mike Pitts made anti-immigrant and racially charged remarks seemingly at odds with South Carolina’s judicial code. He sailed through an appointment process as a magistrate nominee with little scrutiny and no debate.

This Doctors Group Is Owned by a Private Equity Firm and Repeatedly Sued the Poor Until We Called Them

After the Blackstone Group acquired one of the nation’s largest physician staffing firms in 2017, low-income patients faced far more aggressive debt collection lawsuits. They only stopped after ProPublica and MLK50 asked about it.

These Judges Can Have Less Training Than Barbers but Still Decide Thousands of Cases Each Year

South Carolina’s system for magistrate judges is unlike any state in the country, creating fertile ground for incompetence and corruption. Most aren’t lawyers, but their decisions can have lasting effects on the vulnerable people who come before them.

Health Officials in “Cancer Alley” Will Study if Living Near a Controversial Chemical Plant Causes Cancer

Louisiana officials will knock on every door within 2.5 kilometers of the only plant in the country that emits chloroprene, which the EPA calls a likely carcinogen. An analysis said the airborne cancer risk near the plant was the highest in the nation.

Separated by Design: Why Affordable Housing Is Built in Areas With High Crime, Few Jobs and Struggling Schools

Connecticut’s approach to affordable housing creates pockets of poverty, where low-income people are locked out of opportunities that are just around the corner.

New Jersey Political Boss Defends Tax Breaks, Denounces “King George” Critics

George E. Norcross III, facing a panel of friendly New Jersey lawmakers and a room of boisterous demonstrators, said the tax breaks had laid the groundwork for a “rapid and stunning renaissance” in Camden.

What Could Happen if a $9.4 Billion Chemical Plant Comes to “Cancer Alley”

In St. James Parish, Louisiana, a Taiwanese industrial giant seems likely to be granted a permit to build a billion-dollar plastics plant. Its proposed emissions could triple levels of cancer-causing chemicals in one of the most toxic areas of the U.S.

New EPA Rules Aim to Reduce Toxic Emissions. But Many “Cancer Alley” Chemical Plants Won’t Have to Change.

The proposed rules reducing emissions across the country would not apply to many of Louisiana’s chemical plants. These facilities release tons of dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals like ethylene oxide, and more plants are on the way.

We Investigated the Crisis in California’s Jails. Now, the Governor Calls for More Oversight.

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants the state to have more power to scrutinize local jails. This comes after a McClatchy and ProPublica investigation found the agency meant to oversee the jails is toothless and that some jail conditions are inhumane.

“They Want to Be Treated Like Men and Women, Not as a Subhuman”

A corrections overhaul sent thousands of inmates to local jails, where some advocates say conditions can be “subhuman.” A panel at Stanford Law School examined potential solutions.

NPR Illinois Journalists Can’t Report Freely on University of Illinois Sexual Misconduct. These Organizations Want that to Change.

The ACLU of Illinois, press freedom groups and victims’ rights advocates urged the university to alter a policy that requires reporters to tell campus officials about sources’ sexual harassment complaints.

A Jail Increased Extreme Isolation to Stop Suicides. More People Killed Themselves.

The Kern County, CA Sheriff’s Office places hundreds of people into suicide watch each year. They’re held for days or weeks in rooms without mattresses and sometimes toilets. The state can’t stop it.

Even Louisiana’s Wealthier Neighborhoods Can’t Escape Toxic Air in “Cancer Alley”

Industrial development usually targets poor communities, but Ascension Parish is one of the richest, and most toxic, places in Louisiana. Some residents say the financial benefits of living there outweigh the risks.

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