Joaquin Sapien

Reporter

Photo of Joaquin Sapien

Joaquin Sapien was one of the first reporters hired at ProPublica in its first year of publishing in 2008. Since then, his journalism has explored a broad range of topics, including criminal justice, social services, and the environment. In 2019, he was a co-producer and correspondent for “Right to Fail,” a film for the PBS documentary series Frontline. The film was based on his 2018 examination of a flawed housing program for New Yorkers with mental illness, which appeared in the New York Times. The story immediately prompted a federal judge to order an independent investigation into the program. It won a Deadline Club Award and a Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability.

In 2015, Sapien wrote about care for troubled children, beginning with a story in the California Sunday Magazine on a group home that descended into chaos. His work helped an abused boy receive a $12 million jury award and led to the closure of another embattled home in Long Beach.

Past areas of focus include New York City Family Court, prosecutorial misconduct, traumatic brain injury, natural gas drilling, and contaminated drywall used to rebuild after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Sapien’s work has earned awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He was a four-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Before joining ProPublica, Sapien was a reporter at the Center for Public Integrity.

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Did Jury in Etan Patz Murder Case Receive Improper Information?

Lawyers for man convicted in case of notorious missing boy to seek hearing on report of jury contamination.

Dysfunction Disorder

NYC paid millions for flawed mental health reports. Family court judges relied on them routinely. Parents and children lived with the consequences.

Uncommon Contract Holds Promise for California Group Home’s Too Familiar Ills

Better wages and added money for schooling could stabilize staff and improve care at large San Francisco home for vulnerable children.

Call in Congress for Family Court Reform

The briefing will explore the need to better protect victims of domestic violence in custody cases.

Wrongfully Convicted Louisiana Man Asks Justice Department to Investigate New Orleans Prosecutors

Unsuccessful before the U.S. Supreme Court, a man who served 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit asks the Justice Department to hold prosecutors accountable.

For Many of Connecticut’s Disabled, Home Is Where the Harm Is

Again and again, the disabled turned up in emergency rooms only to have the injuries they’d suffered in the state’s group homes go uninvestigated.

Alerted to Danger, New York City Failed to Curb Harm at Group Homes

New York’s child welfare agency’s system for “heightened monitoring” of some troubled group homes did not ensure safety.

Foiled by FOIL: How One City Agency Has Dragged Out a Request for Public Records for Nearly a Year

After eight proposed delivery dates, the Administration for Children’s Services still has not provided public records we asked for almost a year ago.

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