Criminal Justice

Series

Defenseless

Investigating the Only State Without Public Defenders

Unchecked Power

The Extraordinary Power of Alabama Sheriffs

Lawless

Sexual Violence in Alaska

Locked Down

An Investigation of Mississippi’s Prisons

Overcorrection

Crisis in California Jails

Blood Will Tell

Investigating a Forensic Science

Accused in Elkhart

Justice in an Indiana County

A Sick System

Repeat Attacks After Pleading Insanity

Stuck Kids

Illinois Children Languish in Psychiatric Hospitals

Police Accountability in Chicago

Monitoring the Chicago Police Department

Ignoring Innocence

The Wrongfully Convicted Forced Into Plea Deals

Busted

Examining Chemical Field Tests

Nuisance Abatement

The NYPD’s Aggressive Enforcement of a Little-known Law

Unbelievable

The Cost of Not Believing Rape Victims

Out of Order

When Prosecutors Cross the Line

Post Mortem

Death Investigation in America

Law & Disorder

After Katrina, New Orleans Police Under Scrutiny

Stories

A Deputy Prosecutor Was Fired for Speaking Out Against Jail Time for People Who Fall Behind on Rent

Arkansas prosecutor Josh Drake called the state’s criminal eviction statute “cruel” and “unconstitutional.” Criminal charges against tenants falling behind on rent have continued, even as the pandemic has worsened.

Maine Governor Won’t Fund Reforms for Public Defense Agency Without Accountability

The state’s defense agency for the poor lacks the oversight structures and staffing to provide high-quality representation, a report found. The governor says more money won’t fix accountability problems.

Following Our Investigation, the Director of Maine’s Public Defense Agency Resigns

Amid mounting criticism of his management of attorneys, finances and the quality of legal services for Maine’s poor, John Pelletier stepped down as executive director of the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services. His last day will be Dec. 11.

New York Court Officials to Review Cases Handled by Judge With Alzheimer’s

The review will involve only cases the judge, ShawnDya Simpson of State Supreme Court, dealt with while on medical leave.

Cleveland Hospitals’ Private Police “Border Patrol” Comes Under Scrutiny

Local elected officials and the NAACP are calling for tougher supervision of private police forces, including one run by the Cleveland Clinic, after ProPublica found that these officers disproportionately arrest Black people.

Maine Hires Lawyers With Criminal Records to Defend Poor Residents. The Governor Wants Reform.

Gov. Janet Mills publicly called for a bipartisan effort to reform Maine’s defense system for poor people accused of crimes in response to an investigation by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica.

He’d Waited Decades to Argue His Innocence. She Was a Judge Who Believed in Second Chances. Nobody Knew She Suffered from Alzheimer’s.

Nelson Cruz’s family was so sure Judge ShawnDya Simpson would free him, they brought a change of clothes to his hearing. Then everything took an unexpected turn. Can justice ever be sorted out?

She Was Afraid of Her Lawyer. Then the Text Messages Started.

Leah Kerwin started receiving daily texts and videos explicitly requesting oral sex or intercourse. They came from her court-appointed attorney, who had already been suspended for other misconduct.

Maine Hires Lawyers With Criminal Records to Defend Its Poorest Residents

Maine is the only state in the country with no public defender system. Instead, legal services for the poor are left to private attorneys, who face disproportionately high amounts of discipline, and an office that doesn’t supervise them.

The Obama Justice Department Had a Plan to Hold Police Accountable for Abuses. The Trump DOJ Has Undermined It.

The Trump administration has not aggressively enforced existing agreements to monitor abusive law enforcement agencies, emboldening them to fight reforms.

The Startling Reach and Disparate Impact of Cleveland Clinic’s Private Police Force

Armed private police patrolling Cleveland’s medical zone and the city streets around it disproportionately charge and cite Black people, even though most hospital employees, patients and visitors are white.

How Criminal Cops Often Avoid Jail

New Jersey officers accused of violence, sexual misconduct and more have walked free in deals that dodge a tough sentencing law. Now lawmakers want to eliminate it.

What Happens to New Jersey Officers Charged With Official Misconduct? We Gathered the Cases to Find Out.

How we used court records, charging documents and news clips to show how often criminal cops avoided jail time with reduced sentences.

Her Stepfather Admitted to Sexually Abusing Her. That Wasn’t Enough to Keep Her Safe.

More than 30 years after telling a teacher that her stepfather was molesting her, Sherri Stewart is running out of time to understand why he remained free, and why she was sent back to endure more harm.

Over a Dozen Black and Latino Men Accused a Cop of Humiliating, Invasive Strip Searches. The NYPD Kept Promoting Him.

The men said Assistant Chief Christopher McCormack touched them inappropriately during searches or ordered others to do so. Eighty-six NYPD leaders have at least one credible misconduct allegation on file. McCormack has the most.

As Trump Calls for Law and Order, Can Chicago’s Top Prosecutor Beat the Charge That She’s Soft on Crime?

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was elected on a promise of reform. In a year of unrest and fear, she’ll find out if voters really want it.

He Faced a Criminal Charge for Not Self-Isolating When He Had COVID-19 Symptoms. Prosecutors Just Dropped the Case.

In March, a southern Illinois man who was under isolation orders for showing COVID-19 symptoms entered a busy gas station. An employee recognized him from Facebook. Prosecutors charged him with reckless conduct. Now, the case has been dismissed.

The NYPD Is Withholding Evidence From Investigations Into Police Abuse

The NYPD has regularly failed to turn over key records and videos to police abuse investigators at New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. “This just seems like contempt,” said the now-retired judge who ordered the NYPD to use body cameras.

Illinois Has Promised to “Infuse Love” in Its Juvenile Justice System, but What Will Actually Change?

A state plan that focuses on moving incarcerated children from prison-like settings to “dorm-like” regional residential centers is being described as a sea change.

The Complaint Files NYPD Unions Don’t Want You to See

ProPublica partner THE CITY has exclusively obtained more than 250 civilian reports alleging police abuses, from bullying to brutality. Read details from some of the records law enforcement groups are waging a court battle to keep confidential.

Grace, Black Teen Jailed for Not Doing Her Online Coursework, Is Released

Grace’s story, first published by ProPublica Illinois, prompted outrage and debate across the country. Though a judge refused to set the girl free, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release from a juvenile detention facility in Detroit.

New York Grand Jury Indicts Two Former Leaders of Mexico’s Drug War for Cartel Connections

One official oversaw a unit that leaked information and triggered a massacre that was the subject of a ProPublica investigation. Though the indictment doesn’t link the men to the incident, it alleges corruption at Mexico’s highest levels.

Portland Protesters No Longer Being Banned From Attending Protests to Win Release From Jail

After a ProPublica report, federal prosecutors and defenders made a joint request to the court that the practice be stopped.

Prosecutors Say They Support Releasing Girl Who Was Detained for Not Doing Her Schoolwork

Although earlier this year prosecutors pushed for the detention of a Michigan high schooler during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have now repeatedly said they support sending her home to her mother.

What Has Happened to Police Filmed Hurting Protesters? So Far, Very Little.

We asked police departments about viral videos showing cops escalating violence against protesters. Most refused to name the officers or provide updates on their investigations.

We Are Tracking What Happens to Police After They Use Force on Protesters

These 68 videos show clear apparent instances of police officers escalating violence during protests. Most departments refused to share details about investigations and discipline or even officers’ names. Here’s what we learned about each case.

She Asked to Be Saved From Him. Now She’s Dead.

During the pandemic, domestic violence has killed more people than COVID-19 in rural Alaska. It’s also limited emergency services, and without shelters, many say these deaths are no surprise.

Your Questions About the New York City Police Complaint Data, Answered

We’ve tackled a few of the most common questions from the public and journalists, including what data we received and what we did and didn’t publish.

We’re Publishing Thousands of Police Discipline Records That New York Kept Secret for Decades

ProPublica obtained these police records from New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. NYPD unions are suing to halt the city from making the data public.

The NYPD Files: Search Thousands of Civilian Complaints Against New York City Police Officers

After New York state repealed a law that kept NYPD disciplinary records secret, ProPublica obtained data from the civilian board that investigates complaints about police behavior. Use this database to search thousands of allegations.

Judge Won’t Free Michigan Teenager Sent to Juvenile Detention After Not Doing Online Schoolwork

At a hearing Monday, Judge Mary Ellen Brennan denied a motion to release a 15-year-old from a juvenile facility. “I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” Brennan said. “You are blooming there, but there is more work to be done.”

Thousands Demand That Michigan #FreeGrace After the Teenager Was Incarcerated for Not Doing Her Schoolwork

After a ProPublica investigation, public officials are pushing for the release of a Black 15-year-old sent to juvenile detention after a judge ruled that not doing her online schoolwork violated her probation. A petition has thousands of signatures.

The NYPD Isn’t Giving Critical Bodycam Footage to Officials Investigating Alleged Abuse

New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board made 212 requests for body-worn camera footage in May. The NYPD sent only 33 responses, according to a memo obtained by ProPublica.

The Nation’s First Reparations Package to Survivors of Police Torture Included a Public Memorial. Survivors Are Still Waiting.

Five years ago, Chicago approved historic reparations for survivors of torture under former police Cmdr. Jon Burge. The city promised to create a memorial. It hasn’t.

Since We Reported on Flawed Roadside Drug Tests, Five More Convictions Have Been Overturned

Convictions against five people in Nevada were vacated after ProPublica revealed flaws with the drug tests administered by police. The exonerations come after five overturned drug convictions in Oregon.

For Decades, She Blamed Herself for the Abuse. Writing Her Story Was an Act of Survival. Publishing It Was an Act of Rebellion.

From early childhood, Tia Wakolee believed she was at fault for being repeatedly assaulted, then she began to chronicle her abuse on index cards arranged on her kitchen table and decided to share her truth.

I’ve Reported on How Chicago’s Ticketing System Has Hurt Black Residents. Now, the Conversation About Reform Is Changing.

The killing of George Floyd by police has sparked a reexamination of other systems in this country that are also weighted against Black people. Ticketing is one of them.

Has the NYPD Stopped a Teen You Know? Are You a Young Person With a Story to Share? We’d Like to Hear From You.

If you are a young person or know a young person who has encountered the police, we’d like to hear your story.

Her Addiction Landed Her in a Prison Segregation Wing. The Man She Says Abused Her Lives Free.

Ricki Dahlin turned to a life of crime and drug addiction after being sexually abused as a child. “We’re broken. We’re trying to fix ourselves.”

“Alguien tiene que ayudarme”

Phillip García estaba en crisis psiquiátrica. En la cárcel y en el hospital, los guardias respondieron con fuerza y mantuvieron atado al interno de 51 años durante casi 20 horas, hasta que murió. Advertencia: material con imágenes explícitas.

The Prison Was Built to Hold 1,500 Inmates. It Had Over 2,000 Coronavirus Cases.

Prison overcrowding has been quietly tolerated for decades. But the pandemic is forcing a reckoning.

Her Attacker Was Stopped in the Act and Arrested, but This Assault Was Only the Beginning of Her Trauma

Everything Mary Savage did in the hours after the attack was dissected on the witness stand, an experience so upsetting she vomited. But years later, she finds comfort knowing her testimony led to his conviction.

“Somebody’s Gotta Help Me”

Phillip Garcia was in psychiatric crisis. In jail and in the hospital, guards responded with force and restrained the 51-year-old inmate for almost 20 hours, until he died. Warning: graphic video content.

“They Were the Authority and I Didn’t Argue With Authority”

In an era before rape kits, Sue Royston decided to fight for justice even though the police doubted her, the prosecution discouraged her, and those around her dismissed her story.

The Teacher Who Returned to the Small Village Where She was Abused is Not Staying Silent

“I’m not going anywhere.” Marie Sakar tried to treat her trauma with alcohol until she learned that silence only serves to protect those who hurt her. Now, she’s back, sober and teaching in her hometown.

Trapped at Sea, Alone With Her Assailant, He Told Her “You’re Mine for the Week”

Cathleen was raped five hours into a multi-day fishing trip, where she and the captain who assaulted her were the only ones on board. She begged to be taken back to shore, but he said no, they had work to do.

Unheard

Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation. Yet it is a secret so steeped into everyday life that discussing it disrupts the norm. These women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now choose to speak about what happened.

Bill Barr Promised to Release Prisoners Threatened by Coronavirus — Even as the Feds Secretly Made It Harder for Them to Get Out

Celebrity prisoners like former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort have been granted home detention, but a secret Bureau of Prisons policy has kept all but 1.8% of federal inmates behind bars, where the virus rages.

An Elementary School Repeatedly Dismissed Allegations Against Its Principal. Then, an FBI Agent Pretended to Be a 13-Year-Old Girl.

The principal for one of Alaska’s largest rural elementary schools, in a region with some of the highest sex crime rates in the country and a state with a history of failing to protect students, was allowed to remain on the job until the FBI got involved.

COVID-19 Cases at One Texas Immigration Detention Center Soared in a Matter of Days. Now, Town Leaders Want Answers.

Coronavirus infections continue to rise at migrant detention facilities in towns with limited resources. Some local governments want details on what’s being done to safeguard the public.

Early Data Shows Black People Are Being Disproportionally Arrested for Social Distancing Violations

Crowds of mostly white protesters have defied Ohio’s stay-at-home order without arrest, while in several of the state’s biggest jurisdictions, police departments have primarily arrested black people for violating the order.

Walmart Hid That It Was Under Criminal Investigation for Its Opioid Sales, Lawyers Say

States and counties suing the giant retailer over its drug sales accused it in court of failing to hand over huge quantities of documents — including about the criminal case — whose existence was revealed in a recent ProPublica investigation.

33 Years After Dubious Evidence Helped Convict Him, Joe Bryan Has Been Released on Parole

His murder conviction rested largely on bloodstain-pattern analysis, a technique still in use throughout the criminal justice system, despite concerns about its reliability.

An Employee at an Illinois School We Reported On Has Been Charged With Battering a 7-Year-Old Boy

A ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation found that schools throughout the state misused seclusion and restraint tactics against Illinois children. The criminal case is the second in the last year of an employee charged with mistreating a child.

He Was Ordered to Self-Isolate. He Didn’t. Now He’s Facing Criminal Charges.

A man with coronavirus symptoms walked into a busy gas station store in southeastern Illinois. Prosecutors there charged him with reckless conduct, saying the man “showed a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.”

Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.

Even as company pharmacists protested, Walmart kept filling suspicious prescriptions, stoking the country’s opioid epidemic. A Republican U.S. Attorney in Texas thought the evidence was damning. Trump’s political appointees? Not so much.

Convicted Based on Lies

These 10 men went to prison after prosecutors relied on the dubious accounts of jailhouse informants. Years later, each of them was exonerated.

A Key FBI Photo Analysis Method Has Serious Flaws, Study Says

After ProPublica’s reporting last year, scientists at UC Berkeley tested one of the FBI Lab’s photo analysis techniques, identifying bluejeans by the pattern on their seams, and found flaws that challenge the method’s reliability.

California Takes a First Step Toward Improving Its Failing County Jails

After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, a state oversight agency is proposing tougher scrutiny and consequences for dangerous conditions in California’s county jails.

Utah Representative Proposes Bill to Stop Payday Lenders From Taking Bail Money from Borrowers

Debtors prisons were banned by Congress in 1833, but a ProPublica article that revealed the sweeping powers of high-interest lenders in Utah caught the attention of one legislator. Now, he’s trying to do something about it.

A Liar’s Testimony Convinced a Jury to Convict a Man of Murder. Will Florida Execute Him Anyway?

A federal judge says key testimony used to convict James Dailey of murder was likely false. Dailey’s co-defendant has asserted — again — that Dailey had no involvement in the crime. So far, that hasn’t made a difference in the courts.

Justice Dept. Says It Will Investigate Deadly Conditions at Four Mississippi Prisons

The agency’s Civil Rights Division decided to act after a letter from prison reformers citing stories by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica.

We’ve Gotten a Lot of Questions About Our Database of Credibly Accused Priests. Here Are the Answers.

Our database compiles lists of thousands of priests deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and misconduct. Dozens of readers wrote in with questions and suggestions.

Dating Apps Can Be Dangerous. Congress Is Investigating.

Prompted by press reports, including a recent article by Columbia Journalism Investigations and ProPublica, a House subcommittee announced that it would examine the use of dating apps by minors and the prevalence of sex offenders on such sites.

Sexual Abuse Reports From Illinois’ Catholic Dioceses Are Still Missing A Lot of Data

ProPublica’s “Credibly Accused” database lists names and info of abusers currently or formerly in the ranks of U.S. Catholic dioceses. Here’s a rundown on Illinois.

How These Jail Officials Profit From Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates

Many cash-strapped Kentucky jails prop up their budgets by selling e-cigarettes to inmates, making more than $1.3 million in 2018. Some jailers, or their friends and family, are making money while jails overlook the health concerns of vaping products.

Sex Offenders Were Becoming Cops. After Our Stories, Alaska’s Governor Wants That To End.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed law comes after Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found that dozens of rural Alaskan police officers had been hired despite criminal convictions.

Alaska’s Public Safety Officer Program Is Failing. Can It Be Saved?

A big part of Alaska’s law enforcement crisis is a program that recruits residents of remote villages and trains them to work as police. Now, a group of state legislators is proposing nine ideas to rescue the program.

How to Navigate California County Jails: A Guide for Inmates and Their Loved Ones

ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee have been reporting on conditions in California county jails. We’ve heard from more than 100 people about their experiences inside and want to share what they know.

California Governor’s Budget Makes Stronger Jail Oversight a Priority

After an investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica, Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted a budget that would give more authority to the board that oversees jails.

We Found Villages That Hired Criminals as Cops. Now Officials Want It To Change.

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found small Alaska cities have employed police whose criminal records should have prevented them from being hired. Now, the state board is working to ensure they meet basic hiring standards.

Alaska’s Law Enforcement Crisis Is a Public Emergency. Here’s How Experts Want to Fix It.

More than a third of Alaska communities have no local police of any kind. Criminals have been hired as cops in some remote villages. A federal emergency has been declared and millions of dollars are promised, but here’s what else experts recommend.

A New Study Prompted by Our Reporting Confirms Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department Lacks Accountability

Elkhart community members viewed police officers as “cowboys” who participated in “rough treatment of civilians,” contributing to what the study called a “trust deficit.”

We Investigated Magistrates. Now, Lawmakers Want to Overhaul the System.

State lawmakers in South Carolina are proposing changes to how lower-court judges are selected after a Post and Courier-ProPublica investigation. The probe found a system that places connections over qualifications.

These Homes for Mentally Ill Adults Have Been Notoriously Mismanaged. Now, One Is a Gruesome Crime Scene.

Oceanview Manor Home for Adults, a psychiatric group home at the center of a yearslong legal battle over the rights of people with mental illness, is now the scene of a criminal investigation involving the death of a resident and the arrest of another.

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.

He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death.

Paul Skalnik has a decadeslong criminal record and may be one of the most prolific jailhouse informants in U.S. history. The state of Florida is planning to execute a man based largely on his word.

30 Years of Jailhouse Snitch Scandals

More than 140 people have been exonerated in murder cases involving jailhouse informant testimony since the U.S. Supreme Court signed off on its constitutionality in 1966. Yet informant testimony is still allowed nationwide, and the limited reforms that exist have yet to prove effective.

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.

Alaska’s Uneven Rural Law Enforcement System Often Leaves Remote Villages With No Cops

A tiny Alaskan village got a police officer. He’s never had to make an arrest. Meanwhile, larger communities with more crime have often been left behind as the state’s two-tiered policing crisis gets worse.

Mississippi Takes Steps to End Damning Delays in Evaluating Criminal Defendants

Those accused of crimes in Mississippi spent years in jail awaiting the most basic kind of psychiatric evaluations.

These Sheriffs Release Sick Inmates to Avoid Paying Their Hospital Bills

Inmates suffering heart attacks, on the verge of diabetic comas and brutalized in jail beatings have been released so sheriffs wouldn’t have to pay for their medical care. Some were rearrested once they had recovered.

She Leapt From a Moving Car to Escape Her Rapist. Then, She Waited 18 Years for an Arrest.

Anna Sattler’s rape kit sat untested since 2001 as Alaska’s backlog got worse. Now, an ex-Iditarod musher faces charges, and she’s speaking publicly about the attack for the first time.

Netflix Series Based on Our Work Explores Costs of Not Believing Rape Victims

The series, “Unbelievable,” draws from our award-winning reporting with The Marshall Project and “This American Life.”

Some of the Country’s Worst Prisons Have Escaped Justice Department Action

Prisons in Alabama are so bad, the Department of Justice said they violate Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. We found prisons in Mississippi that may be even worse.

Inside The Prison Where Inmates Set Each Other On Fire and Gangs Have More Power Than Guards

At South Mississippi Correctional Institution, inmates have been on perpetual lockdown for seven months and gangs enforce rules. With frequent beatings, burnings and escapes, the prison has become a violent tinderbox.

A Year After an Inmate Was Choked to Death in Jail, a Murder Charge but Few Details

Lorenzo Herrera, 19, was found dead in a Fresno County Jail cell in March 2018. A man has been charged, but detectives say they’re still trying to determine if there are additional suspects.

The FBI Told Congress Domestic Terror Investigations Led to 90 Recent Arrests. It Wouldn’t Show Us Records of Even One.

Four days after asking for information on the FBI’s claims of 90 domestic terrorism arrests, we are still waiting. And, frankly, it got kind of weird.

We Found Photos of Ole Miss Students Posing With Guns in Front of a Shot-Up Emmett Till Memorial. Now They Face a Possible Civil Rights Investigation.

Three students were suspended from their fraternity house, Kappa Alpha, after we shared an Instagram photo one of the men posted that was taken in front of a sign commemorating the murder of the 14-year-old black youth in 1955.

Cops in One Village Have Been Convicted of 70 Crimes. Here’s What They Had to Say About It.

The seven officers in Stebbins, Alaska, explain their criminal records and what it’s like to serve as a police officer there.

The Questionable Conviction, and Re-Conviction, of Ricky Joyner

Juries convicted Ricky Joyner twice. Once in 1994 and again in 1998, after he won his first appeal. Prosecutors called the case cut and dried. But we looked through transcripts, reports, video and more. Should Joyner’s conviction stand?

The Village Where Every Cop Has Been Convicted of Domestic Violence

Dozens of convicted criminals have been hired as cops in Alaska communities. Often, they are the only applicants. In Stebbins, every cop has a criminal record, including the chief.

Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

Sixty-five jail construction projects, totaling $2.1 billion, were awarded funds since realignment. Only 11 have opened. Meanwhile, dangerous jails have become more deadly.

Digital Jail: How Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants Into Debt

Ankle bracelets are promoted as a humane alternative to jail. But private companies charge defendants hundreds of dollars a month to wear the surveillance devices. If people can’t pay, they may end up behind bars.

“Dire” Law Enforcement Crisis in Rural Alaska Prompts Emergency Declaration, New Federal Funding

The announcement comes a month after U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr visited the state to hear concerns about a lack of police in rural communities. The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica reported that one in three Alaska communities lacks local law enforcement.

The Sheriff Lost Reelection. Then the Spending Spree Began.

Sheriff Blake Turman says that after he beat then-Sheriff Dennis Meeks at the polls, he found that thousands of dollars worth of military equipment was missing and public funds were wasted. Meeks’ response: “He’s full of shit.”

There Has Been an Explosion of Homicides in California’s County Jails. Here’s Why.

Some California county jails saw their rate of inmate-on-inmate homicides triple or quadruple, and statewide the number rose 46% after 2011 prison reforms shifted responsibility from state prisons to county lockups. As sheriffs and jail staffs strain, some inmate crimes go undetected for hours.

Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection

Alabama sheriffs who lost reelection in 2018 personally pocketed funds and deleted public records, an investigation by AL.com and ProPublica found. Holes were drilled through government-issued smartphones and leftover rice was poured down the drain, among other things. It’s a longstanding tradition that sheriffs aren’t typically held accountable for.

How Nine Sheriffs Who Lost Reelection Made Life Harder for Their Successors

Of 10 sheriffs who lost their reelection campaigns last year in Alabama, nine face accusations of impeding their successors. Here’s a rundown of those accusations and how (or if) they responded to them.

“No More Silence”: Her Kidnapping, Sexual Assault and Murder Stunned a Town, and Started a Movement

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica will hold an event in Kotzebue, site of 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr’s killing, to explore sexual violence in Alaska.

A Lawsuit Over Ferguson’s “Debtors Prison” Drags On

The federal class-action claims thousands of people in Missouri were jailed because they couldn’t pay off fines. Four years after the suit was filed, the plaintiffs are still waiting, and wondering if the deck is stacked against them.

“Enough Is Enough”: Native Leaders Ask William Barr to Help Fix Alaska’s Law Enforcement Crisis

At a gathering in Anchorage, the U.S. attorney general said he would work to provide greater security in rural areas.

Cruel and Unusual: A Guide to California’s Broken Prisons and the Fight to Fix Them

A condensed timeline featuring Pumping Iron, “realignment” and other attempts at prison reform.

Lawless

At least one in three Alaska villages has no local law enforcement. Sexual abuse runs rampant, public safety resources are scarce, and Governor Mike Dunleavy wants to cut the budget.

Why We’re Investigating Sexual Violence in Alaska

Something has changed in the way Alaskans talk about sexual assault. A yearlong partnership between the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica aims to highlight the stories of violence and survival in the final frontier.

How We Tallied Alaska Villages Without Local Law Enforcement

We asked more than 500 organizations representing 195 communities if they employ a police officer of any kind. Of that number, 70 communities reported having no police at some point in 2019.

Have You Experienced Sexual Violence in Alaska? We’d Like To Hear Your Story.

The Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica have teamed up to listen. Do you work with victims, in government or law enforcement? We need to hear from you, too.

Trump Hailed This State’s Prison Reforms as a National Model — but the Numbers Reflect a Grim Reality

When Mississippi lawmakers passed prison reform legislation in 2014, they pledged to devote some of the savings to drug rehabilitation, reentry programs and prison alternatives. That hasn’t happened.

Years Ago, I Investigated Mississippi’s Prisons. Here’s Why I’m Doing It Again.

What began as a call from an inmate turned into a yearslong effort to chronicle corruption, gangs, violence and maltreatment inside Mississippi prisons.

What’s Really Going On Inside Mississippi’s Prisons? We Need Your Help to Find Out.

ProPublica and the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting are spending this year reporting on what’s happening behind the walls of the state’s prisons.

Last Rights: Making Sense of the Supreme Court’s Series of Death Penalty Rulings

Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, give us some context and insight into the recent dust-ups over the death penalty and the case of Domineque Ray, who was executed on Feb. 7.

California Tried to Fix Its Prisons. Now County Jails Are More Deadly.

In a 48-hour stretch during January 2018, three men were booked into the Fresno County Jail. One was beaten into a coma. Two died soon afterward. Their cases kicked off a nightmarish year in a local jail where problems trace back to California’s sweeping 2011 prison downsizing and criminal justice reforms.

Chicago’s Inspector General Finds the City’s Gang Database Is Riddled With Errors

The database has been accessed more than 1 million times, including some 32,000 times by immigration officials. Police said they will fix the database but not erase it.

Criminal Justice Legislation Will Force New York Prosecutors to Disclose More Evidence, Sooner

Following years of scandal over wrongful convictions, the state legislature has passed reform measures that could help stop them.

Joe Bryan Denied Parole for Seventh Time

Though a forensic expert who testified against Bryan has admitted his conclusions were wrong, Bryan will remain behind bars.

Two Indiana Police Officers Face Federal Charges in Videotaped Beating of Handcuffed Man

The charges come after ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune exposed details of the abuse and published the video. “The alleged actions by these individuals went against everything in the oath they took to serve and protect,” the FBI said.

Head of Rhode Island’s 911 System Is Removed From Post

The move came after The Public’s Radio sought verification of Gregory M. Scungio’s Red Cross certifications, and state police learned that he had been training call takers in CPR without proper certification.

Cook County Takes Steps to Erase Its Regional Gang Database

Commissioners are set to pass a law banning the database and requiring it to be destroyed.

What Do You Know About County Jails in California? Talk to Us.

ProPublica and The Sacramento Bee are spending the year reporting on resources, safety and crowding in California county jails.

Chicago Public Schools Monitored Social Media for Signs of Violence, Gang Membership

School officials say the monitoring was about keeping students safe, not punishing them. But critics say it expanded the role of police in schools and increased surveillance of children.

Domineque Ray Is Executed in Alabama After Supreme Court Bid Fails

Ray, convicted of three murders 20 years ago, had lost a variety of appeals alleging prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate counsel. On Thursday night, his request to have an imam in the execution chamber was also denied.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain

Many welcomed the announcement that the sheriff took the database offline. But the office has resisted calls to destroy it immediately or publicly explain other details of its plans.

Detective in Elkhart, Indiana, Wrongful Conviction Case Dies in Apparent Suicide

Steve Rezutko, the former Elkhart police detective, was central in an investigation that led to a high-profile pair of wrongful convictions.

In Elkhart, Indiana, Another Conviction Gets Tossed. The Star Witness Was Hypnotized, a Fact the Prosecutor Concealed.

The prosecutor who failed to disclose the use of hypnosis is now a judge. He knew the hypnotist from the Kiwanis Club.

Domineque Ray Is Set to Be Executed Thursday. Did He Ever Really Have a Chance at Being Spared?

The U.S. Supreme Court has said juries must consider a defendant’s life, education and mental health before voting for execution. Lawyers for an Alabama man say that never happened in 1999, and now it’s too late.

Long-Lost Records Surface in Wrongful Conviction Case, Detailing Lead Detective’s Fondling of Informants

The reasons for the Elkhart, Indiana, detective’s forced resignation have been a mystery for years. This month, the records were finally turned over. An attorney wants the city punished for the delay.

Austin Police Department Orders Deeper Investigation After Audit Finds It Misclassified Cleared Rape Cases

The APD will ask a third party to examine how it handles rape investigations. The police chief also announced he had ordered other changes, including the addition of another supervisor to the sex crimes unit and new policies for clearing crimes.

The FBI Says Its Photo Analysis Is Scientific Evidence. Scientists Disagree.

The bureau’s image unit has linked defendants to crime photographs for decades using unproven techniques and baseless statistics. Studies have begun to raise doubts about the unit’s methods.

Audit Finds Austin, Texas, Improperly Cleared Rapes

A review prompted by an investigation by Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica shows that the Police Department misclassified cases in a way that made its rate of solving them appear higher.

6 Young Men, Given Adult Sentences for “Minor” Infractions, Are Freed in Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner commuted the sentences of the men, whose cases were documented in a ProPublica Illinois investigation last year, less than three weeks before leaving office.

When the Calendar Requires the Release of Insanity Defendants in Oregon, Harm Often Follows

Those freed without ongoing supervision and care because of a state time limit commit crimes at twice the rate as a smaller group freed because the Psychiatric Security Review Board specifically concluded they would not be a danger if on their own, according to a Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica analysis.

Bloodstain Analysis Convinced a Jury She Stabbed Her 10-Year-Old Son. Now, Even Freedom Can’t Give Her Back Her Life.

Julie Rea was convicted of killing her son largely on the testimony of bloodstain-pattern analysts. She was later acquitted and exonerated, joining a growing community of Americans wrongly convicted with bad science.

The Laquan McDonald Shooting Keeps Exposing Critical Flaws in Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act

After Chicago officials denied records requests from the police shooting, the attorney general’s office did little to push the city to make documents public.

Austin Closes A High Number Of Its Rape Cases Without Arrests. The State’s Investigating Why.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the issue was “worthy of immediate attention” in the wake of an investigation by Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica.

Joe Bryan in His Own Words: On Being Convicted With Expert Testimony That Turned Out to Be Wrong

In a moving interview, Bryan, who has spent 31 years in a Texas prison for the 1985 murder of his wife, talks about his life behind bars and trying keep hope alive.

How a Dubious Forensic Science Spread Like a Virus

From his basement in upstate New York, Herbert MacDonell launched modern bloodstain-pattern analysis, persuading judge after judge of its reliability. Then he trained hundreds of others. But what if they’re getting it wrong?

Elkhart’s Acting Police Chief Has Previously Been Demoted, Reprimanded and Suspended

Ed Windbigler was forced out as police chief this week. The interim head, Todd Thayer, was demoted in 2013 for saying an officer who opened fire could now check that off his “bucket list,” according to disciplinary records.

Stung by Controversies, Police Chief Resigns in Elkhart, Indiana

Ed Windbigler’s resignation as chief follows a videotaped beating of a handcuffed man and reports by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica that he had promoted officers with disciplinary histories.

An Elkhart Police Officer Was Convicted of Drunken Driving — Then the Chief Promoted Him

Last year, Chief Ed Windbigler said he doubted the case against the officer would stick. After the officer pleaded guilty, the chief didn’t discipline him. This year, Windbigler promoted him to detective without telling an oversight board.

Judge in Joe Bryan Case Rejects Defense Pleas for New Trial

Texas’ highest criminal court will now decide the fate of Bryan, a former high school principal who has been in prison for 31 years for the murder of his wife, Mickey. A forensic expert who testified against him has admitted his conclusions in the case were wrong.

Elkhart City Council Members Support Investigation of Police Department

If the Department of Justice won’t investigate, council members say they would pay for an outside investigation into misconduct by Elkhart police.

With Trump’s Justice Department Retreating, Who Will Now Police the Police?

The Department of Justice is moving away from taking on abuses by local law enforcement. This is what that means for Elkhart, Indiana.

“I Don’t Want to Shoot You, Brother”

A shocking story of police and lethal force. Just not the one you might expect.

Elkhart, Indiana, Police Chief Suspended for 30 Days Following Release of Beating Video

The mayor disciplined the chief after revelations by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica about the city’s troubled police force. But the mayor made no public announcement, leaving people, including the chair of the city’s civilian oversight commission, to wonder where the chief was.

“They Should Have Been Fired on the Spot”: In Elkhart, Indiana, the Talk Is All About the Police and a Video

At a town hall meeting, the Police Department’s second in command defended his officers and criticized reporters. “What’s all this digging?” he said, while accusing the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica of an “ambush” for calling officers to ask for their comment.

Oregon Officials Call for Changes of Laws on Criminally Insane

The state’s attorney general said the rate of recidivism among defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity is “too high,” and key lawmakers said they plan to rewrite the state’s laws after an analysis by the Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica.

Indiana State Police Turn Down Elkhart Mayor’s Request for Broad Review of City’s Police Department

Stories by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica revealed Elkhart police officers’ misconduct and disciplinary histories. The state police were asked to investigate, but say that’s the job of the U.S. Justice Department.

Get Out of Jail for a Price: The First Investigation From Our Illinois Reporting Project

Over the next few months, we’ll publish more stories from across the state — including ones that look at topics involving the environment and worker safety.

Who Runs This Police Department? Lots of Officers Who’ve Been Reprimanded or Even Suspended.

The Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department has 34 supervisors. Most of them have been disciplined for carelessness, incompetence or misconduct — including the chief.

Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

Of the 34 supervisors in the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department, 28 have been disciplined. Fifteen have been suspended. Seven have been involved in fatal shootings. Three have been convicted of criminal charges.

What Oregon Officials Knew and When They Knew It

Members of the Psychiatric Security Review Board have said it is not their duty to track what happens to people they set free. But in private, board members and staff pushed to study recidivism and found high rates among people the board frees.

Oregon Board Says Those Found Criminally Insane Rarely Commit New Crimes. The Numbers Say Otherwise.

The Psychiatric Security Review Board questioned how many people it discharged from state custody returned to crime. But it did not share its findings or change policies even as former clients killed or raped.

Diversion Programs Say They Offer a Path Away From Court, but Critics Say the Tolls Are Hefty

The programs raise legal and ethical questions, including whether they create an uneven playing field for defendants and financial incentives for prosecutors to dispose of cases in ways they might not otherwise.

Indiana Police Officer Before Punching Handcuffed Man: “If You Spit Again, We’re Gonna Party”

On Friday, the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department released a 30-second clip of two officers beating a man in custody. Now we have the full 30 minutes, ending with the man leaving the police station on a stretcher.

How a Police Beating in Elkhart, Indiana Unfolded

Reporting by ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune revealed a history of corruption and police abuse in Elkhart. This video, obtained through a public records request, shows police officers punching and kicking a handcuffed man.

Murder Charge Can’t Deter Sharpton’s Brother From Voting Rights Crusade

As more states adopt laws that could restrict turnout, Kenneth Glasgow and his allies are pushing to extend the vote to millions of ex-felons. Will the flimsily supported charge against him undermine this movement on the verge of its greatest success?

Two Indiana Police Officers to be Charged After Video Shows Them Beating Handcuffed Man

“A little overboard,” is how the police chief had previously described the officers’ actions. The decision to charge them came only after ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network demanded to see the video.

Texas Panel Faults Lab Chemist in Bryan Case for “Overstated Findings” and Inadequate DNA Analysis

The Texas Forensic Science Commission called out a second prosecution expert for her work on the murder case of the former high school principal convicted of the 1985 murder of his wife.

The Child Abuse Contrarian

Michael Holick, a renowned scientist turned expert witness, relies on his own controversial theory to help alleged abusers avoid prison and regain custody of the babies they were accused of harming.

Los Desaparecidos

La policía de Long Island dio como fugitivos de sus hogares a adolescentes inmigrantes perdidos. Una de las madres presintió que algo andaba mal y buscó las respuestas en los campos de matanza de la MS-13.

He Said He Faked Mental Illness to Avoid Prison. Now, Accused in 2 Killings, He’s Sent Back to a State Hospital.

A judge ruled that Anthony Montwheeler was not competent to stand trial for an assault and two murders that prosecutors say he committed just weeks after his release from the Oregon State Hospital.

The Disappeared

Police on Long Island wrote off missing immigrant teens as runaways. One mother knew better — and searched MS-13’s killing fields for answers.

Blood-Spatter Expert in Joe Bryan Case Says “My Conclusions Were Wrong”

The expert whose testimony was key to Bryan’s conviction for his wife’s 1985 murder says he now believes that some of his techniques were incorrect. His admission comes as a judge considers whether Bryan, whose case was the subject of a ProPublica and New York Times Magazine investigation, should get a new trial.

How the Trump Administration Went Easy on Small-Town Police Abuses

The Obama Justice Department thought Ville Platte, Louisiana — where officers jail witnesses to crimes — could become a model of how to erase policing abuses that plague small towns across the nation. Jeff Sessions decided not to bother.

Joe Bryan’s Attorneys Ask For New Trial, Say Murder Conviction Built On Faulty Forensics

During a three-day hearing in Texas, a succession of witnesses criticized the bloodstain-pattern analysis and exposed other flaws in the prosecution of a former high school principal convicted of the 1985 murder of his wife.

Bill Proposes Greater Accountability for New York Prosecutors Who Break the Law

With his signature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo could create an independent state commission to investigate and sanction prosecutors who withhold evidence or commit other abuses.

When Public Records Aren’t Public

In Elkhart, Indiana, even easy records can be hard to get. Trial exhibits? No. Appellate briefs? No. Police reports in the court file? No. And don’t even ask about moving those boxes.

Standing by Their Convictions

The DNA didn’t match. The witnesses weren’t sure. But the prosecution persisted.

Influential Texas Commission Says Blood-Spatter Testimony in Joe Bryan’s Murder Case Was “Not Accurate or Scientifically Supported”

The findings of Texas Forensic Science Commission will make it harder to deny a new trial to Bryan, a high school principal convicted of murdering his wife. The case was the subject of an investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine.

Like Chicago Police, Cook County and Illinois Officials Track Thousands of People in Gang Databases

Gang files at other agencies include missing information and dead people.

Federal Judge to Consider Independent Monitor for Illinois Child Welfare Agency

State officials have failed to deal with children stuck in psychiatric hospitals.

Oregon Court System Shields Evaluation of Alleged Killer

Last year, Oregon officials tried unsuccessfully to keep secret records on a man found “guilty except for insanity” in a 1996 kidnapping. Now, the state court system is refusing to release a key record in his new murder case even though it's not “legally confidential.”

Illinois Lawmakers Demand Explanation on Children Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals

A call for state welfare officials to appear at a public hearing follows our ProPublica Illinois investigation.

The Administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel Keeps Monitoring Protesters

Chicago police and City Hall tracked anti-Trump demonstrators — and now state legislators want to let them use drones.

Where Is “Home” for Children in State Custody?

Many of us have distinct memories of our own childhood homes. That’s not the case for hundreds of children trapped in Illinois psychiatric hospitals.

Every Day, a Child is Held Beyond Medical Necessity in Illinois

Hundreds of children and teens in state care are held each year in psychiatric hospitals for weeks or months at a time — even though they have been cleared to leave.

Hundreds of Illinois Children Languish in Psychiatric Hospitals After They’re Cleared For Release

The Department of Children and Family Services struggles to find appropriate homes for young people with mental illness.

Blood Will Tell, Part II

Joe Bryan has spent the past three decades in prison for the murder of his wife, a crime he claims he didn’t commit. His conviction rested largely on “bloodstain-pattern analysis” — a technique still in use throughout the criminal-justice system, despite concerns about its reliability.

How an Unproven Forensic Science Spread Through the Criminal Justice System

Bloodstain-pattern analysis has been accepted as reliable evidence by appellate courts in one state after another with little or no examination of its scientific accuracy.

Blood Will Tell, Part I

The murder of Mickey Bryan, a quiet fourth-grade teacher, stunned her small Texas town. Then her husband, a beloved high school principal, was charged with killing her. Did he do it, or had there been a terrible mistake?

Group to Send Lawyers to Help Incarcerated Teens

Controversy at youth facility in southern Illinois sparks a nonprofit to act.

How an Oregon Weekly Forced Release of Key Records in Murder Cases

Oregon sued a tiny newspaper to keep records secret relating to the state’s release of defendants found “guilty except for insanity.” The paper prevailed and is using the records to explore a series of troubling cases.

Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

Charles Longjaw was being held at the Oregon State Hospital after being found insane. Oregon changed its interpretation of the law and he was released, raising questions about how states manage violent offenders with mental illness.

Oregon Board Explains Why It Repeatedly Released Killer From Psychiatric Hospital

In response to our questions, the Psychiatric Security Review Board explains why danger alone is not enough to keep violent people with mental illness under state jurisdiction.

A Betrayal

The teenager told police all about his gang, MS-13. In return, he was slated for deportation and marked for death.

A Chicago Cop’s Facebook Posts and a City’s Struggle With Racism

In 50 years, only one officer has been fired for abuse involving racial or ethnically biased language.

Chicago Cop Under Investigation Again Over Social Media Posts

Officer John Catanzara describes himself as a “give no f#$%s, say it like it is man.” His Facebook and Instagram posts have prompted investigations.

Baltimore Judge Tosses Alford Plea, Rebuking Prosecutor

Demetrius Smith has long maintained he pleaded guilty to a shooting he did not commit. Now, over the prosecutor's objections, his conviction has been set aside.

Innocent But Still Guilty

Inmates are sometimes offered freedom in exchange for pleading guilty to a crime they probably didn’t commit. It’s a bad deal.

In New York, Crime Falls Along With Police Stops

Police have radically cut back their use of stop-and-frisk policies. To the surprise of some, crime didn’t spike, but tumbled yet again.

Baltimore Prosecutor Admits He Was Wrong to Block Request to Alter Alford Plea

A ProPublica story last month pointed out that the prosecutor had given up his right to veto changes to the unusual plea deal. Demetrius Smith, who was wrongfully convicted of murder when he agreed to the deal, will get a new hearing.

Taking Care to Get a Mississippi Scandal Right

People in the state took a chance that I would resist stereotypes and report an important truth about the crisis in mental health resources.

“What Are We Going to Do About Tyler?”

Tyler Haire was locked up at 16. A Mississippi judge ordered that he undergo a mental exam. What happened next is a statewide scandal.

New York City Moves to Create Accountability for Algorithms

Spurred by a ProPublica report, the New York City Council passed the country’s first bill to address algorithmic discrimination in city government.

Chicago Police Win Big When Appealing Discipline

Analysis shows hundreds of misconduct findings overturned.

Chicago Police Department Grievances

A Chicago Tribune-ProPublica Illinois investigation tracked more than 300 police disciplinary cases appealed through the department’s labor office. We analyzed changes between original discipline orders and what officers actually served.

Illinois Legislators Pledge to Deal with ‘Pipeline to Prison’ at Juvenile Correctional Facility

Sending teenage inmates to adult prisons for minor incidents undermines state’s reform efforts, witnesses say.

A Dubious Arrest, a Compromised Prosecutor, a Tainted Plea: How One Murder Case Exposes a Broken System

One innocent man’s odyssey through the justice system shows the cascading, and enduring, effects of a bad conviction.

For Some Victims, Reporting a Rape Can Bring Doubt, Abuse — and Even Prosecution

False reporting is a crime, one that some police would like to make a priority. But history shows the police can’t always tell the truth from a lie.

Police Oversight Ordinance Promised Transparency But Doesn’t Fully Deliver

A revamped agency takes a step backward in informing the public.

Returning to the Scene of a Trauma

At 16, Brandon Whitehead and his father were held at gunpoint by an off-duty Chicago police officer. The cop got suspended for five days, which he served 11 years later. Brandon, now 27, goes back to the scene.

Nevada Pardons Wrongfully Convicted Man Featured in Our Story

The pardon clears Fred Steese’s name after state prosecutors had pushed him into an arcane plea deal even though a judge had declared he was innocent. “I’m not a felon anymore,” Steese said.

Chicago Police Skirt Punishment as Disciplinary System Fails Yet Again

Even after reporters identified lost cases, only some officers served suspensions.

Have You Ever Filed a Complaint Against a Chicago Police Officer? Tell Us What Happened.

There may be information about your case you’re unaware of.

Despite Mayor’s Pledge, Hundreds of Chicago Cops Still in Desk Jobs

Emanuel still hasn’t delivered on promise to put more civilians in desk jobs and get additional officers on the street.

Concern Grows Over Youths at Juvenile Correctional Facility Being Sent to Adult Prison

Juvenile justice officials, advocates and a federal judge expressed worry over legal representation for youths.

Time Spent in Solitary Confinement Drops Dramatically in Illinois Youth Facilities

The recognition that solitary confinement can harm young offenders led to a move away from harsh punishment at juvenile correctional centers.

For Some Youths, ‘Minor’ Offenses Lead to Major Sentences in Adult Prison

Cases threaten to undermine Illinois’ efforts at juvenile justice reform.

Why (Almost) No One Is Charged With Gun Trafficking in Illinois

It’s how the laws are written, and trafficking is hard to prove.

Putting Crime Scene DNA Analysis on Trial

We reported on a dispute over the methods used by New York City’s crime lab to analyze complex DNA samples. Now similar concerns are prompting a national study. In this Q&A, a leading expert explains why labs may be making mistakes — and what can be done about it.

How Chicago Gets Its Guns

It’s not big trafficking rings. Mostly, it’s through little guys like John Thomas.

Vegas Judge Featured in ProPublica Story Reprimanded for Ethics Violations

Judge William Kephart, who was repeatedly criticized for misconduct as a prosecutor and put at least one innocent person in prison, has been censured for a lapse on the bench.

ProPublica Seeks Source Code for New York City’s Disputed DNA Software

We’re asking a federal court for the code behind a technique that critics say may have put innocent people in prison.

What Does an Innocent Man Have to Do to Go Free? Plead Guilty.

A case in Baltimore — in which two men were convicted of the same murder and cleared by DNA 20 years later — shows how far prosecutors will go to preserve a conviction.

The Freedom Plea: How Prosecutors Deny Exonerations by Dangling the Prison Keys

New evidence pointed to innocence in the cases of these four Baltimore men, yet prosecutors would only let them go if they agreed to controversial plea deals.

Thousands of Criminal Cases in New York Relied on Disputed DNA Testing Techniques

New York City’s crime lab has been a pioneer nationally in analyzing especially difficult DNA samples. But the recent disclosure of the source code for its proprietary software is raising new questions about accuracy.

Misdemeanor Defendants Facing Jail Time Not Told They Have a Right to Counsel, Bar Association Finds

American Bar Association monitors report misdemeanor defendants in Nashville often aren’t told they are entitled to a lawyer even when their charges mean they could end up behind bars.

On Rikers Island, a Move Toward Reform Causes Trouble

Inmates in a new secure housing unit risk harm while shackled to desks, according to a New York City Board of Corrections report.

How (and Why) We’re Collecting Cook County Jail Data

ProPublica Illinois is restarting a collaborative data collection project to better understand what happens to inmates at Cook County Jail.

Houston Police End Use of Drug Tests That Helped Produce Wrongful Convictions

The cheap kits were often the sole evidence used to win guilty pleas, against the innocent as well the as guilty.

Victims in Thousands of Potential Hate Crimes Never Notify Police

A new federal survey on hate crimes offers cause for both alarm and confusion.

Former Texas Nurse Convicted of Baby-Killing Told Authorities ‘I Was Heinous.’

In a letter from prison, Genene Jones appeared to acknowledge her guilt and asked Texas nursing regulators to forgive her for a crime she committed when she was not “of sound mind.”

The Last Shot

Amid a surging opiate crisis, the maker of the anti-addiction drug Vivitrol skirted the usual sales channels. It found a captive market for its once-a-month injection in the criminal justice system.

Despite Exposés and Embarrassments, Hundreds of Judges Preside in New York Without Law Degrees

A review of the work of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct chronicles the costs of a tradition resistant to change.

Nevada Passes Modest Measures to Curb Prosecutorial Misconduct

Lobbying by prosecutors and police guts law that would have punished prosecutors who didn’t share evidence with defense. Debate cited case of Fred Steese, subject of ProPublica and Vanity Fair story.

Kafka in Vegas

Fred Steese served more than 20 years in prison for the murder of a Vegas showman even though evidence in the prosecution’s files proved he didn’t do it. But when the truth came to light, he was offered a confounding deal known as an Alford plea. If he took it he could go free, but he’d remain a convicted killer.

Vegas Judge Had Long History of Prosecutorial Misconduct

The behavior of Bill Kephart, who led the murder prosecution of Fred Steese, was repeatedly lambasted by the Supreme Court of Nevada. But that didn’t stop him from becoming a judge. This month he was charged with misconduct in that position too.

Millions for New York Man Wrongly Convicted of Murder

The award of $4.5 million by New York state is just part of a claim by a man who spent more than two decades in prison based on a dishonest prosecution.

Another Startling Verdict for Forensic Science

A recent study on the reliability of hair analysis is only latest to shake public confidence.

Busted

Tens of thousands of people every year are sent to jail based on the results of a $2 roadside drug test. Widespread evidence shows that these tests routinely produce false positives. Why are police departments and prosecutors still using them?

System Failures

Houston cases shed light on a disturbing possibility: that wrongful convictions are most often not isolated acts of misconduct by the authorities but systemic breakdowns — among judges and prosecutors, defense lawyers and crime labs.

Machine Bias

There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.

Listen to Our Collaboration with ‘This American Life’

“An Anatomy of Doubt,” a young woman’s story of rape and redemption, debuts Friday.

A Brutal Crime, Often Terribly Investigated

ProPublica and The Marshall Project’s “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” underscored the need for improving rape investigations. Here’s how.

Yes, Black America Fears the Police. Here’s Why.

Shots were fired in Long Island, but there was no rush to call 911. It made perfect sense to ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones.

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