The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories — both print and broadcast. These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need. Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center:
The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 23,250 investigative stories — both print and broadcast.
These stories are searchable online or by contacting the Resource Center directly (573-882-3364 or email@example.com) where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.
Browse or search the tipsheet section of our library below. Stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center:
Search results for "criminal history database" ...
Loose restrictions in state law and scant oversight by regulators have allowed people to hijack Oregon’s medical marijuana program for purposes voters never intended, The Oregonian’s investigation revealed. Most patients are using the drug to treat chronic pain rather than terminal illness, far more marijuana is grown than patients consume, and traffickers ship the excess out of state for profit. At the heart of the yearlong investigation was a wide range of public records. First there were written documents: court records and police reports on medical marijuana growers; disciplinary actions against doctors who admit patients to the state program; internal policy manuals; and correspondence between regulators and doctors. Then there were electronic data. Through months of negotiations, the paper persuaded state health authorities to release a database of participants in the marijuana program that protected patient confidentiality. A separate database on Oregon State Police traffic stops helped us to demonstrate the widespread diversion of medical marijuana to the black market. Among the investigation’s original results, published as an occasional series: Communities in southern Oregon have concentrations of marijuana patients 10 times the statewide average; Police patrolling Oregon’s highways now seize more West Coast medical marijuana than pot grown outside the program; The state places few limitations on felons participating in the program, and dozens of trafficking prosecutions involve medical marijuana cardholders with existing criminal histories; Fifty-two children are legally permitted to use pot under the state program, with limited input from pediatricians or specialists treating their underlying illnesses; Nine doctors signed off on more than half the patients in the program, and 75 percent of patients used doctors with improbably high caseloads.
Childcare advocates claim that inadequate state laws have made it easy for people with criminal convictions to get licensed to care for children—often with deadly consequences. Their evidence was often anecdotal--ripped from headlines of children dying in the care of someone whose past wasn't revealed until after the child had been harmed. When we looked into the problem we soon discovered that even when a criminal history disqualifies a potential candidate from childcare, states often grant licenses nonetheless. Parents not only aren’t informed of this, but some states actively conceal this information. And we found there are no existing databases that report caregivers’ criminal records or the results of background checks, so we set out to compile our own. The creation of that database then led us to an extensive, year-long data search in five states, from original arrest reports and police narratives to jail records, court records, state licensing files, exemption reports, inspection records and more. These records helped us unravel the many ways people with criminal records were able to get licensed. We then visited several centers and conducted an experiment in one state, submitting applications for childcare background checks for three women--all of them convicted murderers.
Penn State's football coach Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in Division I history despite the many criminal charges against his program's players over the years. A database was created using computer assisted reporting to analyze players' Pennsylvania court records over the last seven years.
The Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD) is a Web-based resource that tracks the civil, criminal, and administrative misconduct of the federal government's largest suppliers of goods and services. POGO created the FCMD to ensure that the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars the federal government awards every year in contracts (over $530 billion in fiscal year 2008) go to companies with solid records of responsibility, integrity and performance. POGO developed the FCMD because government contracting officers are required by law to award contracts to responsible vendors only but lack a centralized repository of information on vendors' misconduct histories. To make decisions that are in the best interest of the public and prevent fraud, wasted and abuse, the government must have as much information as possible reflecting the past performance and responsibility of prospective vendors. The FCMD provides this information free to the public in a concise and user-friendly format. The FCMD spotlights each of the top 100 federal contractors. It complies each contractor's instances of misconduct -- actual and alleged -- dating back to 1995. In addition to misconduct instances, the FCMD includes primary source documents and links to the contractors' Web sites, annual reports, SEC filings, and lobbying and campaign finance information. Search and sort features allow users to search the data for key words, or to organize the data in interesting ways. The FCMD is an evolving resource. POGO continually adds and updates instances and contractor information. POGO also periodically updates the contractor list to reflect the most current fiscal year ranking. Each year, the roster of contractors will change, but POGO will keep all old rankings on a special archive page so that eventually the FCMD will include hundreds of contractors.
"The Channel 8 I-team investigated the criminal histories of all of Clark County School Bus Drivers. Major findings include: 13% of drivers had come in contact with the courts, either arrested, cited or charged with a crime, 5% of those resulted in convictions, including 6 convictions for driving under the influence."
Walsh's story focuses on a faulty criminal history database. Maine's criminal records system is in complete disrepair, and actually causes more harm than good. Judges and prosecutors find the system so unorganized, they don't know if a defendant has committed any prior crimes in the state. This results in bails set too low and sentences that are too lenient.