When news broke out in April that nine employees of Indianapolis’ main juvenile jail were arrested and charged with sexual misconduct against children in their care, The Star Editorial Board and I moved quickly to look further into the problem.
Combing through state appellate rulings, juvenile court case files and inspection reports, along with interviews from key players in – and victims of – the system, I pulled together a three-day collection of editorials revealing that juvenile justice is anything but.
Part of the series included audio clips from judges and lawyers detailing their experiences working in one of the most dysfunctional sectors of the justice system. For readers, this helped improve their understanding of the issues. Another online component came in the form of columns detailing cases found during the reporting of the series that appeared on The Star’s Expresso blog. That brought additional attention to the series.
As a result, the editorial series won several awards, including the Inland Press Association’s Editorial Excellence Sweepstakes and a runner-up showing in the editorial category of the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism.
Follow-up editorials by RiShawn Biddle
From the Juvenile injustice files (Expresso)
Tales from the juvenile injustice files (June 19, 2006)
Why didn't Samuel get his trial (June 20, 2006)
The picture of guilt (July 7, 2006)
Killing the seed before it grows (July 26, 2006)