KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting collaboration includes television, radio and online features.
Under pressure from the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce prison overcrowding and improve inmate healthcare, California Governor Jerry Brown started transferring authority for nearly 40,000 low-level convicts from state prisons to city and county systems. Beginning on August 20, KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) launch a multi-platform collaboration to examine the impact of these unprecedented and far reaching efforts to overhaul California’s prison system.
Prison Break: California Rethinks Criminal Justice will include radio, television, and original web and educational content, providing an in-depth investigation of this complex issue. All programming is subject to change.
Three radio stories will air as part of The California Reporton KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco and 89.3 FM Sacramento) and on public radio stations throughout the state:
- Monday, August 20, 5:50am, 6:50am and 8:50am:
Michael Montgomery will report on the uneven impact of the realignment policies around the state with a comparison of the successful San Francisco program and the overburdened Fresno county jail system.
- Tuesday, August 21, 5:50am, 6:50am and 8:50am:
Scott Shafer will investigate the challenges prison authorities face under realignment in handling mental health problems — ranging from drug addiction to schizophrenia — in the incarcerated population.
- Wednesday, August 22, 5:50am, 6:50am and 8:50am:
Michael Montgomery will investigate the sharp fall of the number of inmates in state prisons as a result of the realignment and discuss its impact on the state prison infrastructure. The report will also assess whether the prison system can take full advantage of the population drop amid further cuts to its operating budget.
Forum, KQED Public Radio’s live public affairs program, will do a segment on prison reform on Wednesday, August 22, at 9am.
- Monday, August 20, 5:50am, 6:50am and 8:50am:
The television special Prison Break: California Rethinks Criminal Justice, hosted by Scott Shafer (KQED Public Radio’s The California Report) with reporting by Michael Montgomery (KQED News and CIR), will air Friday, August 24, at 7:30pm on KQED 9. The special will follow a group of inmates as they are released from state prison and pass into the supervision of probation officers in San Francisco and Fresno counties. The documentary feature will be followed by interviews with Steve Cooley (District Attorney for Los Angeles) and George Gascón (District Attorney for San Francisco), who discuss the challenges and opportunities of the new system.
- WEB AND EDUCATION
All coverage will be available on the KQED News website (KQEDnews.org/prison) and the CIR website (cironline.org). Web-only features will include a multimedia examination of realignment from The Lowdown, KQED’s education blog that decodes the news, and an infographic and a heat map that visually present the effects of the policy on California’s vast prison network. Also available on the website will be archived stories relating to prison reform from KQED News, The California Report and CIR. The online features will be available beginning Monday, August 20.
“With this unique partnership, KQED and CIR are filling a need for in-depth and unbiased investigation of the important issues of our day. Prison Break decodes ‘realignment,’ a complex and unprecedented reform of California’s criminal justice system which affects every county in the state,” said Joanne Elgart Jennings, KQED Public Television executive producer. Bruce Koon, KQED Public Radio news director, adds: “We’re excited to continue our work with our colleagues at CIR and look at the complex issues facing us in the upcoming election. Combining our journalism resources enables us to provide the public with important insight and information on realignment policy and its effects.”
“This is another strong example of CIR’s collaborative model,” said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of CIR. “We’re taking a story that has far-reaching implications across California and reaching a state-wide audience through our partnership with KQED and The California Report.”
Prison Break joins a long list of collaborations between KQED, CIR and CIR’s California Watch and The Bay Citizen. The two news organizations most recently produced Republic of Cannabis, which explored California’s marijuana trade, and On Shaky Ground, an investigation into the seismic safety of public schools that prompted calls for change.
KQED has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area) and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM San Francisco and 89.3 FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin. KQED’s digital television stations include KQED 9, KQED Plus, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. KQED Public Radio, home of Forum and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local weekday newscasts and news features. KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org, as well as several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at kqed.org. KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and the general public through workshops, community screenings and multimedia resources.
Founded in 1977, the Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organization, producing unique, high-impact reporting. The organization’s stories appear in hundreds of news outlets, including NPR News, PBS Frontline, PBS NewsHour, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, MinnPost and American Public Media’s Marketplace. CIR stories have received numerous journalism awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. The organization received the 2012 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Its reports have sparked state and federal hearings and legislation, public-interest lawsuits, changes in corporate policies and a United Nations resolution. CIR is the parent organization of California Watch, the largest investigative team in California and The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member-supported news organization that provides in-depth original reporting on the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit cironline.org, californiawatch.org and baycitizen.org.