“Kids Imprisoned,” an investigation into juvenile justice in America, is the 2020 project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a multimedia reporting project produced by the country’s top journalism students and graduates.
Each year, students selected into the program report in-depth on a single topic of national importance, usually traveling to 30 or more states from the project’s base in Phoenix. This year, because of COVID-19, the 35 News21 fellows from 16 universities reported virtually from their hometowns or home campuses across the country, using video conferencing and cell phones for interviews.
They found innovative ways to produce a multimedia package of 23 main investigative and explanatory stories, 35 additional reports with photo illustrations, plus a seven-part podcast and several video stories. They also gathered family photographs, documents, artwork and creative writing from sources and made virtual portraits using projectors and video conferencing.
A key finding of this year’s eight-month investigation: Justice for juveniles is handed down disproportionately, depending on where they live, their race, which police officer arrests them, or which judge, prosecutor or probation officer happens to be involved in the case. Juvenile courts process nearly 750,000 cases each year.
About 200,000 of these involved detention – removing a young person from home and locking them up. Depending on where a young person lives, the same crime can result in something as mild as rehab and mentoring, or as severe as incarceration behind barbed wire in an environment of rioting and sexual abuse.
News 21 fellows investigated private companies that run programs in detention facilities, detention facility conditions, policing practices, employee misconduct and the impact of the juvenile justice system on families, communities and victims.
“This project reflects the tenacity of a new generation of young journalists who persisted despite a national pandemic, protests about race and policing, and restrictions that kept them from reporting in the field,” News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel said.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program.
Individual fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists that include The Arizona Republic, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Knight Foundation, Murray Endowment, Diane Laney Fitzpatrick, Myrta J. Pulliam and John and Patty Williams.
News21 is committed to accuracy and welcomes feedback from sources and members of the public. Staff members and editors will correct errors of fact and clarify confusing information promptly and in a straightforward manner.
We will note significant corrections and clarifications within packages. We will correct minor spelling, punctuation and grammar errors without notice.
MULTIMEDIA REPORTERS: Michele Abercrombie, Jana Allen, José-Ignacio Castañeda Perez, Kelsey Collesi, Layne Dowdall, Brody Ford, Jos Fox, Sorell Grow, Abigail Hall, Matthew Hendley, Daja E. Henry, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Chloe Johnson, Delia C. Johnson, Chloe Jones, Molly Kruse, Braela Kwan, Gretchen Lasso, Franco LaTona, Patrick Linehan, Byron Mason II, Lindsey Nichols, Haillie Parker, Kimberly Rapanut, Jill Ryan, Calah Schlabach, Ike Somanas, Nicole Sroka, Katherine Sypher, Gabriela Szymanowska, Victoria Traxler, Jeff Uveino, Anthony J. Wallace, Morgan Wallace, James Wooldridge
WEB PRODUCERS: Michele Abercrombie, Brody Ford, Franco LaTona, Delia C. Johnson and Patrick Linehan
DATA + PUBLIC RECORDS: Brody Ford, Jos Fox, Franco LaTona, Nicole Sroka, Chloe Jones, Daja E. Henry, Calah Schlabach and Victoria Traxler
GLOSSARY: Abigail Hall
SITE ILLUSTRATION: Michele Abercrombie and Ike Somanas
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHERS: Michele Abercrombie, Layne Dowdall, Chloe Jones, Calah Schlabach, Gabriela Szymanowska and James Wooldridge
VIDEO EDITORS: Layne Dowdall, Brody Ford, Jos Fox, Matthew Hendley, Chloe Jones, Braela Kwan, Franco LaTona, Byron Mason II, Ike Somanas, Gabriela Szymanowska, Victoria Traxler and James Wooldridge
PODCAST HOSTS: Katherine Sypher and Anthony J. Wallace
PODCAST ON-AIR REPORTERS: Jana Allen, Kelsey Collesi, Matthew Hendley, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Chloe Jones, Chloe Johnson, Patrick Linehan, Franco LaTona, Haillie Parker, Jill Ryan, Ike Somanas and James Wooldridge
PODCAST PRODUCERS: Michele Abercrombie, Jana Allen, Kelsey Collesi, Matthew Hendley, Daja E. Henry, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Chloe Jones, Chloe Johnson, Patrick Linehan, Franco LaTona, Haillie Parker, Jill Ryan, Ike Somanas, Katherine Sypher, Anthony J. Wallace and James Wooldridge
PODCAST SOUND MIXING AND MUSIC: Anthony Wallace
KIDS IMPRISONED EXTRAS EDITORS: Sorell Grow, Abigail Hall and Molly Kruse
KIDS IMPRISONED EXTRAS ILLUSTRATION: Michele Abercrombie and Nicole Sroka
SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT EDITORS: Jana Allen, Kelsey Collesi, Daja E. Henry, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw and Delia C. Johnson
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Jacquee Petchel
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Maureen West
MULTIMEDIA + DESIGN EDITOR: Alex Lancial
PHOTO + MULTIMEDIA EDITOR: Jennifer Swanson
WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPER: Adnan Alam
DATA VISUALIZATION DEVELOPER: Hari Subramaniam
CONTENT EDITOR: Martin Dolan
PROJECT MANAGER: Alex Lancial
ADMINISTRATIVE EDITOR: Janet Coats
Financial support from
DONALD W. REYNOLDS FOUNDATION
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
MYRTA J. PULLIAM
THE MURRAY ENDOWMENT
JOHN AND PATTY WILLIAMS
DIANE LANEY FITZPATRICK