A Connecticut Mirror investigation of the state’s failure to keep records of its $100 million-plus health care system for prisoners has been awarded the prestigious Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award by the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists.
Reporters Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Clarice Silber were recognized for their work “Denied: A look into inmate health care” at the annual Connecticut SPJ’s annual awards ceremony Thursday night.
The story, published last December, detailed how the lack of record-keeping has thwarted efforts by lawmakers and civil rights groups to determine whether the state Department of Correction is providing appropriate health care to inmates.
In addition to the Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award, named after the late Hartford Courant investigator Theodore Driscoll, reporters at the CT Mirror also were recognized in the following categories:
- First Place for Reporting Series: “Extreme Inequality: Connecticut’s Wealth Dilemma,” Keith Phaneuf, Clarice Silber, Jake Kara
- First Place for Diversity Coverage: “Access to AP Courses Often Elusive for Low-Income Students,” Jacqueline Rabe Thomas.
- Second Place for Reporting Series: “Connecticut’s Vanishing Shoreline,” Jan Ellen Spiegel
- Second Place for Continuing Coverage: “Is School Desegregation Working,” Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Jake Kara.
- Second Place Denied: A look into inmate healthcare; Connecticut Mirror; Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Clarice Silber
- Second Place for Education Reporting: “How Safe Are Students at School,” Jacqueline Rabe Thomas.
“I’m extremely proud of the work my staff does every day to hold government accountable,” said CT Mirror Editor Elizabeth Hamilton. “This recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists is proof that small, non-profit news organizations like ours are playing an increasingly important role in Connecticut’s media landscape.”
In addition to the Driscoll award, SPJ also presented two other major awards Thursday night:
- The First Amendment Award went to Nancy Chapman of the NancyonNorwalk website for “D’Amelio attorney says arrest expunged; threatens lawsuit.”
- The Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award for The Hartford Courant’s five-year legal fight for the release of documents related to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and shooter Adam Lanza: Reporters and editors Dave Altimari, Matthew Kauffman, Josh Kovner and Editor and Publisher Andrew Julien. The Courant also received the Helen M. Loy Freedom of Information Award for its work obtaining the Lanza documents.
Longtime state Capitol reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media, Ken Dixon, was inducted into the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame at the ceremony. Also inducted was John Elliott, news director at 96.5 WTIC-FM from 1976 to 2018.
Here is a list of all the state’s award winners and their work.