Wisconsin prison officials quietly changed mental health status of inmates in solitary, psychologist says

When he returned from a medical leave in early 2016, psychologist Bradley Boivin discovered a troubling pattern among Waupun Correctional Institution inmates who had been held in solitary confinement. Thirteen of his patients’ mental health classifications had been changed without Boivin’s knowledge — and in his opinion, without proper assessment.

Wisconsin’s ‘news deserts’ hurt our democracy — but you can help

News deserts are geographical areas or socioeconomic groups that are parched of fresh, important local news, whether it’s a result of the shuttering of neighborhood newspapers, downsizing and the limited resources of news outlets or a lack of coverage of particular topics. Help WCIJ identify news deserts in Wisconsin by writing to me at msato@wisconsinwatch.org.

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism earns eight Milwaukee Press Club awards for coverage in 2016

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism was named a winner Tuesday of eight awards in the 2016 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism contest. The Center now has received a total of 48 awards since 2011 in the state’s premiere all-media journalism competition. The honors recognize stories that examined risks to Wisconsin’s drinking water, the lack of universal background checks for gun purchases, financial practices that target poor consumers, the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, the lack of protections for bees and the use of trauma-informed care in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system and elsewhere. Sharing several awards with the Center was Bridgit Bowden, Wisconsin Public Radio’s former Mike Simonson Memorial Investigative Fellow who was embedded in the Center’s newsroom last year. University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication students, working as paid Center interns or in classroom collaborations, played important roles in four of the award-winning entries.

Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council names ‘Opee’ winners

Two citizens, two journalists, one fired government worker and one small but gutsy Wisconsin newspaper are among the recipients of the 2016-17 Openness Awards, or Opees, bestowed annually by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. The awards, announced in advance of national Sunshine Week (sunshineweek.org), March 12-18, recognize extraordinary achievement in the cause of open government.