Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.
Shapiro's major investigative stories include his reports on the way rising court fines and fees create an unequal system of justice for the poor and the rise of "modern day debtors' prisons," the failure of colleges and universities to punish for on-campus sexual assaults, the epidemic of sexual assault of people with intellectual disabilities, the problems with solitary confinement, the inadequacy of civil rights laws designed to get the elderly and people with disabilities out of nursing homes, and the little-known profits involved in the production of medical products from donated human cadavers.
His "Child Cases" series, reported with PBS Frontline and ProPublica, found two dozen cases in the U.S. and Canada where parents and caregivers were charged with killing children, but the charges were later reversed or dropped. Since that series, a Texas man who was the focus of one story was released from prison. And in California, a woman who was the subject of another story had her sentence commuted.
Shapiro joined NPR in November 2001 and spent eight years covering health, aging, disability, and children's and family issues on the Science Desk. He reported on the health issues of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and helped start NPR's 2005 Impact of War series with reporting from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. He covered stories from Hurricane Katrina to the debate over overhauling the nation's health care system.
Before coming to NPR, Shapiro spent 19 years at U.S. News & World Report, as a Senior Writer on social policy and served as the magazine's Rome bureau chief, White House correspondent, and congressional reporter.
Among honors for his investigative journalism, Shapiro has received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, George Foster Peabody Award, George Polk Award, Robert F. Kennedy Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, Sigma Delta Chi, IRE, Dart, Ruderman, and Gracie awards, and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Award.
Shapiro is the author of the award-winning book NO PITY: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement (Random House/Three Rivers Press), which is widely read in disability studies classes.
Shapiro studied long-term care and end-of-life issues as a participant in the yearlong 1997 Kaiser Media Fellowship in Health program. In 1990, he explored the changing world of people with disabilities as an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow.
Shapiro attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Carleton College. He's a native of Washington, DC, and lives there now with his family.
A California law allows a terminally ill person to end their life, but some people with disabilities say they're at risk of being coerced into seeking the medications needed for assisted suicide.
Four disability groups have filed a lawsuit to overturn California's assisted suicide law — saying it devalues their lives and encourages discrimination against them.
Heumann was instrumental in pushing to expand the civil rights of Americans with disabilities and continued to advocate for disability rights around the globe. She died on Saturday at age 75.
Following reporting by NPR and the Marshall Project, the Federal Bureau of Prisons cites a culture of abuse in shutting down one of the deadliest prison units in America.
The Special Management Unit of the Thomson penitentiary in Illinois is shutting down because of deadly conditions there that were uncovered in reporting from NPR and The Marshall Project.
The Bureau of Prisons is shutting down a unit at its newest penitentiary in Illinois, following an investigation by NPR and The Marshall Project that exposed it was rife with violence and abuse.
Some states allow children to be removed from their parents if they fail to pay the cost of foster care. But that can be hundreds of dollars a month, and it's often the poorest families who must pay.
For courts to end a parent's rights to their child, there has to be a serious reason. But NPR found laws that say it's OK to take kids away from their parents if they fail to pay certain debts.
Loss of parental rights can be the ultimate punishment from a court. Unpaid debts for foster care can delay the reunion. Some parents are still getting bills even though the feds told states to stop.
Lois Curtis, the Georgia artist with an intellectual disability who brought a landmark civil rights lawsuit, has died at the age of 55. (Story first aired on Weekend Edition Saturday on Nov. 5, 2022.)