Joseph Shapiro Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR
Joseph Shapiro - 2014
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Joseph Shapiro

Correspondent, NPR Investigations

Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.

In this role, Shapiro takes on long-term reporting projects and covers breaking news stories for NPR's news shows.

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 what critics call "modern day debtors' prisons;" the failure of colleges and universities to punish for on-campus sexual assaults; 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 reporting has generated wide-spread attention to serious issues here and abroad. 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 a duPont Award, a George Foster Peabody Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, Sigma Delta Chi, IRE, Dart and Gracie awards and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Award.

Shapiro is the author of the award-winning 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, D.C., and lives there now with his family.

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Story Archive

James Meadours (left), Debbie Robinson and Thomas Mangrum share their stories about sexual assault. Lizzie Chen for NPR; Claire Harbage and Meg Anderson/NPR hide caption

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Lizzie Chen for NPR; Claire Harbage and Meg Anderson/NPR

In Their Own Words: People With Intellectual Disabilities Talk About Rape

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In Their Words, Adults With Intellectual Disabilities Tell Their Sexual Assault Stories

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An NPR investigation finds that people with intellectual disabilities suffer one of the highest rates of sexual assault — and that compared with other rape victims, they are even more likely to be assaulted by someone they know. Cornelia Li for NPR hide caption

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Cornelia Li for NPR

From The Frontlines Of A Sexual Assault Epidemic: 2 Therapists Share Stories

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Lyons-Boswick goes to Veterans Courthouse in Newark to have a judge sign off on a warrant she needs to prosecute a sexual assault case. Cassandra Giraldo for NPR hide caption

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Cassandra Giraldo for NPR

How Prosecutors Changed The Odds To Start Winning Some Of The Toughest Rape Cases

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Patricia (from left), Natalie and their mother, Rosemary, sit in their home in Northern California. Natalie, a woman with an intellectual disability, is unable to speak. She couldn't explain what was wrong and doctors couldn't figure out why she was in pain. Talia Herman for NPR hide caption

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Talia Herman for NPR

'She Can't Tell Us What's Wrong'

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A participant helps Park hang the agenda on the wall at the start of class. Brianna Soukup for NPR hide caption

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Brianna Soukup for NPR

For Some With Intellectual Disabilities, Ending Abuse Starts With Sex Ed

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NPR Investigation Finds Hidden Epidemic Of Sexual Assault

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Pauline stands in her room after coming home from a day program for adults with intellectual disabilities. Michelle Gustafson for NPR hide caption

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Michelle Gustafson for NPR

The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

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Police: Las Vegas Shooter Had Multiple Guns At Hotel And At His Home

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U.S. Moves To Amend Secret Mustard Gas Tests On Veterans

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An aerial view of the Lewisburg prison complex in Pennsylvania. Google Earth hide caption

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Google Earth

Lawsuit Says Lewisburg Prison Counsels Prisoners With Crossword Puzzles

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Martin Sostre on Feb. 12, 1976 — the same week he was released from prison after he was granted executive clemency by the governor of New York. Vic DeLucia/The New York Post via Getty Images hide caption

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Vic DeLucia/The New York Post via Getty Images

How One Inmate Changed The Prison System From The Inside

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Nick Dupree arrives at the Federal Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. on Feb. 11, 2003. His success in getting the state to continue support past age 21 enabled him to attend college and live in his own home. Jamie Martin/AP hide caption

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Jamie Martin/AP

Nick Dupree Fought To Live 'Like Anyone Else'

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