Joseph Shapiro Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.
Joe Shapiro
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Joseph Shapiro

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Joe Shapiro
Wanyu Zhang /NPR

Joseph Shapiro

Correspondent, NPR Investigations

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.

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Story Archive

Members of the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL) demonstrate in front of the Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station in Illinois to demand the suspension of an Amtrak policy that led to exorbitant fees for removing train seats to accommodate riders in wheelchairs. Later on Wednesday, Amtrak announced it would suspend the policy. Courtesy of Bridget Hayman hide caption

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Courtesy of Bridget Hayman

Amtrak Reverses Course On $25,000 Bill

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Amtrak has rescinded its charge of $25,000 each for two wheelchair users and will charge them just the normal ticket price. Brendan McDermid/Reuters hide caption

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Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Sen. Duckworth Slams Amtrak Over $25K Price For Disabled Passengers

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A member of the station staff pushes a portable wheelchair lift along the platform at an Amtrak station in DeLand, Fla. The company says its policies for having to adjust or remove seats has changed. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images hide caption

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Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amtrak Asks 2 People Who Use Wheelchairs To Pay $25,000 For A Ride

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2 Wheelchair Users Faced A $25,000 Fee To Travel On Amtrak

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Chuck Coma in his mother's kitchen. Since his return from a federal prison in Butner, N.C., he experiences flashbacks from war and his time in jail. Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos hide caption

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Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos

When A Prisoner Returns Home With A Brain Injury, Freedom Isn't So Free

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Trump Reverses Education Secretary DeVos' Plans To Cut Funding For Special Olympics

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Caissie Levy performs as Elsa in the stage adaptation of Frozen, which opened on Broadway in 2018. Deen van Meer/Disney Theatrical Productions hide caption

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Deen van Meer/Disney Theatrical Productions

For Many With Disabilities, 'Let It Go' Is An Anthem Of Acceptance

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Remembering George H.W. Bush, A Champion For People With Disabilities

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Mary Kathleen "Kathy" Tyler, an 82-year-old woman incarcerated at Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, was sentenced to life in prison in 1978. She is an avid reader, artist and pianist; is employed as a court reporter; and has accumulated a handful of degrees since she was incarcerated. Jessica Earnshaw for NPR hide caption

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Jessica Earnshaw for NPR

In Iowa, A Commitment To Make Prison Work Better For Women

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Iowa Is Trying To Address The Disparity In How Men And Women Are Disciplined In Prison

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Illinois Department of Corrections officers participate in a role-playing exercise during a March training session on working with female inmates, at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Ill. Bill Healy for SJNN hide caption

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Bill Healy for SJNN

In Prison, Discipline Comes Down Hardest On Women

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Craig Blackburn, left; Kyle Kosceilniak, center; and Hannah LaCour, members of the Louisiana delegation of the National Down Syndrome Society, practice their remarks while waiting to meet a Senate staffer. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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Teaching Parents Of Kids With Disabilities To Fight Back

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James Meadours delivers the keynote address at a summit in New Jersey to propose reforms to prevent sexual abuse of people with intellectual disabilities. Meadours, a rape survivor with an intellectual disability, travels the country to raise awareness. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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States Aim To Halt Sexual Abuse Of People With Intellectual Disabilities

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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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