Investigations Read the latest from NPR's investigative team. If you have solid tips or documents on stories we should probe, please send them to us.

Investigations

Left: A photo provided by Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted in a 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher's wife. Right: Alabama's lethal injection chamber at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., seen in 2002. Alabama Department of Corrections via AP and AP hide caption

toggle caption
Alabama Department of Corrections via AP and AP

Alabama executes man by nitrogen gas for the first time in the U.S.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1226936713/1227304582" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

This undated photo provided by Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted in a 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher's wife. Alabama plans to put him to death by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method that is authorized in three states but has never been used, later this week. Alabama Department of Corrections via AP/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Alabama Department of Corrections via AP/AP

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in September 2022. At the rally, Trump invited the president and founder of the nonprofit Patriot Freedom Project to give a speech. The group's close ties to Trump have prompted scrutiny from lawmakers. Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The Alabama Department of Corrections plans to execute Kenneth Smith on Jan. 25 using nitrogen gas. It will be the first time the gas has been used as an execution method in the U.S. AP/Mark Harris for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
AP/Mark Harris for NPR

Kenneth Smith could be the first person executed with nitrogen gas. He spoke with NPR

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1223969328/1224433466" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Donald Trump launched his latest presidential campaign with a rally in Waco, Texas. At the beginning of the rally, Trump played a song featuring the J6 Prison Choir, made up of defendants in jail on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Nathan Howard/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Nathan Howard/AP

The Trump campaign embraces Jan. 6 rioters with money and pardon promises

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1218672628/1222952026" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Autopsies are not required for federal prison deaths that are classified as natural. NPR found cases where medical neglect, poor prison conditions and a lack of resources contributed to these deaths. But families were given little information. Dion MBD for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dion MBD for NPR

There is little scrutiny of 'natural' deaths behind bars

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1219667393/1222434189" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee. A combat veteran, Kelly called on the U.S. Marines to explain why wounded troops weren't told the truth about a friendly fire incident in Iraq in 2004. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Alex Brandon/AP

The Virginia Department of Corrections recorded the execution of Travis Spencer's brother. Spencer wants his tape published to hold the state accountable. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Catie Dull/NPR

Families of executed prisoners want death penalty tapes made public

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1219684306/1220726005" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

This undated photo provided by Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, who was convicted in a 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher's wife. Alabama plans to put him to death by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method that is authorized in three states but has never been used. Alabama Department of Corrections via AP hide caption

toggle caption
Alabama Department of Corrections via AP

Alabama's upcoming gas execution could harm witnesses and violate religious liberty

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1218591962/1218999324" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ernie Haynes stands next to a memorial for his daughter, Jennifer, at his home in Risingsun, Ohio. Following her drug overdose death in 2017, he was charged with abduction after trying to gain custody of his grandchildren. The action sparked a five-year legal battle to clear his name. Dustin Franz for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Dustin Franz for NPR

Ohio prosecutors broke rules to win convictions and got away with it

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1216111092/1219247053" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on the federal prison system to address its staffing crisis. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Lawmakers push for federal prison oversight after reports of inadequate medical care

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1218627629/1218876529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Alan Hostetter, seen here in May 2020, became a leading activist against coronavirus-related lockdown policies in Orange County, Calif. Hostetter, a former police chief and yoga instructor, was convicted of conspiring to obstruct congress' certification of the 2020 presidential election results at the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Marine Corps veteran Ed O'Connor is seen outside his home in Fredericksburg, Va. He is among tens of thousands of veterans who took a COVID forbearance on a VA home loan. But the VA's program ended abruptly in October of 2022 and many veterans were asked to either pay all the missed payments or face foreclosure. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Catie Dull/NPR

Veterans fear the VA's new foreclosure rescue plan won't help them

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1216213793/1216340330" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Disgusted by city's top prosecutor, a police officer refuses to testify

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1214894247/1215031494" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Charles Dharapak/AP

VA halts foreclosures for thousands of veterans about to needlessly lose their homes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1213930706/1214004788" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Rice's whales are one of the most recently discovered whale species in the world — and already one of the most endangered. But protections for the Gulf of Mexico species have been repeatedly delayed. KL Murphy for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
KL Murphy for NPR

Only 51 of these U.S. whales remain. Little has been done to prevent their extinction

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1212690111/1213401079" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

More than a dozen prisoners at Thomson prison in Illinois claimed in a letter that guards were bribing them to attack the warden. The Marshall Project redacted some names in these documents to protect their identity. Aaron Marin for The Marshall Project hide caption

toggle caption
Aaron Marin for The Marshall Project

A warden tried to fix an abusive federal prison. He faced death threats

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1212860001/1213532050" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The federal prison complex in Thomson, Ill. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

New accounts of abuse at federal prison prompt renewed calls for investigation

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1186143929/1186278289" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript