Three named McCree Journalism Award winners

Journalism projects that examined, explained and exposed problems and important issues in law enforcement and the legal system were recently named winners of the 45th annual Wade H. McCree Advancement of Justice Awards, sponsored by the Michigan Press Association Foundation.

The awards were determined by a panel of five judges, representing law and media, who independently reviewed more than two dozen entries from across Michigan.

The winners are:

• Reporter Karen Bouffard of the Detroit News for an in-depth investigation “Healing Justice” which showed America’s underinvestment in mental health services, and the enormous expense of incarceration.

One graphic showed how incarceration increased in the U.S., as American mental health hospitals were shuttered over the course of several decades.

• Reporter Heather Catallo of WXYZ for an in-depth investigation “Guardianship Epidemic: I just want my parents back.”
Her reporting showed that as baby boomers age, guardianship abuse is increasingly becoming a bigger problem across the country.

• Reporter Sarah Cwiek of Michigan Radio for her investigation “They say their son needs to be in a psychiatric hospital. He went to jail instead.”

This story highlights the impossible situation in which some families with autistic children find themselves: stuck in a loop of emergency rooms and police encounters, in a state that makes it all but impossible to get a child admitted to inpatient psychiatric medical care.

The McCree awards are based on the significance and informative level of the journalism, plus its impact on changing and improving the legal and law enforcement systems.

The awards are presented annually to the winners at the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame ceremony, held each spring, but which has been moved to a later date due.

The McCree awards are named for Judge Wade H. McCree (1920-87) one of the most distinguished lawyers and jurists in Michigan history and a staunch advocate for equal rights and open, accountable government.

McCree served as a circuit, federal and U.S. Appeals court judge and, from 1977-81, as solicitor general of the United States.


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