The Rocky Mountain News and Boston Phoenix have won the first Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting awards presented by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The awards were announced today by Jeremy Travis, John Jay president, and Jack Rosenthal, president of The New York Times Foundation. Sarah Huntley, Lou Kilzer, and Linda McConnell of the Rocky Mountain News won for their four-part series, “Battered Justice.” The series reported serious flaws and questions about the effectiveness of the methods used by the criminal justice system in Colorado and elsewhere to fight domestic violence in the last 20 years.
David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix won a prize for his article “The Worst Homicide Squad in the Country,” which examined the low clearance rates for homicides in Boston. Each newspaper received a $1,000 prize. “The Boston Phoenix’s and the Rocky Mountain News' work were very important pieces of journalism–highlighting issues of critical importance to their community,” said Travis. A panel of five judges gave honorable mention to two other papers for their outstanding work: Judi Villa of the Arizona Republic for her news report “Adult Prisons Harden Teens,” and Flynn McRoberts, Steve Mills, and Maurice Possley of the Chicago Tribune for their series “Forensics Under the Microscope.” The judges were Ted Gest, president of Criminal Justice Journalists; Jennifer Gonnerman, staff writer of The Village Voice; Delores Jones-Brown, Professor of Law and Police Science and Interim Director of the Center for Race, Crime, and Justice, John Jay College; David Krajicek, first vice president, Criminal Justice Journalists; and Steve Montiel, Director, Institute for Justice and Journalism, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California.