NATICK, Mass. — The New England Newspaper & Press Affiliation awarded the Solar Journal a Publick Occurrences Award for Excellent Journalism on Thursday in the course of the affiliation’s annual convention.
The newspaper was additionally named a distinguished newspaper within the day by day class.
The Publick Occurrences Award, named for the primary newspaper in America that revealed a single concern in 1690 earlier than the royal governor suppressed the trouble, acknowledged the Solar Journal’s work reporting on the transport of Androscoggin County inmate Meghan Quinn by a personal transport firm in November 2016.
Throughout that journey, Quinn was handcuffed and held in a tiny cage the dimensions of a canine kennel, with out ample entry to a toilet or use of sanitary merchandise to include menstruation. She was pressured to defecate in a used hamburger wrapper and pee into an empty bottle in full view of the male prisoners driving together with her within the van.
In response to the Solar Journal’s investigation, led by employees author Christopher Williams, Quinn spent 5 days within the U.S. Prisoner Transport van and, hours earlier than Quinn was presupposed to be delivered to the Androscoggin County Jail, transport drivers pulled over and one among them went right into a Walmart to purchase her a pair of leggings. She was ordered to strip out of her dirty touring pants and placed on the leggings, showing almost presentable when transferred into the care of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Division.
She had been arrested in Florida on a warrant for a probation violation.
Within the days following the March 26 report and accompanying editorial, the newspaper heard from dozens of different individuals who had been transported by this firm and who had endured comparable experiences to Quinn.
On the similar time, Androscoggin County District Lawyer Andrew Robinson introduced the county would cease utilizing U.S. Prisoner Transport and he later reached out to district attorneys throughout Maine to encourage them to cancel their contracts. In consequence, most of them did.
The district attorneys have since been working collectively to determine various technique of transporting prisoners to and from Maine.
NENPA judges commented: “An outrage story a few lady arrested in Florida and transported to Maine in a privately operated van beneath unsanitary, inhuman circumstances.
“Probably the most salutary impact of the paper’s enterprise was that it acquired outcomes: Many DAs in Maine canceled their contracts with the corporate that operated the van. The ‘Star’ of the paper’s package deal was the lady, who was forthright and frank in her description of her ordeal.”
In accordance with the newspaper’s government editor, Judith Meyer, “The transfer by the district attorneys to finish their contracts with U.S. Prisoner Transport is an enduring and constructive transfer to guard prisoners’ rights that might not have occurred however for our reporting.”
U.S. Prisoner Transport by no means responded to a number of Freedom of Entry Act requests from the Solar Journal and declined all requests for interviews. After…