Joseph Shapiro

Joseph Shapiro


Guilty and Charged
All Things Considered

National Public Radio
Joseph Shapiro

Joseph Shapiro, Media for a Just Society Award winner in the radio category, produced the Guilty and Charged series for National Public Radio (NPR). The series looks at the epidemic of poor people, mostly of color, incarcerated at incredibly high rates for failing to pay the fees charged at every step of the way through the criminal justice system, from the courtroom, to jail, to probation. These fees—which can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars—are charged to defendants and offenders for their own arrest warrants, court-ordered drug- and alcohol-abuse treatment, and DNA sample collection. The fees keep people locked up for offenses like stealing a $2 beer or failing to pay parking tickets. Instead of serving time for the actual offense, people are held simply for being poor.

As an NPR News Investigations correspondent, Shapiro takes on long-term reporting projects and covers breaking news stories for NPR. His reporting has generated widespread attention to serious issues in the United States and abroad. His Child Cases series, reported with PBS Frontline and ProPublica, investigated nearly two dozen US and Canadian cases of infant and child deaths that were mishandled, resulting in the incarceration of innocent parents and caregivers.

Among honors for his investigative journalism, Shapiro has received a Peabody Award, a Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award, a Dart Award, and a Gracie Award.

Learn more about Joseph Shapiro here. Follow him on Twitter @NPRJoeShapiro.

The first episode of Guilty and Charged is below, and the rest can be found here.

Information adapted from