The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect
This six-part series from KARE11 in Minneapolis exemplifies the best of enterprising local journalism, diagnosing and documenting a major failing in the Minnesota legal system: suspects in crimes are routinely deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial but are never treated for their mental illness. Instead, they are simply released and often go on to commit more violent offenses, and in at least one case, obtaining a gun legally and committing a mass shooting at a medical clinic that killed one woman and injured several others. The reporting carefully traces the roots of the mass shooting, speaking with the murdered victim’s family and even interviewing the shooter in prison to find out how he was able to purchase the gun. But it also takes in the bigger picture, reviewing thousands of state court cases in which the suspects were declared mentally ill but not mandated to receive treatment. Most significantly, the series prompted action from state legislators, resulting in a change to Minnesota laws regarding competency and treatment. For its bold and persuasive reporting in addressing a specific problem and inspiring real change, The Gap: Failure to Treat, Failure to Protect is honored with a Peabody Award.