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NPR News justice reporter Ari Shapiro has been selected for the American Bar Association's 2007 Silver Gavel Award for Radio. His investigative report – "Judge Vows to Free Inmates Held Since Katrina" – about New Orleans inmates who became lost in the criminal justice system following Hurricane Katrina, is one of just six Silver Gavel Awards presented by the ABA this year. Silver Gavels are the ABA's highest honor in recognition of media and the arts.
In the report, which aired on the NPR newsmagazine Morning Edition in August 2006, Shapiro investigated injustices in the New Orleans prison system a year after Hurricane Katrina and found that dozens of inmates were essentially "lost" in the system due to a shortage of public defenders. He reported on how several inmates had never seen a lawyer, while others were being held well past their scheduled release dates and one judgeâ€™s efforts to release them. Shapiro shares the Silver Gavel Award with Barbara Campbell, editor, and Emily Ochsenschlager, producer. The audio of the report is available here.
The Silver Gavel Awards are presented by the American Bar Association to projects in media and the arts that foster the publicâ€™s understanding of the law. No more than one award is presented in each category. This year, the ABA is presenting six Silver Gavels and five Honorable Mentions among more than 220 entries received in all eligible categories. Winners will be recognized at a ceremony on July 24 in Washington, D.C.