Pulitzer Prize recognition puts disability coverage in the spotlight

Two major investigations into the treatment of people with disabilities in assisted living facilities were finalists in the “Public Service” category of the Pulitzer Prizes, the nation’s most prestigious awards for excellence in journalism.

Gold Medal 2012
Pulitzer Prize Finalists

The New York Times was recognized for its “Abused and Used” series, an ongoing investigation into the state’s network of more than 2,000 group homes.

The series, reported by Danny Hakim and Russ Buettner, uncovered more than 1,200 unexplained deaths during the past decade, leading to the firing of two state officials, and the passage of new oversight legislation.

The Miami Herald was recognized for its “Neglected to Death” series, a series that ran in May 2011 that revealed ongoing abuse and poor oversight into the state’s system of assisted living facilities.

In response to the reporting Carol Marbin Miller, Michael Sallah and Rob Barry, the state of Florida closed down 13 facilities and imposed the state’s harshest penalties on 34 others, according to a Miami Herald article <link no longer available>.

The finalists and winners of the awards were announced April 16.