KARE 11 (Minneapolis) Investigates, 2023
KARE11 revealed how repeat offenders deemed too mentally ill to stand trial for violent crimes were routinely being released into the community without treatment or supervision. This impactful investigative reporting project led to transformative bipartisan legislation in Minnesota.
The reporting documented violent crimes – including four local murders – that involved mentally ill suspects who had been charged for previous violent offenses but released. The project exposed systemic failure in Minnesota to protect the public by adequately addressing the problem of treating and supervising mentally ill individuals with violent criminal histories.
KARE11 investigative reporters built their own database and documented dozens of violent crimes involving mentally ill suspects who were released then subsequently arrested and charged for committing the same type of crime again.
The multi-platform project, led by KARE11 investigative reporters A.J. Lagoe and Brandon Stahl, is based on hundreds of public records requests, appeals of denials, review of thousands of pages of criminal and mental health court filings and dozens of interviews.
As a result of the investigation, the Minnesota legislature passed a bipartisan bill to address the systemic gaps KARE 11 exposed, including one that allowed people with mental illness and criminal histories to legally purchase firearms.
The legislature also earmarked funding to enact reforms, including establishment of a statewide competency restoration system and the hiring of more than 120 people to provide oversight, promote prevention and implement diversion programs to keep those with mental illness issues from re-entering the criminal justice system.