Her reporting has earned her a Third Coast International Audio Festival Award, a National Murrow Award for best writing and a PRINDI for best writing, as well as awards from the Illinois AP and Chicago Headline Club. She worked on the 16 Shots podcast, which was a Scripps Howard finalist. Her work has been heard on local and national programming, including This American Life.
Shannon also writes short fictional stories and has been published Hobart, The Indiana Review and The Columbia Review, where she won the 2016 prize for fiction.
Stories by Shannon Heffernan
In the 1980s Illinois leaders held a competition, where rural towns competed to “win” prisons and the jobs that come with them.
Two Illinois prison guards were tried for beating Larry Earvin to death. We try to make sense of the trial and what it says about prisons.
A man goes into prison with a 7 year sentence. But ends up getting 97 more years. How does that happen? And what do small town politics have to do with it?
State investigators interrogate a high-ranking prison guard, who is accused of coordinating attacks on prisoners.
Two Black women took mental health jobs at one of Illinois’ toughest prisons. What happened when they reported what they saw behind the wall.
Men in an Illinois prison said they were beaten in a spot with no security cameras. But no one took action, until someone died.
Small towns. Big walls. A good place to hide things. Stories and scandals from prisons in rural America.
A civil-rights group wants the governor to commute sentences for 43 people whose mental health and behavior deteriorated in solitary.
Advocates and lawmakers say independent oversight of prisons is needed, after a WBEZ investigation into beatings by guards.
At an Illinois prison, evidence of abuse in a camera blind spot went ignored for years: “Those officers thought … ‘We can completely get away with this.’ ”