Shannon Heffernan | WBEZ
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Shannon Heffernan

Shannon Heffernan

Reporter

Shannon is a criminal justice reporter. She's also reported on mental health, poverty, labor and climate change. 

Her reporting has earned her 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. 

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.

She co-founded of Life of the Law, a podcast and multimedia website that tells surprising stories about all things legal.

Recent Stories

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Small Change In Illinois Prisons A Big Deal For Some New Moms Behind Bars

For a mother who gave birth inside an Illinois prison, every chance to bond with her son was important.

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Costly Chicago Program For Juveniles Has Questionable Outcomes

Juvenile Justice advocates say there are better ways to use the millions of dollars the city spends on the JISC.

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Fight Over Chicago Mental Health Services Continues

More than a hundred people gathered at Malcolm X College Thursday night for a hearing on mental health services in the city of Chicago.

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Chicago Mental Health Task Force To Hold Public Hearing

The City Council voted to create the task force in order to explore what areas of the city are in most need of mental health services.

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Chicago Police Reform Monitor Lays Out Plan For Tracking Progress

Chicago agreed to make massive reforms to policing. Chicagoans now have a clearer idea of how that will be monitored.

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Questions Remain About Illinois Prisoner’s Death

The family of Larry Earvin still knows little about what happened to him in a Western Illinois prison.

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Advocates: Harm Continues After Gang Database Eliminated

Advocates fear that the fallout could cause job, housing or immigration problems for those who’d been listed.

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Cook County Bail Reform Reduced Jail Population Without More Crime

The jail population dropped by 16%, while the percentage of people charged with new crimes while out on bond held steady after reforms.

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Transgender Prisoner Asks For Clemency, Says Guards Retaliated Against Her

Strawberry Hampton said retaliation from guards for reporting physical and sexual abuse has lengthened her sentence by nine months.

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A Dozen Activists Arrested At Rally Against Chicago Police Union

Protesters demanded stronger police oversight and that the police union abandon its “racist agenda” of opposing criminal justice reforms.

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Research: Benefits Of Costly Electronic Monitoring Unclear

Advocates of monitors say they increase public safety, but a new report says there is little evidence to support that claim.

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Chicago Students Learn History Of Police Torture

Chicago agreed to pay reparations to police torture survivors. But they wanted more than cash — they wanted students to learn what happened.

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Bill Would Drastically Reduce The Use Of Electronic Monitors In Illinois

Around 2,800 people are put on an electronic monitor in Illinois.

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IL Supreme Court Finds 40 Years Is Like Life Sentence For Kids

The court offers hope of earlier release for some people serving long sentences for crimes they committed as kids.

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Foxx Texts Show She Closely Followed Smollett Case After ‘Recusal’

In texts, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx expresses concern with heavy-handed charging of actor compared to other defendants accused of more serious crimes.

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Chicago IG: Police Gang Data Unreliable, Targets People Of Color

Gang-related information is shared with over 500 agencies, but there are not proper mechanisms to ensure accuracy.

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Family Suing After Alleged Prison Beating Death

According to coroners records, Larry Earvin died after an “altercation” with prison staff. He had 15 rib fractures and multiple hemorrhages.

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Police: Man Shot At First Hispanic He Saw

The Chicago Police Department is pursuing possible hate crime charges in shooting of off-duty officer, according to Superintendent Johnson.

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Jury Awards $5 Million To Family Alleging Police Planted Gun After Shooting

A jury sided with the family of a 37-year-old man who was shot to death by Chicago police in 2014.

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Mayoral Candidates Question Keeping Cop Who Wrongly Shot Teen

The candidates are expressing concern over the decision to keep a cop on the job after it was determined he wrongfully shot a disabled teen.

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