Amanda Peacher, Kate Concannon, Frankie Barnhill, Lacey Daley and James Dawson have been named the winners of the Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism for the podcast LOCKED: a disturbing crime, a desperate act and how one case could change the way prisons treat some transgender inmates. The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced the honor Wednesday. The award is presented with support from the Gannett Foundation.
The six-episode podcast follows the story of an Idaho inmate named Adree Edmo, who, in a precedent-setting case, sued the state of Idaho for sex reassignment surgery and won. The story is centered on Edmo, who has a complex backstory growing up on the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation at Fort Hall in eastern Idaho.
“This is not an easy story to listen to. It’s dark. The subjects are challenging and the central figure is complicated,” said Amanda Peacher, host and lead reporter. “But we took on this project knowing that this is an important story, and that Adree Edmo’s case had the potential to effect transgender inmates and our criminal justice system nationwide. Sometimes, the most challenging and uncomfortable stories are those we need to most lean into.”
LOCKED breaks down the constitutional rights of inmates under the 8th Amendment, explains gender confirmation surgery and when it’s necessary, and explores how Edmo’s case could establish new medical care standards for certain transgender inmates.
"We’re proud of LOCKED and honored by this award,” said Kate Concannon, managing editor for the Mountain West News Bureau and the LOCKED podcast. “This is a complex and challenging story and the issues at its center are incredibly sensitive. The podcast format allowed us to approach this story with the nuance, depth and care it warranted, and to take creative risks that you might not hear in a typical public radio story.”
The LOCKED team just released its final podcast episode, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined the state of Idaho’s request to put Adree Edmo’s surgery on hold. Edmo’s surgery is now slated to take place this July, and at that point she’ll be the first transgender inmate in the nation to get the procedure through a court order.
LOCKED is a collaboration between The Mountain West News Bureau and Boise State Public Radio. The podcast has also received a regional Edward R. Murrow award.