About Jo: I am a veteran journalist at the Bucks County Courier Times and currently its second-longest tenured news employee. I started getting paid for writing at age 19. I am a shameless cat lady. Active workaholic. I teach indoor cycling classes. I’m on SATC Team Samantha. Hamilton is work of musical genius. Inexhaustibly passionate about voicing untold stories, holding those in power accountable, finding truth and showing fairness.
A fun fact about me: My first paying job as a journalist was writing reviews for a weekly newspaper of New Hope Playhouse productions.
Favorite story of 2021: Was it necessary for Bucks corrections officers to use force against mentally ill woman 6 times?
Why do I consider it my best work? Research suggests that incarceration can trigger a mental health crisis. Kim Stringer had a long history of serious mental illness when she was a Bucks County inmate in 2020, and she was in the throes of a break from reality when she was arrested for allegedly punching a neighbor. Her parents later learned during her two months of incarceration Kim was subjected to multiple uses of force including pepper spray before she was transferred to a state psychiatric hospital.
But exactly what happened to Kim, why and how many times remained a mystery, until this news organization got some of those records. Those documents and policies provided the a window into how Bucks County uses force against inmates experiencing symptoms of mental illness and shows gaps in county policies that appear to contradict when force is considered appropriate and do not treat inmates exhibiting behaviors that are symptoms of mental illness differently than those who do not.
Other favorite stories of 2021:
One mystery solved, another starts Publicker Jane Doe case: Local police detective bound and determined to give Lisa Todd justice
The crime of mental illness: Inside the Yardley standoff: How years of mental health decline led to the shooting of a police chief
Editor's note: Editors and reporters for the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer are using this final week of the year to share with our subscribers a little about ourselves, our favorite stories of the year and a sampling of our best work.
We thank our subscribers for allowing us to serve you with our local journalism. We hope you enjoy the look back at the year and learn a little bit about us, too. We appreciate your support.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Best of journalism: Investigative reporter Jo Ciavaglia shares top stories