Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.
Drugs Used for Psychotics Go to Youths in Foster Care, New York Times
To deal with behavioral problems, doctors are treating foster care children with the same powerful drugs prescribed to people with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. Two percent of foster children took one of the drugs, according to a survey, despite the disorders being “extremely rare in young children.”
Contributed by @bponsot
The Surveillance Catalog, the Wall Street Journal
A searchable trove of documents related to the “off-the-shelf surveillance technology that has arisen” since 9/11. They were obtained from attendees of a secretive conference, and include hacking tools that “can gather all Internet communications in a country.”
A Neighborhood in Peril: Dangerous Chromium Spreads Through Garfield Groundwater, the Record
Chromium, a toxic chemical, has seeped into homes in Garfield, N.J. for almost three decades, and The Record traces it back to governmental mismanagement. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection “showed poor judgment, lax enforcement and bureaucratic indifference to an emerging public health threat,” the Record wrote. Officials agree that the case was not handled well decades ago, and it could costs tens of millions of taxpayer money to clean up.
Contributed by Michael Simonson via email
Volume of Youth Transfers to Adult Jail Questioned, Scripps Howard News Service
Judges say the transfer of juvenile suspects to criminal court, which opens the possibility of landing them in adult jail, are meant for youths accused of violent crimes. But of the 9,000 times per year it happens, just two out of five children are accused of violent crimes, with most charged with crimes involving drugs, weapons or property.
Contributed by @SDulai