The Association for Women in Communications has awarded Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey with the 2011 Clarion Award for newspaper feature writing:
Lacey’s “What’s Mom Worth?” appeared in Phoenix New Times and told the story of Deborah Braillard, an insulin-dependent diabetic who suffered in agony for three days after jail deputies refused her medical attention because they wrong assumed she was a drug addict undergoing withdrawal.
Told through the use of distinct sections that featured the first-person voices of numerous witnesses, Lacey’s story, inspired by the structure of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, was a departure from ordinary newspaper storytelling. Through extensive interviews and deposition testimony, the article illustrated how [Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio’s indifference to the suffering of inmates had permeated the jail to the point that diabetics and others with medical conditions were routinely denied humane treatment.
Braillard died three days after being arrested for methamphetamine possession.