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Fractured: A public conversation

Fractured series logo

Note: This program originally aired June 29, 2023.

For the last year, WFAE, with support from PBS’ "FRONTLINE," has been investigating North Carolina’s mental health system with a focus on the incarcerated. The result was "Fractured," an investigative series, led by WFAE’s Dana Miller Ervin.

We found that more than half of the state’s inmates deemed incapable to proceed to trial due to mental illness wait more than 300 days for a state psychiatric hospital bed — but the vast majority of that population never get a bed. Charges are often dismissed because their stays in jail would be longer than the maximum sentence. They are released, often only to return to jail on similar charges.

We dove into WFAE’s findings during a special event held earlier this summer.


Dana Miller Ervin, reporter for WFAE and lead reporter for "Fractured"

Kody Kinsley, state Department of Health and Human Services secretary

Spencer Merriweather, Mecklenburg County district attorney

Richard Wells, Guilford County assistant public defender

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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.