Alisa Roth is a print & radio reporter. Her book about mental illness & and the criminal justice system, Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, is out now from Basic Books.
Her work has been broadcast on Marketplace, NPR, and The World; her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and Gastronomica, among other publications.
As a 2014-2015 Soros Justice Fellow, Alisa spent a year investigating the growing role of jails and prisons as our de facto mental healthcare system. She has visited the country’s three largest psychiatric care providers, Rikers Island in New York City, the Cook County Jail in Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Jail in LA, and her research has included dozens of interviews with prisoners and their families, psychiatrists, lawyers, wardens, corrections officers and others.
Alisa’s previous journalism has taken her around the world: she has interviewed Syrian refugees in Turkey, Egyptian migrants in Jordan, Afghan asylum seekers in Germany, unemployed autoworkers in Michigan, and women who work as day laborers in New York City.
As a long-time staff reporter in the New York bureau of Marketplace, she covered economic justice and the auto industry. She also worked as an independent producer in Germany and a newspaper reporter in California. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin and her reporting has been funded by grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Reporting Project, and the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Her essay about the Syrian refugee crisis is included in Flight from Syria: Refugee Stories, an e-book published by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.