“Cerise Castle’s investigative journalism tenaciously unmasks extremism in our institutions. This includes a series of reports revealing a history of deputy gangs in Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which has led to legal action. This is high-stakes and revelatory work, reported with grit and bravery.”

2023 Judges

Cerise Castle is a freelance journalist specializing in arts and culture, civil rights, crime, and human-interest stories. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

In 2021, Cerise published a 15-part series uncovering deputy gangs operating inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for Knock LA, a nonprofit journalism site. The series exposed 18 gangs, 19 documented murders (all of whom were people of color), and over $100 million dollars in lawsuits paid for by the people of Los Angeles. Cerise continued to do reporting on this topic late in 2021 and well into 2022.
A podcast of the same name and subject matter was released in October 2022.

Previously, Cerise produced podcast series for Audible, iHeartMedia, and Wondery, as well as segments for VICE News and NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.” Her reporting has been featured in The Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Times, and MTV. In 2022, the International Women’s Media Foundation awarded Cerise a Courage in Journalism Award.

Cerise continues to report on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.