City Limits magazine's May 2011 report on staff sexual abuse of women inmates in New York State prisons won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Magazine Investigative Reporting (Regional/Local Circulation), the national Society of Professional Journalists announced Tuesday.

In "Behind Bars," reporter and writer Kelly Virella found flaws in state policies for recording, investigating and punishing sexual abuse.

Designer Anthony Smyrski, photographer Marc Fader and editor Jarrett Murphy share the honor with Virella. Also essential to the project were Community Service Society general counsel Judy Whiting, Alyssa Misner of the James Mintz Group, and interns Catherine Dunn, Becca Fink, Isabella Moschen, Joshua Peguero, Barry Shifrin and Tiffany Walden. The work was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Behind Bars has already won a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), as well as recognition from the 2012 John Jay College/H.F. Guggenheim Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Awards.

Virella, a former City Limits deputy editor, is the founder and editor of Dominion of New York, a site featuring thoughtful coverage of political and cultural issues affecting black New Yorkers.

City Limits won the same honor in 2011 for its September 2010 reporting on the cost and health implications on New York's shift to synthetic turf in parks.