Bauer won Medill's John Bartlow Martin Award for his piece “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard,” which was published in the July/August 2016 edition of Mother Jones magazine.
To report the story, Bauer got a job at a federal prison run by Corrections Corporation of America in Winnfield, Louisiana. The piece revealed poor security, poor training for guards and dangerous conditions for inmates and guards alike. Bauer paired his onsite reporting with deep dives into Department of Justice data, lawsuits and interviews with former CCA employees and inmates.
The piece also won a National Magazine Award in the “Best Reporting” category, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics, the John Jay Award in Criminal Justice Reporting, the Izzy Stone Award, and the Michael Kelly Award. Mother Jones also won “Magazine of the Year” at the National Magazine Awards.