Jim Hendren’s use of a work camp program shows how beneficiaries of unpaid labor stretch from top companies to high levels of state political power.
Rehabilitation centers put men to work for free in chicken processing plants and a plastic manufacturer, under threat of prison.
Because of the intervention, many recovery programs in Oklahoma remain exempt from state oversight.
“A more religiously coercive environment is scarcely imaginable,” says the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Men in the program work for free, under constant threat of being sent to prison, on products for big-name brands, including Popeyes, KFC and Walmart.
Brad McGahey was sentenced to a year in prison for buying a stolen horse trailer. But when he went before a judge, he was sent to CAAIR instead.
Judges across the country had ordered defendants into rehab programs that double as work camps for for-profit companies.
Reveal’s Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter investigate an Oklahoma recovery center called Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, or CAAIR.
“That sounds like something from the early 1900s. And this is going on right now? And how is it legal?”
We found a slew of rehab programs that supply cheap and captive workers to major poultry companies, such as Tyson Foods and Simmons Foods.