A federal suit claims an Oklahoma company extorts thousands of people too poor to pay their court debts, without hearings required by law.
The state’s Senate majority leader is accused of participating in “a pervasive scheme of slavery.”
It is the second class-action lawsuit filed against the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program prompted by an investigation by Reveal.
The move comes following a Reveal investigation into unpaid labor from drug rehab program participants.
Rehabilitation centers put men to work for free in chicken processing plants and a plastic manufacturer, under threat of prison.
“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.
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?”