A judge started his own rehab where defendants must work at a bottling plant and other companies, under threat of prison if they don’t comply.
Shoshana Walter is a reporter for Reveal, covering criminal justice. She and Reveal reporter Amy Julia Harris exposed how courts across the country are sending defendants to rehabs that are little more than lucrative work camps for private industry. Their work was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting and won a Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists. It also led to four government investigations, including two criminal probes and four federal class-action lawsuits alleging slavery and fraud.
Walter's investigation on America's armed security guard industry revealed how armed guard licenses have been handed out to people with histories of violence, even people barred by courts from owning guns. Walter and reporter Ryan Gabrielson won the 2015 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for national reporting based on the series, which prompted new laws and an overhaul of California’s regulatory system. For her 2016 investigation about the plight of "trimmigrants," marijuana workers in California's Emerald Triangle, Walter embedded herself in illegal mountain grows and farms. There, she encountered an epidemic of sex abuse and human trafficking in the industry – and a criminal justice system focused more on the illegal drugs. The story prompted legislation, a criminal investigation and grass-roots efforts by the community, including the founding of a worker hotline and safe house.
Walter began her career as a police reporter for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida, and previously covered violent crime and the politics of policing in Oakland, California, for The Bay Citizen. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Walter is the winner of a Sigma Delta Chi Award for non-deadline reporting and a Gold Medal for Public Service from the Florida Society of News Editors. She has been a Dart Center Ochberg fellow for journalism and trauma at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim fellow in criminal justice journalism. She is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.
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.
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.
Judges across the country had ordered defendants into rehab programs that double as work camps for for-profit companies.
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