TULSA, OK – Following reports that Christian Alcoholics and Addicts in Recovery (CAAIR) is operating forced labor camps disguised as rehabilitation centers, American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in Arkansas and Oklahoma announced they are investigating allegations of abuse by the organization.
A report by the Center on Investigative Reporting interviewed several individuals who were sent to CAAIR by the courts for “rehabilitation,” only to be forced to work in harsh conditions and without pay in chicken processing plants. CAAIR also admitted to pocketing workers’ compensation insurance payments owed to workers who were injured in the plants.
The following statement is attributable to Brady Henderson, Legal Director, ACLU of Oklahoma:
“CAAIR is so pale an imitation of actual rehabilitation that it cannot be considered rehabilitation at all. By sentencing people with addiction to unpaid labor, courts are effectively conscripting the people they claim to be helping into indentured servitude. This practice is a clear violation of multiple laws, is likely unconstitutional, and is certainly morally reprehensible. The ACLU is undertaking a serious investigation into these crimes and encourages any victims of this unlawful scheme to contact us immediately.”
The following statement is attributable to Holly Dickson, Legal Director, ACLU of Arkansas:
“Those sentenced to CAAIR expecting reputable treatment were sold a false bill of goods. Instead of addiction treatment, victims of this and similar schemes found themselves forced to work with little to no pay in incredibly dangerous and inhumane conditions under threat of going to prison. This system allows corporations to profit on the backs of people our government claims to help. As we investigate this, it is important to consider how much the governments of Oklahoma and Arkansas knew about these abuses, and that they take steps to ensure no other people will fall prey to this scheme. ”
Persons who have been sentenced to or affected by these or similar programs should be in contact with the ACLU affiliate for the state in which they were sentenced.
Individuals sentenced in Arkansas can contact the ACLU of Arkansas at: https://www.acluarkansas.org/Get-Help