More Screwy Industry Publicity? –

May 25, 2018 – People in need of drug rehab have a few options. For those with money or insurance, there are residential programs that cost thousands of dollars. Otherwise, there are programs that promise treatment for people willing to work full-time and give up their pay. Sometimes the state sends people there instead of jail.

Investigative reporter Shoshana Walter has spent months looking into these programs for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. She has uncovered what she describes as a new class of indentured workers – people who do hard labor for no money, often with serious health risks and minimal addiction counseling. Her latest report digs into a program that sends addicts to work as caregivers for elderly and disabled patients.

Shoshana Walter, welcome to the program.

SHOSHANA WALTER: Thanks so much for having me.

SHAPIRO: Many drug offenders come to these rehab programs from the criminal justice system. Explain how that process works.

WALTER: Absolutely. So in recent years, states have experienced a huge amount of overcrowding of the prison system. And so what many courts have started trying to do is to send people instead of prison into other alternatives like rehab or treatment. And that’s where a lot of abuses tend to come in. A lot of these programs are unlicensed, and there’s really no one checking to make sure they’re not abusing participants.

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