Judges steer defendants into work camps for private industry

Across the country, judges increasingly are sending defendants to rehab instead of prison or jail. These diversion courts have become the bedrock of criminal justice reform, aiming to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons.  But in the rush to spare people with addiction from prison, judges are steering defendants into rehabs that often are little…

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California port trucking companies forced drivers into debt, left them with nothing

USA TODAY NETWORK published its first in an investigative series, Rigged, today about the mistreatment of truckers based out of two major California ports.  Port trucking companies buried their poor, immigrant workers in debt, worked them past exhaustion and then left them with nothing. This ongoing investigation shows how executives pressed drivers to lease trucks…

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Risk of asbestos exposure increases with renovation boom

As renovation work soars in Massachusetts, the risk of running into asbestos embedded in old buildings also increases, putting some laborers in grave danger. After analyzing five years of enforcement cases, The Eye and WBUR found that huge gaps exist between what state and federal regulators say are mandated safety standards and what’s actually happening…

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Only 30 percent of San Diego County wage theft complaints result in payments

In an investigation of wage theft in San Diego County, inewsource found that only 30 percent of cases filed with the state Labor Commissioner’s Office over the last five years resulted in workers getting the wages they’re owed. Their analysis of wage complaint data also revealed that employers in San Diego County owe $2 million…

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Investigation finds hundreds of workers confined to American fishing boats

An investigation by the Associated Press found that around 700 undocumented men from Southeast Asian and Pacific Island nations are working dangerous fishing jobs on American boats where they are confined for years. They found instances of human trafficking, tuberculosis, insufficient food supplies and 20-hour work days on many of the boats. Some of the…

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Global supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves

Shrimp peeled by slaves is ending up in U.S. supermarkets, restaurants and the supply chains of major seafood brands and pet food companies, according to an ongoing investigation by the Associated Press. Reporters found nearly 100 Burmese migrants working in the Gig Peeling Factory in in Samut Sakhon, Thailand. The factories, which are actually sheds,…

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Wealthy foreigners can buy visas through poorly regulated EB-5 program

U.S. immigration is a maze. Unless you’re rich. Thousands of wealthy foreigners have entered the U.S. through the EB-5 visa program, despite concerns of fraud and threats to national security, according to an investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. A firearms dealer, an attorney who has represented dozens of criminals coming into the country, businessmen linked…

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Disease victims often shut out of workers’ comp system

Receiving compensation for obvious on-the-job injuries like amputations is difficult enough in the United States.Those suffering from gradual disease brought on by chemicals and other environmental problems almost never see any money. The Center for Public Integrity found that several states require that claims be made within a few years of the last known exposure,…

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Small farms – exempt from workplace safety rules – see more and more deaths

As workplace accidents across the country have declined over the last decade, the number of Midwestern farm deaths has climbed 30 percent. And even though farms have eclipsed mines and construction sites as deadly workplaces, government safety regulators rarely investigate farm workers’ deaths, according to a four-part investigation by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Farmers are…

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Insurance fraud prosecutors draw paycheck from Texas Mutual

Every month, the Travis County district attorney’s office prosecutes fraud cases against people who’ve filed workers’ compensation claims with the Texas Mutual Insurance Company. And every month, Texas Mutual cuts the DA’s office a check for its trouble — totaling $4.7 million since 2001, according to a three-part joint investigation by the Texas Tribune and…

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