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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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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After $100 million in budget cuts, violence is on the rise in Florida’s mental hospitals

An investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune found that violent attacks at Florida’s six largest mental hospitals have doubled since 2009. Nearly 1,000 patients hurt themselves or someone else. At least 15 people died. Reporters spent more than a year talking to patients and their relatives; examining police, government and hospital…

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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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After an officer’s death, families wait — and wait — for government benefits

After a police officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty, their family mourns them, their communities memorialize them — and federal death benefits are supposed to reach their family within 90 days.  For hundreds of families, that 90-day wait can stretch into months and sometimes years, according to a nationwide investigation by the…

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Fatal Extraction: Australian mining in Africa

A new multimedia and interactive project shows an on-the-ground look at the hundreds of people who have died in mining accidents connected to Australian companies in 13 countries in Africa. The Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists show first-hand accounts from people across Africa that are rarely shared outside of…

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Coffee roasters’ health at risk from chemical compound, air samples suggest

Air samples collected by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at two Wisconsin coffee roasteries found concentrations of diacetyl that exceeded proposed safety standards from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This chemical compound had devastating effects on microwave popcorn workers and those in the flavoring industry. Many workers were unaware that their jobs posed any danger…

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Cirque du Soleil show has one of the highest rates of workplace injuries

Cirque du Soleil’s Kà features a dizzying array of bodies suspended in the air. The show also had one of the highest rates of serious injuries of any workplace in the country, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of safety records. A fatality during a performance in 2013 put in stark relief the question…

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Workers Alerted Company To Problems With Roof Before Collapse

Employees of the Woodgrain Millwork in Prineville, Oregon noticed several signs of a roof collapsing —  it had large, visible holes and when it rained, puddles of water collected on the floor. However, even after supervisors were notified and the bowing roof inspected, no action was taken by the company.  Then, one night after a…

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