Judges Send People To Christian Rehab Center, A Chicken Farm, To Provide Free Labor

Judges across the U.S. are reportedly sending people with addictions and people who are not addicted to Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery (CAAIR), which is actually a chicken farm in northeastern Oklahoma where people are forced to provide free labor.

Reveal News notes that the chicken farm is a poultry plant where workers remove “guts and stray feathers from slaughtered chickens destined for major fast food restaurants and grocery stores.”

CAAIR was created in 2007 by chicken company executives who formed a Christian rehab to “supply plants with a cheap and captive labor force while helping men overcome their addictions,” according to Reveal News.

CAAIR reportedly houses about 200 men, most of whom “work full time at Simmons Foods Inc., a company with annual revenue of $1.4 billion. They slaughter and process chickens for some of America’s largest retailers and restaurants, including Walmart, KFC and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. They also make pet food for PetSmart and Rachael Ray’s Nutrish brand.”

The CAAIR website states: “CAAIR, (Christian Alcoholics and Addicts in Recovery) is a faith based, long term drug and alcohol recovery program. The CAAIR program has a vision and growth strategy for men who want a second chance in life to become free from drugs and alcohol. The CAAIR program is based on the philosophy of change to achieve a clean and sober life for the clients. We request a minimum of (1) one year stay in our program. After the client successfully completes the requirements of the program, a certificate of completion and a monetary gift will be awarded.”

Reveal News notes that men’s “hands became gnarled after days spent hanging thousands of chickens from metal shackles. One man said he was burned with acid while hosing down a trailer. Others were maimed by machines or contracted serious bacterial infections.”

While the 13th Amendment bans slavery and involuntary servitude, it does not apply to convicts, which is why these types of prison labor programs are legal.

However, Reveal News reports that many people who are sent to CAAIR have not yet been convicted of crimes, and some have had their cases dismissed.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma may take legal action against CAAIR, but CAAIR’s founder and CEO Janet Wilkerson claims CAAIR is helping the men out by having them perform the free labor:

Money is an obstacle for so many of these men. We’re not going to charge them to come here, but they’re going to have to work. That’s a part of recovery, getting up like you and I do every day and going to a job.

The men do not get paid for their jobs, like most Americans, but CAAIR reportedly makes more than $11 million in revenue, per tax filings.

Despite its massive profits, CAAIR claims to be a non-profit on its website: “CAAIR INC. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that functions in large part to individuals like you who generously give. All gifts are tax deductible.”

Simmons Foods, which benefits from CAAIR free labor, has repeatedly laid off paid employees who have been replaced by the rehab workers.

Former Simmons Foods staff members and plant supervisors told Reveal News that Simmons relies so much on this free labor that its plants probably would shut down without it.

Donny Epp, a spokesman for Simmons Foods, said: “It’s about building relationships with our community and supporting the opportunity to help people become productive citizens.”

(Source: Reveal News, CAAIR, CAAIR, Photo Credit: Javier Lastras/Flickr)

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