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Exchange Exemplar: Exploiting The Labor Of People With Disabilities

Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
The actual bunkhouse the men lived in.

On some level, it made sense to get people out of mental health institutions and give them jobs.  But the way it was done in Texas, it violated human dignity and the law. 

Men with intellectual disabilities were taken to Iowa to work on a turkey farm, working and living in conditions that resembled slavery.  Dan Barry of the New York Times told their story in The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland.  Dan Barry visited in mid-2016 to talk about his book, and we take up the interview anew. 

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.