Watchdog: Accountability

Toil, abuse and endurance in the heartland

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For more than 30 years, a few dozen men with intellectual disabilities — affecting their reasoning and learning — lived in a dot of a place called Atalissa, Iowa. Every morning before dawn, they were sent to eviscerate turkeys at a processing plant, in return for food, lodging, the occasional diversion and $65 a month. For more than 30 years.

Their supervisors never gave the men the choices in life granted by decades of advancement in disability civil rights. Increasingly neglected and abused, the men remained in heartland servitude for most of their adult lives.

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