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Journalism in the Public Interest

Racist Temp Hiring, a Guest Worker Empire and More in Muckreads Weekly

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email?  Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend.

This Boy's Life, The Marshall Project

He threw a punch during a street fight when he was 16 years old and ended up getting life in prison. This is the story of Taurus Buchanan, one of more than 2,230 Americans serving life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles.

When companies hire temp workers by race, black applicants lose out, Reveal News

The temp industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country, with nearly 3 million temp jobs filled every month. It's also home to widespread discrimination, as temp agencies routinely block minority job candidates despite laws that make the practice illegal.

The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare, The New York Times Magazine

When Rob Bilott took on a West Virginia farmer's lawsuit against DuPont, his specialty was defending chemical companies, not suing them. But as Bilott pored over internal company documents,  he discovered DuPont officials knew they had been pumping a potentially harmful substance called PFOA into the ground for decades. Sixteen years later, he's still fighting the chemical company.

Data Indicates Even More New York Landlords Duck Rent Limits, ProPublica

For over 20 years, officials have said there are 1 million rent stabilized apartments in New York City. But that figure might be off by about 200,000, according to a ProPublica analysis of state housing data. As Governor Cuomo tackles scofflaw landlords, state data indicates that the problem might be much worse.

The Coyote, Buzzfeed

The H-2 federal visa program allows "guest workers" to come into the United States for temporary jobs. Stan Eury used it to create an empire, helping import hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers for jobs. Meanwhile, "he has waged and won battle after battle in the courts and in Congress to push wages down, to reduce regulation, to bat back worker protections, and to discourage and disqualify American job seekers," BuzzFeed reports.

Wall Street Fine Print: Retirees Want FBI Probe Of Pension Investment Deals, International Business Times

Pensioners in Rhode Island uncovered a bit of fine print in their pension management — $79 million worth in fees last year. As more states shift pension funds into "alternative investments," retirees are calling for federal scrutiny of deals that are generating millions for Wall Street firms at the expense of pensioner returns.

Broward Court fails mentally ill people, Sun Sentinel ($)

Broward County, Florida, launched its mental health court 12 years ago to help move the mentally ill quickly through the criminal justice system. In reality, people charged in the court actually spend more than six times longer than in the regular system.

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