One of the things I talk about in Raymond’s Room is how some agencies in the disability industrial complex have lost touch with their mission. This recently came to light again in Minnesota. An AP article from January 21 wrote about the Star Tribune’s investigation of Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI). MDI plans to layoff 250-300 workers, many of whom are workers with disabilities in their workshop making around minimum wage. At the same time, it seems the MDI management staff (and sometimes spouses) are provided “executive entertainment” including parties, spa vacations, and golf outings. On one trip to a casino, the executive director handed out $100 bills to gamble with.
As I point out in the book, this kind of behavior is not typical of the system, but it is symptomatic of the incoherence of the segregated model and the rules it works under. Segregation leads to powerlessness, and this type of self-indulgence is only one of the more obvious results.