PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal Department of Justice investigation has found that thousands of Rhode Island residents with disabilities are "unnecessarily segregated" in state-licensed day programs and other settings.

Justice Department officials say the segregation is violating the residents' federal civil rights and they're recommending that state officials develop appropriate alternatives to the current system. The investigative report was released earlier this month and is part of a federal review that began last year.

The Providence Journal reports ( ) the review found that disabled adults capable of working in the community were steered instead to nearly 40 state-licensed day programs where they performed rote tasks for $2.21 an hour.

State officials say they're taking the report's findings very seriously and they've been working to improve employment and day services for the disabled.

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