U.S. judges admit to jailing children for money

from Reuters:

U.S. judges admit to jailing children for money

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Two judges pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting more than $2.6 million from a private youth detention center in Pennsylvania in return for giving hundreds of youths and teenagers long sentences.

   Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, entered plea agreements in federal court in Scranton admitting that they took payoffs from PA Childcare and a sister company, Western PA Childcare, between 2003 and 2006.

When someone is sent to a detention center, the company running the facility receives money from the county government to defray the cost of incarceration. So as more children were sentenced to the detention center, PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare received more money from the government, prosecutors said.

   Teenagers who came before Ciavarella in juvenile court often were sentenced to detention centers for minor offenses that would typically have been classified as misdemeanors, according to the Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit group.
   One 17-year-old boy was sentenced to three months' detention for being in the company of another minor caught shoplifting.
   Others were given similar sentences for "simple assault" resulting from a schoolyard scuffle that would normally draw a warning, a spokeswoman for the Juvenile Law Center said.

Selling Senate seats is one thing but this is truly horrid. I hope these judges do some hard time, not in some cosy minimum-security joint.

Wow. Talk about corruption.

I’m from there. Everyone that knows these guys has known that they are guilty of this for the past few years. I’m surprised it took the media so long to pick it up. They are definitely guilty. And the corruption spreads beyond just those judges. The vast majority of judges are corrupt.

And people wonder why I have no desire to go back to PA :shrug:

I was wondering that – if they’re sending teens away for offences that don’t normally merit it, don’t (at least some) prosecutors have to be in on it?

The judges in many cases were handing down harsher punishments than the prosecutors sought. That should have been a tipoff.

It’s the result of the demagoguery of being hard on crime. First we make more and more activities a crime. With children we abandon being adults and try as many children as possible as adults. We cater to the basest fears and then are “Shocked! Shocked!!! to find” there are problems and corruption. Nifong, the bozo in Arizona who wanted to try a 9 y/o as an adult, scaring people into admitting to crimes, Michael Phelps doing what 80% (and lets face it another 10% are liars!) of young adults have done including Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, legislators, police, DAs have done, but were lucky enough not to get caught.

Our criminal justice system is badly broken, ineffective, hypocritical, stupid and counterproductive. We have a prison population rivaling that of the old USSR and we can’t tell that water boarding is torture. We are nuts as a nation and we need to pull our heads out of our collective tookas on this issue.

It’s the result of the demagoguery of being hard on crime. First we make more and more activities a crime. With children we abandon being adults and try as many children as possible as adults. We cater to the basest fears and then are “Shocked! Shocked!!! to find” there are problems and corruption. Nifong, the bozo in Arizona who wanted to try a 9 y/o as an adult, scaring people into admitting to crimes, Michael Phelps doing what 80% (and lets face it another 10% are liars!) of young adults have done including Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, legislators, police, DAs have done, but were lucky enough not to get caught.

Amen.

John

One of the side effects of this scandal is that every prison term these judges handed down will likely have to be set aside, freeing not only those unjustly sentenced, but also those from whom society legitimately needed protection from.

originally posted by johnnykins
It’s the result of the demagoguery of being hard on crime. First we make more and more activities a crime. With children we abandon being adults and try as many children as possible as adults. We cater to the basest fears and then are “Shocked! Shocked!!! to find” there are problems and corruption.

I am not sure we can relate this to being hard on crime. These were two corrupt judges who were taking bribes. This is more in line with government corruption; how government programs are funded and how some agencies misuse the system.

If this was a juvenile rehabilitation facility, the longest sentence could have been about three or four years. So the biggest question is how to unring a bell – what do you do with kids unjustly sentenced who are now out?

Doesn’t all this make folks re-think the death penalty? Imagine if this was folks being sentenced to die. What would we do to make it right to those executed? Buy them nice gravestones?

Proper restitution should include being paid first from the judges pockets they lined, second from the company and lastly from the government entity that was stupid enough to have contract corrections.

No, it doesn’t make me rethink the death penalty, as I do not see it applying. Those cases get multiple appeals through at least three different layer of the judiciary. Such a case of single corruption could not apply there.

Gam I really think it is all part of the same bag. The asinine state of the criminal justice system and related corruption, stupidity, disrespect for the law (because it has become so stupid) all feed into a sytem that has been corrupted by demagoguery - IMHO.

Look back at prohibition - a “get tough” on the evils associated with drink. It led directly to corruption, increased crime, disrespect for the law, etc., etc.

Now go to the “hanging” juvenile court judges - NO ONE questions it for years because they are all going to JH. Plus we have a large JH system Now since we’re getting tough on kids - the little worthless rats! With a large system the opportunities for graft are ripe.

We’ve lost our sense of proportion, right, wrong and ability to act as adults with respect to children.

Sorry, but the “hang 'em all” “get tough” “three strikes you’re out” stupidity is the source of much corruption, waste and we need to get it back under control.

Part of the problem here was having for-profit private jails. Take away the profit motive and this wouldn’t have happened.

originally posted** by johnnykins**
We’ve lost our sense of proportion, right, wrong and ability to act as adults with respect to children.

When we talk about tough on crime, I think we are talking mainly about adults and real crime. Yet children can rob and kill - some of it may be gang related but the other person is still dead.

These two judges were corrupted and hopefully they were an isolated few. I personally don’t believe they represent the whole system but we may hear more about this happening in other states so I’ll wait and see.

Just when you believe you’ve heard the lowest of the low, something like this comes up.

Unbelievable.

John

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