“Kids for Cash”

With all the problems plaguing juvenile justice, we really don’t need added corruption. Judge Mark Ciavarella from Pennsylvania was under suspicion for his “assembly line” service of juvenile offenders. Kids would be in and out of his courtroom in minutes and most of them were sentenced to detention facilities. Instead of state run facilities, the juveniles in his courtroom were sentenced to two particular private facilities. Under Ciavarella there was a 21% detention placement rate, up from the 4.5% detention placement rate with the prior judge.

This article outlines some of the offenses which landed kids in these detention centers:

A 10-year-old girl who accidentally set her bedroom on fire spent a month in a detention center.

A 13-year-old boy got 48 days for throwing a steak at his mother’s boyfriend during an argument. Ciavarella locked up another 13-year-old boy for failing to testify against a fellow student who brought a knife to a school dance.

A 15-year-old was sentenced to a boot camp for “an indefinite period” after she wrote a prank note that was deemed a “terroristic threat.”

A 16-year-old spent a month in a boot camp for creating a MySpace page that made fun of her high school’s assistant principal.

A 17-year-old boy charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, his first offense, served a total of five months.… <Read More>