This is news that you can’t make up, nor should never think of having to make up — for any reason. Two judges in Luzerne County, PA have been sentencing children to private detention centers (kid prisons) in exchange for kickbacks. Often this was done over the objections of the probation officers (and the probation officers were ordered by the judges to change their recommendations in several cases). The kickbacks amounted to more than $2.6 million!
On Democracy Now this morning, Amy Goodman interviewed two kids who had been unfairly sentenced. One had slapped her friend back and wrote about it and the assistant principal on Facebook. She spent 11 months in jail for her crime. Another person, a young man, got 90 days (but spent 4.5 months) in the system because his female friend stole CDs from WalMart and he was with her. He went to one probation hearing and he never got his court notice. (His girl friend also went to a hearing but did not get a notice, and nothing happened to her.) But the Judges got money for how many kids they could divert to this private contractor (PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC).
So here is a local governmental system that has no credibility (and will soon be bankrupt). Here is a corporation that should be banished from the earth. The damn socialist tax payers are going to have to pay and pay big dollars in a shrinking-to-collapsing economy for these crimes. Where is the outrage? I am sure it is there. The clergy scandals fall on the socialized backs of the laity. The corporate scandals fall on the socialized backs of the workers without upside (in the form of layoffs and bailouts). If we want to punish the wrong doers, we have to ensure that leveraged crime pays leveraged time.
In a proceeding devoid of drama, two Luzerne County, Pa., judges told a federal court judge Thursday they were guilty of accepting more than $2.6 million in kickbacks from the owner and builder of two juvenile detention centers.
Former President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and retired Judge Michael T. Conahan sat quietly for about 75 minutes, speaking only when U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik spoke to them. They answered in short sentences and alternated between folding their hands and resting their chins on their hands.
They pleaded guilty to both counts — honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States — in the criminal information filed against them.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod described the hearing as clearing "a major hurdle." He said Kosik will decide whether to accept the plea agreement, which requires Ciavarella and Conahan to spend 87 months in federal prison, during a sentencing hearing.
Go to the link for more info.