brni (brni) wrote,

Kids For Cash, or Justice, American-style

This happened a while ago. Like, between 2003 and 2008. Two judges in PA manipulated the system to get county-funded Juvenile Detention facilities closed and replaced with for-profit prisons. Then they funneled 6000 kids into those facilities.

If you were a kid, what sorts of offenses got you jail time? A 10-year-old got 2 years for damaging his parents car. A 16-year-old got 6 months for flipping off her mother. One kid got jail time for making fun of his school principal on myspace. One kid killed himself after being abused in custody.

Some 6000 kids got sent to detention facilities, largely with sentences that were disproportionate to the alleged offenses. At least 4000 of them definitely should never have ended up in detention at all. And the judges got $2.6M as a "finders fee."
Eventually, they were caught, tried, sentenced. The largest sentence went to Judge Ciavarella, who got a 28 year sentence (though it could be reduced to 15 for good behavior, etc etc). The other judge got 17 years, and the people who owned the facilities and paid off the judges got somewhere around 18 months.

At sentencing, Ciavarella was outraged, claiming he was being punished in disproportionate measure to the crimes committed.

So let's do the math.

28 years, assuming he actually does full time, is 10,220 days.

If we're talking 4000 kids whose lives he's fucked up, then that comes to 2.5 days per kid.

If we're talking 6000 kids whose lives he's fucked up, then that comes to 1.7 days per kid.

Ciavarella appealed, of course. And the court rejected the appeal, confirming that 1.7 days is a just punishment for fucking up a kid's life.

(Unless, of course, you're the owner of the facility, who made the payments and solicited the crime in the first place. In that case, just punishment for fucking up a kid's life is 2.19 hours per kid.)
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