The Invisible Handcuffs of the Market

February 28th, 2009  |  Published in this mortal coil  |  1 Comment

“Earlier this month, two judges in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County admitted sentencing thousands of children to jail in return for kickbacks from a prison-management company. Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan received a commission for every day they sent a child to private juvenile detention centres run by Pennsylvania Child Care and a sister company. The pay-offs came to $2.6m over seven years.

“‘It just makes me think that anyone can betray the law,’ says Jamie Quinn, one of the children exploited by the judges. Ms Quinn, from Scranton, was sent to juvenile prison for nine months at 14, after slapping a friend who, she claims, slapped her first.

“Hillary Transue, who is 15 and faced Mr Ciavarella without a lawyer, was sentenced to three months because she constructed a fake MySpace page ridiculing the assistant principal at her high school. Her case led to the judges’ downfall; children have a constitutional right to a lawyer, and the case first alerted Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Juvenile Law Centre. His organisation exposed the larger crime.”



  1. הסרת משקפיים says:

    May 24th, 2009 at 3:08 am (#)

    This reminds me of a Stephen King & Peter Straub novel called “The Talisman”.

    There is a part there where the hero of the book a 12 year old child is sent to a private jouvenile facility without a lawyer, by a judge who receives money for each child he sends there. I didn’t know these things are for real.

    I will not describe what happens n the center but you can imagine as it is a stepehen king novel.

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