Financialization of the Criminal Justice System
Great post, Mike.
Sadly, this is not the exception:
Former Judge Is on Trial in ‘Cash for Kids’ Scheme
By JON HURDLE and SABRINA TAVERNISE
Published: February 8, 2011
SCRANTON, Pa. — A former Pennsylvania judge went on trial in federal court on Tuesday, charged with racketeering, bribery and extortion in what prosecutors say was a $2.8 million scheme to send juvenile delinquents to privately run prisons.
The case against the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who presided in Luzerne County, drew national attention for what legal experts say is a dangerous gap in the juvenile justice systems of many states — children appearing in court without lawyers.
Mr. Ciavarella, now 60, sentenced thousands of young people, funneling them into two private detention centers prosecutors say were run by his friends who slipped him payments in a “cash for kids” scheme.
“They turned the Court of Common Pleas into a criminal enterprise,” Mr. Zubrod said. …
That post on the privatization or financialization of prisons is one of the most disturbing trends I’ve come across. The idea that a man’s fate could be, in many circumstances, influenced and determined by profit motives is pretty diabolic. It goes further than the “kids for cash” case. It’s become an established modus operandi of the criminal justice system.
The privatization of prisons creates additional lobbying pressure for politicians to maintain current levels of prison populations. And as we have seen in New York State, the weak economy is actually pushing many counties in the northern part of the state to explicitly combat prison closings or retrenchment because that is their only source of economic viability.