More encouraging news from the prison industrial complex: a 17-year old “stellar” high school student from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania who was sentenced to 3 months in a juvenile detention center for creating a spoof MySpace page mocking her school’s assistant principal received some answers as to why her sentence was so harsh:
“[…] the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.”
Ciavarella maintains that his sentences were just and that the kickbacks were not quid pro quo but youth advocacy groups have been complaining for years that Ciavarella’s sentences were too harsh, noting that he sent 2.5 times as many juveniles to detention centers than did his contemporaries.
A plea under consideration by the courts would give each judge 87 months (7+ years); in accordance with state law, they would also lose their pensions.
The full disturbing story – be sure to note the anecdote in the second-to-last paragraph – here (NY Times).
Trivia: The above article also notes that “only Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina require juveniles to have representation when they appear before judges.” LAME.