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Jul. 27th, 2010

When someone like me expresses (at best) scepticism about extending the role of private “providers” in all areas of public life, we might be moved to suggest a worst-case scenario in that regard. Don’t be ridiculous, we will be told, that would never happen; the rigours of the market would ensure that et cetera. There is no way, for example, that anyone could ever have predicted that encouraging the spread of private prisons could lead to this:
Former Pennsylvania judge Michael Conahan has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge for helping put juvenile defendants behind bars in exchange for bribes.

He is accused along with former judge Mark Ciavarella of taking $2.8m (£1.8m) from a profit-making detention centres. Mr Ciavarella denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors in a federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Conahan had closed a county-owned juvenile detention centre in 2002, just before signing an agreement to use a for-profit centre. Prosecutors say Mr Ciavarella, a former juvenile court judge, then allegedly worked with Mr Conahan to ensure a constant flow of detainees.

The two men were originally charged in early 2009 with accepting money from the builder and owner of a for-profit detention centre that housed county juveniles in exchange for giving children longer, harsher sentences. A spokeswoman for the non-profit Juvenile Law Center alleges that Mr Ciavarella gave excessively harsh sentences to 1,000-2,000 juveniles between 2003 and 2006.

Some of the children were shackled, denied lawyers, and pulled from their homes for offences which included stealing change from cars and failure to appear as witnesses. [BBC]


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
I remember this one. There was a teenager sent down for a spoof facebook page. The judge in question should be put in a cage and left below the tideline.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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