Monday, February 23, 2009

Speaking of the morality of privatization...

Two judges in Pennsylvania were getting paid by a private prison to jail thousands of children. Amy Goodman had brought this to my attention via her blog, and this piece from a CNN article sums up the atrociousness of the situation:

Ciavarella, 58, along with Conahan, 56, corruptly and fraudulently "created the potential for an increased number of juvenile offenders to be sent to juvenile detention facilities," federal court documents alleged. Children would be placed in private detention centers, under contract with the court, to increase the head count. In exchange, the two judges would receive kickbacks.

The Juvenile Law Center said it plans to file a class-action lawsuit this week representing what they say are victims of corruption. Juvenile Law Center attorneys cite a few examples of harsh penalties Judge Ciavarella meted out for relatively petty offenses:

  • Ciavarvella sent 15-year-old Hillary Transue to a wilderness camp for mocking an assistant principal on a MySpace page.
  • He whisked 13-year-old Shane Bly, who was accused of trespassing in a vacant building, from his parents and confined him in a boot camp for two weekends.
  • He sentenced Kurt Kruger, 17, to detention and five months of boot camp for helping a friend steal DVDs from Wal-Mart.
  • Several other lawsuits on behalf of the juveniles who have appeared in Ciavarella's courtroom have emerged.

    The private juvenile detention centers, owned by Mid Atlantic Youth Services Corp., are still operating and are not a target of the federal investigation, according court documents.

    This is a lesson about the capitalist superstructure in general. Capitalism's immoralities can only breed more immoralities in the society that it controls. The judges who did this to these children are criminals, but the environment that allowed such actions was the privatized prison system, a natural extension of the free market.

    The free market is only free to some. The rest are bound by wage-slavery, or quite literally locked up in jail.

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