February 14, 2009

Greed Corrupts Juvenile Judges

This story is just horrible.

It is a story of greed in a country which glories in its tough-on-crime stance and where mercy and tolerance are eschewed. If as a nation we had a sensible policy on crime, I cannot see how this type of injustice could have been tolerated for so long.

These judges deserve a lot more than 87 months in jail for their black-hearted scheme to send juveniles to detention for their own enrichment. How many children and how many families were deeply hurt and damaged by the Kafka-esque sentences of the judges? Something is deeply wrong when a state and a country treats minor infractions as deadly crimes.

The article says the people who started the private juvenile detention centers and paid the judges to send young people to fill their cells have not been charged as of yet. But one hopes that this will change soon, because it was pure evil at the center of this case where the plan was to get rich off the injustice and pain of those juveniles who fell into their trap. They are scum and should be made to pay for their part in corrupting the judges.

And what's worse is how hard it is to challenge the fact that our society is too punitive. After all, we imprison more of our population that most other countries and we spend huge amounts of our tax dollars on feeding the prison industry. It has become hard to see where justice fits into the system we have today.

It seems that we are so inured to the idea that criminals must go to jail for a very long time and that those who are accused must be guilty that we have become blind to the obvious injustices. As Scott Horton said in 2007 about the Donald Siegelman case:

When this case [re: Donald Siegelman] got started, I was ready to accept what those Montgomery jurors did – namely, what on earth could be surprising about allegations that a political figure sells appointments for money? Isn’t that indeed just the way our system works? And shouldn’t we throw the book at them when they’re caught doing it?

Too many people are paying for the insane and vindictive way our society deals with those caught up in our criminal justice system. In California, we lock up people for life for petty burglary if they ever had been convicted of a felony even if the defendant had never committed any violent crime.

At the same time those who commit war crimes or authorize torture are treated as if their crimes are nothing.

Something is very, very wrong when a bright student who mocks the vice-principal with a web-site spoof can be locked up while those in government that betray our constitution and our system escape all scrutiny.

Posted by Mary at February 14, 2009 06:24 AM | Law/Justice | Technorati links |
Comments

Thanks for posting this! I heard it on the Mike Malloy show a few nights ago and wanted to reference it. The story, which I didn't hear all of, is more appalling than I thought.

It's horrid.

Posted by: The Chinuk at February 14, 2009 11:50 AM

Thanks for posting about this. To me this story really is the tip of the iceberg. As prisons are privatized, the incentive to do exactly this increases. I spoke to an immigration lawyer, who is also a civil rights specialist. We talked about the tie-in between immigration sweeps and the need to fill detention centers like the one in York, PA. Recently this story ran in the NYT: (summary below)

Locking up accused criminals is big business in America, but an attempt to cash in came with a high cost for one Rhode Island town, a New York Times investigation finds. The Donald D. Wyatt Detention Center, a maximum security jail, promised to bring jobs to the largely Hispanic town of Central Falls. But residents found themselves living in fear after the jail expanded to include immigration detainees, and neighbors began to vanish.

The Times looks at Wyatt as a window into the expanding crackdown on illegal immigrants, in which half a million are detained a year, without criminal charges and the due process that protects criminal suspects. Critics note that the center employs few locals and has failed to deliver the promised boost to the local economy. After an immigrant died at Wyatt last summer, the jail is under investigation. Federal officials have moved all their immigrant detainees out, leaving the jail scrambling to find other incarceration deals.

"Incarceration deals." It's all there and in the story you wrote about and in thousands of others, we just have to connect the dots. Prisons should not be run for profit.

Posted by: eRobin at February 15, 2009 09:49 AM

Thanks for posting about this. To me this story really is the tip of the iceberg. As prisons are privatized, the incentive to do exactly this increases. I spoke to an immigration lawyer, who is also a civil rights specialist. We talked about the tie-in between immigration sweeps and the need to fill detention centers like the one in York, PA. Recently this story ran in the NYT: (summary below)

Locking up accused criminals is big business in America, but an attempt to cash in came with a high cost for one Rhode Island town, a New York Times investigation finds. The Donald D. Wyatt Detention Center, a maximum security jail, promised to bring jobs to the largely Hispanic town of Central Falls. But residents found themselves living in fear after the jail expanded to include immigration detainees, and neighbors began to vanish.

The Times looks at Wyatt as a window into the expanding crackdown on illegal immigrants, in which half a million are detained a year, without criminal charges and the due process that protects criminal suspects. Critics note that the center employs few locals and has failed to deliver the promised boost to the local economy. After an immigrant died at Wyatt last summer, the jail is under investigation. Federal officials have moved all their immigrant detainees out, leaving the jail scrambling to find other incarceration deals.

"Incarceration deals." It's all there and in the story you wrote about and in thousands of others, we just have to connect the dots. Prisons should not be run for profit.

Posted by: eRobin at February 15, 2009 09:49 AM

Sorry for the double comment post.

Posted by: eRobin at February 15, 2009 09:50 AM