February 12, 2009

Judges Accused Of Supporting Social Change As Per Script

Their main crime was that they got paid for it.

The story:

For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses.

The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench.

That's one possible explanation, the other is that this is the way courts run nowadays.

The short version is two judges are alleged to have received kickbacks from the private juvenile justice center for every kid they sent there; so they sent a lot of kids, for a lot of time.  The center can bill $260/day.

Leave aside whether the judges are guilty or innocent.  Observe, however, why it was that the scheme worked.  It worked because of the criminal justice system has been offloaded to  psychiatry.

I don't know this particular facility, but I do know what a "juvenile detention center" is: it's a place you go and wait until your court date, assuming you can't make bail.  So these kids were waiting in this facility, for however long the judge cared to make them wait.

How can you do this?  What about due process? 

You simply say they're not competent to stand trial.

There may have been some "prison" like housing as well, i.e. post-trial sentencing to be in that facility, but all of the above apply: it could be justified because it wasn't just punitive, there was "treatment."  (If there actually was.)

There was an older county juvenile jail, but it was shut down because it was "falling apart" but, more importantly, because it didn't provide modern "services."  You can't lock kids up for months for nothing; you have to provide them with treatment for their illness-- obviously, that's why they committed a crime in the first place.

Note well that this scam was detected not because someone noticed large numbers of kids were disappearing into the black hole of the juvenile justice system, but because the owner of the prison was using company money to buy jets, boats, etc.

As I said before: the only red flag of impropriety for anyone, anymore, is money.  As long as you don't get paid for it, you can pretty much go Zodiac, and no one will notice.


I will forgo any back story... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2009 10:04 PM | Posted by Not Important: | Reply

I will forgo any back story as to why I was in the situation I was in. Just know that it involved an absent dad and one very bad, pathological liar of a mom.

When I was 15-17 I was in DCFS custody for (honestly) "insubordinance". Don't ever underestimate the power of a sociopathic mom and a corrupt juvenile system. Eventually I found myself placed in a foster home under the pretext that I'd be on my way back home as soon as I "straightened up" and flew right.

Among the many dozens of pathetic failings of the system I was now privy to, this post reminded me of one in particular.

While the foster family was at church one day, curiosity got the better of me and I snuck a peek at the file of reports they were required to submit to the company the state was outsourcing foster care to. Imagine my surprise (I was naive) when I discovered they were submitting false incident reports.

They were completely fabricating incidents in order to make it look like I not only belonged there, but needed to be there quite a bit longer. Of course, every report ended with them swooping in to save the day and resolve things in-house.

For those that don't see why they'd do such a thing, most (yes, sadly it's most) foster parents do it for the MONEY. I ended up staying in 3 different homes. #1) I slept in a storage closet with a sheet for a door. #2) I slept in a 10x10 bedroom with 2 sets of bunk beds always running at full capacity. #3) I slept in the utility closet that contained the hot water heater. It was barely big enough to fit the tiny bed, but at least this time I had a door.

When it came down to it, they saw their choices as either telling the truth and risk me being sent home or filing fake incident reports to keep me placed there. I was an easy check every month. The only work they had to do was write false incident reports and fill out some paperwork in order to get paid. If I were to be sent home I'd be replaced by a kid that would most likely have real and serious behavior issues.

If you're only in it for the money, why do more work for the same pay? F#@$ that. It would take things like morals and integrity to do the right thing in the juvenile system in this country; two of the many virtues this system has little to none of.

Corrupt judges receiving kickbacks and facility owners buying jets and boats with money obtained by falsely imprisoning minors is all business as usual in the juvenile justice system. Things like this are only news to those who have never been a part of it.

(How I got out of it is just as far-fetched to most people as the lies that put me in it in the first place.)

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Yep, and all the while the ... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2009 10:13 PM | Posted by Sally: | Reply

Yep, and all the while the kids "incompetent to stand trial" are considered to be getting "help." But I'm not sure about Cougars as the name for the bar.

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It's a success story, reall... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2009 3:40 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's a success story, really. It's another reason why the privatization of our justice and health system should continue. These judges were merely contracting out to private, for-profit, companies.

It's just bidness. Capitalism at work. The purity of the market. Combine dumb-ass, two-bit public policy like Pennsylvania's with the profit motive ... and whooeee! You've got a success story. From the cited article:

Many Pennsylvania counties contract with privately run juvenile detention centers, paying them either a fixed overall fee or a certain amount per youth, per day.

In Luzerne County, prosecutors say, Conahan shut down the county-run juvenile prison in 2002 and helped the two companies secure rich contracts worth tens of millions of dollars, at least some of that dependent on how many juveniles were locked up.

If anyone was interested in regulating this "growth industry," they'd need to have some governmental oversight. Oh darn ... that's anti-free market policy. What to do? Oh yeah, blame it on the justice system. Or lack of due process to ensure competency issues are enforced. Damn, there's that "e" word.

The reason nobody gave a shit about competency issues? There was easy money to be made. So much money, it went against PA's "leave no buck behind" policy. So much money, as a matter of fact, justice couldn't be left in the hands of government.

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Offloaded? psychiatry volun... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2009 7:30 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Offloaded? psychiatry voluntarily took it on. psychiatry told us of the brain chemical imbalance. psychiatry gave us the correct answer to why children misbehave.
the treatment-solution of chemicals for the brain instead of jail/punishment for the body.

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The longer Anonymous:... (Below threshold)

May 17, 2009 11:12 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by psychohistorian: | Reply

The longer Anonymous:

It is profoundly ironic that you are criticizing free-market principles when the entity footing the bills is the government.

That's the big problem: the payer doesn't give a damn what it's paying for, as long as it looks vaguely justifiable. The payee, of course, cares a great deal how much it's getting paid, and if it continues to get paid, but again, not about the outcome.

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Your method of explaining t... (Below threshold)

November 2, 2012 3:16 PM | Posted by Hurley Kids: | Reply

Your method of explaining the whole thing in this post is in fact pleasant, every one be capable of effortlessly be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

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