Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back to the Pennsylvania juvenile justice scandal

Back in February I began to write about the scandal in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. There two judges have admitted taking money from the operators of private juvenile detention facilities in return for providing them with a stream of new inmates.

The first post is here and you can find them all here. explains another twist in the scandal: familes were charged for their children's imprisonment:

Overwhelmed parents, many of whom had no legal counsel, were given an assessment to pay for the room and board of their children while they were staying at the two detention centers run by PA Child Care and a related company, Western PA Child Care, that are under cloud.

The money was collected by the county, which then pays for juvenile detention services. As Robert Schwartz of the Juvenile Law Center said, families essentially helped finance the alleged corrupt system that was keeping their children locked up.

And the website goes on to say:
The ripple effects from the judges' decisions have had an enormous financial impact on families. Many were already on the edge of a steep cliff living paycheck to paycheck and quickly fell off it once they were required to make support payments.

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