Getting Tough on Juvenile Crime

February 13, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

The conservative view on courts and corrections advocates several ideas, among them
  • courts should hand out harsher punishments
  • private, for-profit jails are preferable to state-run facilities
  • defendants have too many procedural rights (in the case of juveniles, these unececessary and deleterious rights include the right to counsel)
These three ideas, put into practice, came together nicely in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit
By Ian Urbina and Sean D. Hamill

At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke.

Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

“I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007. “All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”

The answers became a bit clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.

Full story here.

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