Doubtless, a system already riddled by corruption will inevitably become more corrupt, as well.
Consider the “kids for cash” scandal which rocked Luzerne County, Penn., in 2009.
For ten years, the Mid Atlantic Youth Service Corporation, which specializes in private prisons for juvenile offenders, paid two judges to jail youths and send them to private prison facilities. The judges, who made over $2.6 million in the scam, had more than 5,000 kids come through their courtrooms and sent many of them to prison for petty crimes such as stealing DVDs from Wal-Mart and trespassing in vacant buildings.
When the scheme finally came to light, one judge was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison and the other received 28 years, but not before thousands of young lives had been ruined.
Meet Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, the elected juvenile court judge who sentenced thousands of kids to juvenile detention during his 14 years as a judge, Ciavarella was ultimately sent to prison for receiving millions of dollars from a for-profit, private juvenile detention facility.
Meet Michael T. Conahan, after becoming Luzerne county Pennsylvania president judge running under the Democratic party, Conahan used his budgetary discretion to stop funding the county public youth detention facility, agreeing to send juvenile defendants instead to a newly constructed, for-profit facility. He was subsequently accused of agreeing to generate at least $1.3 million per year in receivables that could be billed to taxpayers in exchange for receiving kickbacks from the facility owner.