You want to know what happens when your public services become privatised? Picture this: A privately owned prison, whose primary goal, as with any business, is to make profit. The more inmates it has within its walls, the more money that prison makes, kind of like a really messed up hotel. Therefore, it is in that prison’s best interest that any potential inmates are handed the longest jail terms possible, in order to secure long-term monetary gain and financial security. Now, the owners of this business could say “hey, we still make a pretty decent profit when those kids are handed relevant and just sentences for their crimes, and I guess true justice for thousands of kids is more important than maximising the personal income of a handful of shareholders. Yeah, let’s just leave it. I mean, these are lives we’re talking about, right?”
Except no self-respecting capitalist would even dream of talking like such a wishy-washy, left wing, frilly knicker-wearing fag. No, those with true grit, those who are familiar with ‘The American Dream’, know that there’s always more to be had. There’s always more. Why not make damn sure we get those valuable maximum sentences by slipping a willing judge some cash in return for him dishing out the harshest punishment possible? I mean, these guys are criminals anyway, they brought it on themselves, right? And the return on investment would more than justify the potential moral outrage we’ll have to deal with if it all comes to light. Nah, this has got conspiracy theory written all over it; never going to happen.
But it did happen. In a case that’s been nicknamed ‘kids for cash’, American judge Mark Ciavarella Jnr has been found guilty of handing out maximum sentences to thousands of children, some as young as ten, in return for money from private juvenile prisons amounting to millions of dollars. He handed out these maximum sentences regardless of the severity of the crime, and often to first time offenders. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has since overturned around 4000 convictions issued by Ciavarella Jnr between 2003 and 2008, on the grounds that the constitutional rights of the children involved were completely violated, including their right to legal counsel and their right to intelligently enter a plea.
Ciavarella Jnr’s lawyers asked for a ‘reasonable’ sentence, arguing that he had ‘already been punished enough’, but he was ordered to pay $1.2m in restitution and given a 28 year jail sentence; a sentence which will likely see him through to the end of his miserable life given that he is 63 years old. May his deservedly petrified bumhole be filled to bursting with the justice-serving jizz of a thousand angry inmates.