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Pennsylvania children sold into modern day slavery

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Thousands of children have been sentenced to long jail sentences to be used as modern day slaves by judges in exchange for money. It has been revealed that Pennsylvania is leading the pack in sending children to prison in particular private prisons in return for monetary kickbacks in the sum of millions of dollars. Children as young as 10-years-of age have been sentenced to years of slavery for money. What kind of person can sell another into slavery?

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President Judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr., a 61-year old Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania judge, was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison for incarcerating thousands of children and accepting money for each child from a developer who owns the private prison. Ciavarella was convicted of racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion in 2011 and was ordered to repay $1.2 million in restitution. In addition, over 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008 were overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Senior Judge Michael Conahan along with Ciavarella, according to the Wall Street Journal, was accused of accepting money from builders of several youth-for-profit prisons in a contracted agreement to impose harsh sentences on youth to increase the number of prisoners. The investigation began as early as 2006 and may have been revealed as a result of a bullying charge against Conahan by Judge Anne Lokuta. Lokuta agreed to aid the Federal Government in the investigation of the Kids for Cash scheme. In 2011 Conahan received 17-and-a half-years in federal prison. Powell received 18 months for tax conspiracy and failing to report a felony. Robert Mericle, builder of two of the for profit “kids for cash” prisons have not yet been sentenced.

Although some officials have been found guilty and have gone to jail the private prison system will remain intact. The bottom line or dollar is that the prison industry in the United States is big business. The prison system provides free or slave labor. The money generated by the prisons encourages the imprisonment of more youth to benefit the investors. According to Global Research, work that was once outsourced is now done by individuals sold into prisons. One prison now uses slave prison labor to produce circuit boards for companies like IBM and Compaq that were once manufactured in Mexico or Asia. The Progressive Labor Party suggests the private prison system is “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

Prison programs like “Kids for Cash” is driven by greed and the increase in private prisons whose only interest is financial profit. In 2009 Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell stated they "violated the rights of as many as 6000 young people by denying them basic rights to counsel and handing down outrageously excessive sentences. The lives of these young people and their families were changed forever." A full length movie Kids for Cash a SenArts Film documentary will be released in February 2014. What can be done to stop these atrocities against America’s young people?


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