I have similar feelings about how cheap politicians are to bribe.
To me, the idea of a for-profit prison is just backwards, there should never be an incentive for them to incarcerate innocent people, and if it is that is a symptom that the system is broken.
The US prison system is rotten to the core, there is no doubt about it but this is one is beyond what I ever considered possible, even in the US system as it is today.
I'm trying to imagine how the approach would have gone. Hey Judge, how about I give you some money if you send more inmates (children maybe?) my way?
The expected answer is "How about you end up in jail yourself", not a discussion of terms.
How come a judge can do stuff like this, without anyone else noticing/care? One would think a punishment so serious as prison would involve more than one pair of eyes.
Long story short: he was sentencing them to juvenile detention, not adult prison. The bar is lower for juvenile detention.
I read that as "He sentenced them to juvenile detention where threshold for detection in case of abuse is lower."
As a hacker/engineer, ask yourself this: if a (trusted third) party is getting kickbacks for providing false positives, what do you call that?
I expect he was telling himself that these kids weren't great kids to begin with, and probably basically deserved to be in juvie anyway.
(I'm not sure that makes it better, and it's atrocious regardless, but it is a slightly different perspective).
The plea agreement called for Ciavarella to serve up to seven years in prison, pay fines and restitution, and accept responsibility for the crimes. However, Ciavarella has denied that there was a connection between the juvenile sentences he rendered and the kickbacks he received. In part because of this denial, on July 30, 2009, Judge Edwin M. Kosik of Federal District Court in Scranton, Pennsylvania rejected the plea agreement. He ruled that Ciavarella had continued to deny that there was a ‘quid pro quo’ between his receipt of money and his jailing of juveniles, instead characterizing the money as a "finder’s fee" despite what Judge Kosik felt was the weight of the government's evidence. Attorneys for the two judges brought a motion requesting reconsideration of the judge's rejection of the plea agreement. The motion was denied on August 24, and Ciavarella and Conahan withdrew their guilty pleas, resulting in the case going to trial.
On September 9, 2009, a federal grand jury in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania returned a 48 count indictment against Ciavarella and Conahan, which includes racketeering, fraud, money laundering, extortion, bribery, and federal tax violations. Both judges were arraigned on the charges on September 15, 2009. Ciavarella and Conahan entered pleas of not guilty to the 48 count indictment and remained free on one million dollar bail, despite federal prosecutors contentions that their bail should be raised since they now faced the possibility of substantially more prison time and that there was evidence of their attempts to shield assets.
On February 18, 2011, a jury in federal court found Ciavarella guilty of racketeering. This charge stemmed from Ciavarella accepting $997,000 in illegal payments from Robert Mericle, the real estate developer of PA Child Care, and attorney Robert Powell, a co-owner of the facility. Ciavarella was also on trial for 38 other counts including accepting numerous payments from Mericle and Powell as well as tax evasion.
On August 11, 2011, Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. On May 24, 2013, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated one count of the indictment against Ciavarella, but upheld all other charges, as well as his sentence. The Third Circuit refused to reconsider on July 24th, 2013. Ciavarella can still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it rarely accepts cases. With good behavior, he could be released in less than 24 years, when he would be 85. Ciavarella, inmate number 15008-067, is serving his sentence at Federal Correctional Institution, Pekin in Pekin, Illinois. His earliest projected release date is December 30, 2035."
- prisons create high paying jobs in rural areas
- private prison companies like Vanguard are quite lucrative (and Vanguard just happens to have former Vice Pres. Cheney as a major investor)
- prison labor is drastically cheaper than minimum wage
Police departments are also often rewarded based on how many people they get locked up, rather than how much they reduce crime. So there's little incentive to pursue hard-to-prove crimes (like rape) and lots of incentive to lock people up for minor but easy to prove charges, or even charges for which it's easy to fake evidence.
Wow, I'm shocked. Any examples for this?
And to pick a choice quote from the text:
Arizona is one of four states (along with Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisiana) in which state governments are bound to contracts guaranteeing a 95%-100% occupancy in facilities leased by private prisons.
That does not sound true at all. Source?
The current agreements state that a certain % of the prison will be occupied and the state will pay $x/prisoner/day.
Now what you have to consider is two things; first "what happens if the % isn't met?" simply put the state pays for "virtual prisoners" between the actual % and the agreed upon % (e.g. 100 non-existent prisoners will be paid for as if they existed).
So it isn't like the state is going to go roaming the streets and picking up random people for littering just to meet the % just because the contract says to. It still ultimately saves the state money to be below capacity as they can sit right at the agreed upon lower % indefinitely (plus other costs for prisoners are still met by the state: like transportation, medical, and so on).
Do I think private prisons try to promote laws which lock more people up? Yes, absolutely I do. But I don't think the % minimums within private prison contracts are a massive problem, and are only there to give both the state and the private prison more consistent financial obligations. It actually /looks/ worse than it is in this specific case.
However the private prison industry is a blight on the US and the US legal system is pretty well broken at this stage (e.g. innocent people pleading guilty because they cannot get real representation and it would bankrupt them, plea deals which are immoral, prisoners testifying against each other for reduced sentences (which incentivise lying, politics playing too large a role, money playing too large a role, mass corruption at every stage, etc).
Not to mention that if there are public and private prisons in the same state, they can always move them.
He knows the full extent of what he is doing, as he is a judge. As a person who has seen what prison can do to a person, I feel this is unjust.
If you want to kill a nation, shake people's faith in the function of its legal institutions.
(disclaimer: I am a volunteer/part time judge)
I'd like to add that I will not comment in public whether I think the sentence is appropriate or not, as I don't ever want anybody in a trial to accuse me of a biased opinion, although I highly doubt that anyone of "my" indicted people will ever read HN.
Looking forward to the system wide audit of all people sentenced by all judges over the last 2 decades to make sure this hasn't happened elsewhere.
I'm willing to bet this is more widespread than we imagine. It's pretty well documented that the justice system targets young black males who receive longer sentences and are more likely to be sent to prison for minor offenses than white offenders of a similar background. And why not? They're less likely to complain, and less likely to be taken seriously when they do because of the stereotype that black men go to prison. As a result, many in poor black communities trust the gang members selling drugs on the corner more than the police (see the whole anti-snitching movement).
I know this thread wasn't originally about race, but it's impossible to talk about prisons without talking about race because the justice system is so inherently racist. Just ask yourself if this judge would have gotten caught if he had only sent young black kids to jail. Then ask yourself how many white, well-educated judges are smart enough to realize that. I'm sure the vast majority of judges take their job seriously and would be appalled at this kind of behavior, but it doesn't take many to seriously undermine confidence in the system.
You can count me in this group though I realize this feeling I have for this particular criminal is at odds with my desire for a less brutal prison system than the one we currently have in the U.S. We tend to like long prison sentences. I'm generally astonished with the leniency, from my point of view, given to people convicted of serious crimes in Europe.
Yeah, I'm also amazed at the length of some sentences in the US, but this is one of the few times that I totally agree.
* The felony record he's going to have for the rest of his life
* Massive monetary fine, to be automatically garnished from (and only payable by) any wages earned, leaving him with the equivalent of the local minimum wage until the fine is paid.
* Permanent banishment from any kind of justice system work, even as far as being a janitor in an administration building.
* Community service, on the order of weeks/months of time for each person who was unjustly sentenced.
* Only payable by wages earned? He's already earned a lifetime's worth of money. Why are you opposed to taking the money from his bank accounts, his house, and his net worth? Seems to me you're trying hard to put up a shield for the wealthy.
* Cynical to suggest permanent "banishment" from the justice system. I doubt there was much danger of him being appointed a judge again.
So. Why are you opposed to prison for white-collar crimes?
I hadn't considered his current financial situation - I'd be perfectly okay with taking his net worth for damages.
In case it wasn't blatantly fucking obvious, this was a list of ideas, non an exhaustive compendium of possible penalties!
Cynical? It's an assurance that he never ends up in a position to do this again.
I'm opposed to prison for white-collar crimes because I see prison as a place for segregation from society when there is no other option; specifically for violent and dangerous criminals. I don't see how locking this guy up serves any kind of justice other than the poetic type.
The judge may not be the person physically handcuffing someone, but by improperly sentencing people to any kind of imprisonment he is directing violence at them. Someone is on the other side of the bars / glass / building and will use violence to keep the prisoner there if necessary.
I'm curious. What constitutes a white collar crime in your opinion? Is it fundamentally non-violent, or is it really just a class distinction? Would you suggest prison time for armed robbery if the armed robber never hurt anybody over someone who embezzled money? What about kidnapping children but never physically hurting them? What about selling children to buyers who don't physically abuse them? Aren't those crimes very similar to selling children to a for-profit prison system?
I'm really curious what you qualify as a white collar crime and why you don't think it deserves the same level of justice as blue collar crimes.
I'd say prison should exclude fundamentally non-violent crimes on the part of the person taking the action. People who have to be isolated from society, not because they've done something that violates some law, but because they've proven that they are a clear and present danger to others. Robbers, rapists, murderers, and so on.
I say this because prison has incredibly deleterious effects on the human psyche. As long as our system is about punishment rather than reform, I cannot in good faith condemn someone to that fate unless there is literally no other option to keep them from harming further.
This guy is both older and well off. There are ways to obtain restitution that don't involve having him spend years among violent criminals and ending up more damaged than when he went in.
I don't understand your second question. You mean, what kind of sentences are life long sentences? Murder, high treason (?) (Hochverrat gegenüber dem Bund) can be given life long sentence, Sexual abuses against a child in which the child dies (and several other crimes where a person dies can be punished with life long sentence)
Easily overlooked because it's not in the Strafgesetzbuch (Penal Code) anymore. Probably the only felonies that carry a life sentence that are not found in the Strafgesetzbuch.
This story shows that some things should not be privatized. Some people (Rand Paul) believe the Iraq war would not have happened had the US government not relied on for-profit corporations (Halliburton) for war-related contracts. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/04...
This is the part that takes a long time, and even then we often get it wrong. See the Innocence Project for examples. http://www.innocenceproject.org/
Edit: I could be wrong, only judging from 2 articles about this case.
How ironic :)
The for-profit prison industrial complex spends millions of dollars lobbying for lengthier prison sentences.
Every bed they fill is money the state pays them.
Prisons pay politicians to get beds filled for lengthier times, so they can make more money from the states that convict and send them prisoners. It's a disgusting immoral racket.
The GEO group spends much less (but they are global, serving Australia, South Africa & the UK as well): $1.143 million in campaign contributions and $3.56 million in lobbying since '04 .
They don't even have to specifically lobby for tougher sentencing - they can just contribute to choice A of [A,B], where A is the candidate pushing for harsher sentences.
There's a sad state of affairs on the internet, where a couple of paragraphs of slanted commentary are called an 'article'.
For one of the more egregious examples (though there were several things wrong with this - this was just the last link in the chain) was the extended detention of a child whose 'crime' was insulting his school principal on Myspace.