The Right Wing Republican Legacy: Kids being Jailed for Money

This is what happens when you implement the Republican ideal, wherein anything that makes someone money is okay, because wealth is king. If you want to know why this society is broken, here's a prime example, from Truthdig – Jailing Kids for Cash, by Amy Goodman".

As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited. The two judges pleaded guilty in a stunning case of greed and corruption that is still unfolding. Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan received $2.6 million in kickbacks while imprisoning children who often had no access to a lawyer. The case offers an extraordinary glimpse into the shameful private prison industry that is flourishing in the United States.

Take the story of Jamie Quinn. When she was 14 years old, she was imprisoned for almost a year. Jamie, now 18, described the incident that led to her incarceration:

“I got into an argument with one of my friends. And all that happened was just a basic fight. She slapped me in the face, and I did the same thing back. There [were] no marks, no witnesses, nothing. It was just her word against my word.”

Jamie was placed in one of the two controversial facilities, PA Child Care, then bounced around to several other locations. The 11-month imprisonment had a devastating impact on her. She told me: “People looked at me different when I came out, thought I was a bad person, because I was gone for so long. My family started splitting up … because I was away and got locked up. I’m still struggling in school, because the schooling system in facilities like these places [are] just horrible.”

This is what happens when you privatize what should be a public function. But worse, when you privatize a public function, and you then turn around and incentivize the operation, you have corruption. I have a sneaking suspicion that, if we did an audit of this sort of thing where private prisons are concerned, it's more common than we think.

Think about it; cities and states hire private companies to run traffic and red-light cameras, and then pay them a percentage of the revenue they bring in. How much of those tickets are actually the result of legitimate violations, and how much of them are simply a private company trying to pad its bottom line?

Republicans have created an economic system that bastardizes the capitalist concept. It's not enough for a company to make money anymore. Now, they have to make more money every year, or they lose money, because their stock tanks. Companies lose money if they don't maintain an unsustainable "growth" every year.  The system encourages cheating, and rewards companies that cheat and/or cut corners. It's the primary reason why we don't make anything here anymore, and why companies don't seem to be out for "America" anymore.

That's bad enough when we're talking about closing plants and stores and putting people out of work. But when it comes to the justice system, money can NEVER be a motivating factor in any decision, period. And when it comes to our children's lives, our society cannot afford to allow something like this happen.

I guess my question is, Is this finally the point where we decide that money really isn't everything?

It's time we got back to our roots, folks, and make money the means to a good life, and not a life in and of itself.

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