From the April 2009 Idaho Observer:

Judges lightly sentenced for destroying children in for-profit detention scam

To imprison children for profit: Judge Mark Ciavallera Jr. and Judge Michael Conahan pled guilty to taking $2.6 million in kickbacks for imprisoning juveniles, paid by two private for-profit detention centers.

The "Honorable" Judge Conahan secured contracts worth tens of millions for the profit-motivated corporations, and the "Honorable" Judge Ciavallera, Jr., made sure the facilities were stuffed with children for them to sadistically torture. Ruining young lives made no difference to the profit motivations of the participants.

Pennsylvania Child Care, Inc. and Western Pennsylvania Child Care, Inc., bribed the courts to enslave children so they could increase their profit margins. Jamie Quinn, age 14, was imprisoned for 11 months after having a fight with her friend and both slapped each other. A 17-year-old stole a bottle of nutmeg and served seven months. Hillary Transue was sentenced to three months in a trial lasting 90 seconds. Her crime was poking fun at her assistant principal on "My Space." Over $20 million dollars worth of child abuse is a lot to list.

Most of the children were told they should waive their right to counsel, and the "Honorable" Judges would be lenient. After duping their victims, the two judges slammed them hard. This trick became their undoing. Over half the waivers of council made by juvenile defendants in Pennsylvania came from these two courtrooms. Tipped off by a complaint from Hillary Transue’s mother, attorneys at a Juvenile Law Center discovered what was going on, along with other disturbing facts. The two judges imprisoned juveniles at a rate of 250 percent above state average for four consecutive years. These "honorable" judges routinely rejected pleas for leniency even when made by prosecutors and probation officers.

The FBI was notified because the several states provide judges with immunity to do as they please. Taking bribes to corrupt a legitimate enterprise was, at least, racketeering. Under a plea agreement, both will be disbarred and will serve 87 months a piece in a federal penitentiary.

Law makers have become bigger criminals than law breakers.

Thousands of youngsters will be treated as criminals by society for the rest of their lives because of these "honorables" and have already been shunned by their friends after release. None were able to fully catch up with the schooling they lost.

The invisible hand of the marketplace is a sadistic god that cares only for the profit margins of businessmen.

Both these "child care" corporations have limited liability and remain open. Until the private sector is removed from seeking profit by increasing the "crime rate," the situation will continue to grow worse.

Richard Geffken

Lowell, Florida