Hillary Transue, 14, made fun of her high school’s vice principal on line, Justin Bodnar, 12, cursed at another student’s mother, Ed Kenzakoski, 17, did nothing at all. Those three and almost 3, 000 other children were sentenced to a juvenile detention facility for minor infractions. In many cases their parents were persuaded or coerced into waiving their right to legal counsel. They were brought before Judge Mark A. Ciavarella and without warning or a chance to offer a defense were pronounced guilty, shackled and sentenced to months of detention in a cockroach invested jail.
It turns out Judge Ciavarella had accepted $2.2 million as a finders fee for the construction of a for-profit penal facility in which to house these so-called delinquents. Judge Ciavarella was himself sentenced to 28 years in prison. Kids For Cash is a riveting look behind the notorious scandal in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania in 2009. Exposing the hidden scandal behind the headlines, Kids For Cash unfolds like a real life thriller.
But this is not just a one time, one town story. The director says that 2 Million children are arrested in the United States every year 95 per cent of them for non-violent crimes.