By Al Lewis
DENVER (MarketWatch) — The more children judges locked away, the more money owners of a for-profit juvenile detention center could make slamming the bars.
Federal prosecutors called it “Kids For Cash.”
An owner of a private detention center, Robert Powell, was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison Friday for allegedly paying kickbacks to two county judges in Pennsylvania. Powell got off relatively easy after cooperating with prosecutors.
Earlier this year, Luzerne County’s former president judge Michael Conahan was sentenced to 17 1/2 years, and Judge Mark Ciavarella, a.k.a. “Mr. Zero Tolerance,” was sentenced to 28 years.
The case is a testament to the effectiveness of economic incentives, getting county judges to incarcerate kids just for doing what kids sometimes do: