Kids for Cash, the film
February 5, 2014
Guests: Robert May, Marsha Levick, Terrie Morgan-Besecker & Laurene Transue
Between 2003 and 2008, 3,000 children, who committed petty offenses, were sentenced to months of incarceration in two private, for-profit juvenile detention centers in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Over half the kids had no legal representation. In 2009 it was revealed, through criminal investigations and dogged journalism, juvenile court judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr. and former president judge Michael Conahan made millions of dollars of kickbacks from the owners of the centers. Ciavarella, Jr. is now serving 28 years in jail, and Conahan is serving 17.5 years. This infamous “Kids for Cash” scheme is now a film directed by Northeastern Pennsylvania filmmaker, ROBERT MAY, who produced several documentaries, including the 2003 Oscar-winning The Fog of War. This new film, Kids for Cash, looks at the families affected by this shocking scandal and asks why no one, at the time, asked questions or tried to stop the egregious punishments at the time. We’ll also talk to Juvenile Law Center Director, MARSHA LEVICK; TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER, the lead Times Leader writer in a team that covered the story; and LAURENE TRANSUE, one of the mothers of the juveniles sent away.