The Man Really is After You (Especially Your Kids)

 Folks thought that once Obama was

in office people of color would have no more excuses about the man or the

system being against them. There would be no more conspiracy theory left to

keep us down. If Obama can make it, there is no reason why we can’t.

 

Ask the children of Luzerne

County, Pennsylviana if they could

do and be who what they wanted to be. The answer up until a month ago would

have been, “No!”

 

Last month two juvenile court

judges, Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58 and Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56 plead

guilty “to a scheme that involved sending thousands of juveniles to two private

detention centers in exchange for $2.6 million in kickbacks,” reports the New

York Times.

 

The children of Luzerne

County, Pennsylviana would come

before Judge Ciaverella who wouldn’t inform them of their rights to an attorney

and would find them guilty in under ten minutes. He once told reporters, “It’s not

my job to spoon feed people,” when asked about the lack of attorneys for

children as young as 14 years old. When families approached attorneys to

represent them, they would decline stating there was no point. Innocence played

no factor, it was about the money.

 

Day after day parents would bring

their child to court and be forced to leave without them, unsure of what just

transpired.

 

“Kurt

Kruger, for example, was 17 when he was sent to a boot camp for five months in

2004 for being a lookout for a friend who was stealing DVDs from a Wal-Mart.

DayQuawn Johnson was 13 when he was sent to a detention center for several days

in 2006 for failing to appear at a hearing as a witness to a fight, even though

his family had never been notified about the hearing and he had already told

school officials that he had not seen anything. Both juveniles were first-time

offenders.”

 

Before the judges even began

their caseloads each day, court officers and the detention centers were already

aware of how many new prisoners to expect. They would be funneled to private detention

centers build by a friend of the two judges and was on contract with the juvenile

court system of Luzerne County.

 

For each child sentenced, the

dentition center received money and the judges got their cut.

 

The scheme, which had been running

since June 2000, unraveled—the judges bought yachts, Florida

condos, and expensive homes with the funds. If it had not been stopped the

racket would have produced thousands of Herman

Adkins.

In February, 70 children and

their families filed a class action suit against the courts. The judges will be

sentenced next month and will serve a minimum of seven years because of their

plea deal.  

 

How do you protect your children

from this? It’s no longer enough to be good, go to school, stay out of trouble

when in these courts you would have been sentenced for being present at a fight

or not paying a fine.

 

The real outrage is for the

thousands of children, guilty or not, who will be scared by the industrial prison

complex. Of the thousands of children sentenced, an estimated 2,500 will have

their records cleared. Still, that doesn’t erase the experience of being

treated like cattle—bought, sold and traded—from their impressionable minds.

 

As a parent, how do you protect

your child from “The System”?

 

We worry about gangs, pedophiles,

drugs, bullies. All these pale in comparison to the man in the black robe entrusted

to provide fair and balanced justice.

 

Let’s just hope these two will receive

the same treatment their victims did while they were locked up.

 

 For the last seven years, Chloé

A. Hilliard has been a culture/entertainment journalist,

writing for the Village Voice, Essence, Vibe, King, and The Source. In addition to writing The X Fact(her), a hip

hoppers humorous look at politics, she co-hosts I’m Sayin’ Radio, a

weekly talk show, and aspires to be a vegan. Learn more about her on chloehilliard.com.

Related Stories