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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Worst person of the decade - Judge Mark Ciavarella

I miss Keith Olberman's 'Worst Person in the World' segment more than anything in the world other than his occasional Special Comment. To honor Keith I am awarding the aforementioned Judge the 'worst person of the decade'.

Ciavarella was a former juvenile court judge who took kickbacks from the operators of juvenile detention camps. He and another judge took about $2 million in bribes to steer offenders to the for profit camps. In all they judges sent over 4,000 kids to the camps, some as young as 10 years old for trivial offenses. He's likely to spend at 12 years in jail.

Among his arguments in his trial was that he didn't know it was illegal to take kickbacks. He's a fucking judge and he didn't know it was illegal.

He was allowed to remain free pending sentencing, a decision that galled parents of juveniles who appeared before the judge. Ciavarella often ordered youths he had found delinquent to be immediately shackled, handcuffed and taken away without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their families. Some of the children he ordered locked up were as young as 10.

The mother of a former defendant who was jailed by Ciavarella , and who later killed himself , confronted the judge on the courthouse steps, screaming obscenities and even poking him as he and his attorneys held a news conference.

Privately run detention centers and jails is one of the evils that is becoming far too common in America. Private prisons have no incentive to rehabilitate criminals. There is little or no scrutiny of the staffs these prisons hire, which tolerate employees who are clearly not fit to work in prisons.

The goal of a private company is to encourage repeat business, an admirable goal for a company that supplies goods or services but not when the service is incarcerating prisoners for the state but this creates an environment where repeat offenders results in greater profits. No wonder America incarcerates a higher perentage of the populatoin than any other country in the world including dictorships and the theocracies of the Middle East.

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