It is considered by many as one of the most shocking examples of judicial corruption in US history, the scandal which became known as “Kids For Cash” saw two Luzerne County, Pennsylvania judges sentencing to juveniles to far harsher sentences than normal in return for kickbacks from the proprietors of the for-profit juvenile detention center that they were sentenced to. And while the story was briefly mentioned in Michael Moore’s 2009 documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, it is now getting the full feature-length documentary treatment in Fog Of War producer Robert May’s directorial debut, Kids For Cash. The first trailer for the documentary has just been released and is embedded below.
The issue hits close to home for May, not in that he has children that went in front of Ciavarella, but in that he hails from Luzerne County and watched the story played out first-hand in initially the local and then finally the national media. Working for over four years, since just after news of the scandal first broke, May has pieced together the story of how Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan received kickbacks and bribes from officials who built the county’s for-profit juvenile detention center. Juveniles were given harsher sentences and were remanded over to detention facility where the operators were paid by the county per inmate. The more inmates, the more income they received.
Granted, this is a story directly out of my own backyard as well, and so anytime it comes up in terms of film, my ears definitely prick up. We were the first online film press to report that it was going to be featured in what would become Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story. It only received a short segment in that film and since then, the story has grown. May has much to work with and I can’t wait to see what he does with the subject.
Kids for Cash is scheduled to open in Pennsylvania on February 7 and will expand to other markets on February 28.
Via Yahoo movies.