children


These judges should be put in jail in solitary. How much hope have they cost the kids who were innocent? Or who were only guilty of small things? What would they do if it was their own kids?

This is from the New York Times:

Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit

Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times

Hillary Transue was sentenced to three months in juvenile detention for a spoof Web page mocking an assistant principal.

Published: February 12, 2009

At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke.

Prosecutors say Judges Michael T. Conahan, and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., above, took kickbacks to send teenagers to detention centers.

Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

“I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007. “All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”

The answers became a bit clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.

While prosecutors say that Judge Conahan, 56, secured contracts for the two centers to house juvenile offenders, Judge Ciavarella, 58, was the one who carried out the sentencing to keep the centers filled.

“In my entire career, I’ve never heard of anything remotely approaching this,” said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by Judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. Many of them were first-time offenders and some remain in detention.

The case has shocked Luzerne County, an area in northeastern Pennsylvania that has been battered by a loss of industrial jobs and the closing of most of its anthracite coal mines.

And it raised concerns about whether juveniles should be required to have counsel either before or during their appearances in court and whether juvenile courts should be open to the public or child advocates.

If the court agrees to the plea agreement, both judges will serve 87 months in federal prison and resign from the bench and bar. They are expected to be sentenced in the next several months. Lawyers for both men declined to comment.

You’d think that they would DEFINITELY be going to jail, right?  Forever?  But the article talks about their pensions!  Like they ought to be around to enjoy them or not!

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As a kid who has been removed from my mother’s care at age 11 and had my father’s rights terminated when I was 14, and lived in several different kinds of family structures, I was very upset when I read this story in my local newspaper.  I do not think it is necessarily a good thing that CPS is  caring for  fewer children than they used to.

CPS: removals of children are down

The number of Texas children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect has declined following a series of reforms to Child Protective Services, the agency said today.

In the 2008 budget year, CPS removed 14,295 children, which is down from 15,920 in 2007 and 17,536 in 2006. That’s a decrease of 18.5 percent.

“Generally, children do better if they can remain safely with their families,” CPS spokesman Darrell Azar said. “Foster care is really intended as a last resort.”

Lawmakers passed CPS reforms in 2005 and 2007. As part of that, the state invested in programs that help keep families together, including one that provides cash assistance to certain low-income families.

“More often than not, neglect is at the heart of the problem,” rather than abuse, Azar said. “Some families are so impoverished, they can’t meet basic needs. The whole theory behind this is working with the family … to help them find the supports they need.”

Does this mean that they are removing kids just because their families are poor?  If kids really are better off with their families, then give the family the help they need to not be so poor.  Duh!

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Here are three stories involving kids and the authorities, and my opinions about all three.

When I was 14, I got into serious trouble (at home) for sending a photo of myself in a bathing suit to a good friend, and sending pics of myself fully dressed to man I knew only from the internet. I should have been in trouble. I should have gotten internet restrictions and I should have been taught why it could be a serious problem. But I am very glad I was not arrested like these kids.

Pornotots: Teens Charged With Pornography For Sharing Photos Of Themselves

300px-several_mobile_phonesProsecutors have discovered another hotbed of child pornographers: Greensburg Salem High School. Prosecutors have charged teenagers with child pornography for sharing nude and seminude pictures of themselves over cell phones. The girls are 14 or 15 and the boys are 16 or 17. Pornographers all.

Capt. George Seranko of the Greensburg Pa. Police Department explains that “It was a self portrait taken of a juvenile female taking pictures of her body, nude.” Teachers seized the cell phone and instead of just calling parents, they apparently called police as well. Additional pictures were found. The lesson, Seranko notes, is “Taking nude pictures of yourself, nothing good can come out of it.” Ok, but where to the criminal charges come into the lesson plan? It appears that turning them into felons is the way that the good people of Greensburg educate their children.

This is a national problem of teens sending semi-nude and nude pictures to friends. Should all of these children be moved into the criminal justice system?

The girls are charged with manufacturing, disseminating or possessing child pornography while the boys face charges of possession. It seems like there is a need for adult supervision at the Greensburg police and prosecution offices.

The next story is of a case that IS a problem, a case where the father should never have custody or visitation of his daughter:

Quick (depressing) hit: California man sells daughter

From the Associated Press:

Police have arrested a Greenfield man for allegedly arranging to sell his 14-year-old daughter into marriage in exchange for $16,000, 100 cases of beer and several cases of meat.Police said they only learned of the deal after the 36-year-old man went to them to get his daughter back because payment wasn’t made as promised. The man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of human trafficking.

What was that again about feminism being unnecessary? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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I do not know the real difference legally between child labor and child slavery, but I do know that it’s at least 75% a joke (maybe 80%!) when I list on my facebook that my occupation is “kitchen slave”. The girl in this article isn’t kidding and doesn’t have facebook or any other fun in her life. I work harder on chores than a lot of kids I know, but I am NOT a slave.

Child maid trafficking spreads from Africa to US

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer

 

AP – Shyima Hall, 19, who was 10 when she was trafficked to a gated community as a domestic worker, is shown …

IRVINE, Calif. – Late at night, the neighbors saw a little girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door.

They watched through their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet. She wasn’t much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed her slender arms. To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.

But she was not the daughter of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.

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I’ve written before about prison camps for teenagers and the abuse that happens there, but this one’s the worst I have seen described INSIDE the U.S. Nothing, NOTHING these girls did could justify this. Never!

AP: 13,000 abuse claims in juvie centers (AP)

ADVANCE FOR MARCH 3; graphic shows state by state statistics on juvenile abuse; two sizes; 1c x 2 1/8 inches; 46.5 mm x 54 mm; 3c x 5 7/8 inches; 146 mm x 149.2 mmAP – The Columbia Training School — pleasant on the outside, austere on the inside — has been home to 37 of the most troubled young women in Mississippi.

If some of those girls and their advocates are to be believed, it is also a cruel and frightening place.

The school has been sued twice in the past four years. One suit brought by the U.S. Justice Department, which the state settled in 2005, claimed detainees were thrown naked in to cells and forced to eat their own vomit. The second one, brought by eight girls last year, said they were subjected to “horrendous physical and sexual abuse.” Several of the detainees said they were shackled for 12 hours a day.

These are harsh and disturbing charges — and, in the end, they were among the reasons why state officials announced in February that they will close Columbia. But they aren’t uncommon.

Across the country, in state after state, child advocates have deplored the conditions under which young offenders are housed — conditions that include sexual and physical abuse and even deaths in restraints. The U.S. Justice Department has filed lawsuits against facilities in 11 states for supervision that is either abusive or harmfully lax and shoddy.

Still, a lack of oversight and nationally accepted standards of tracking abuse make it difficult to know exactly how many youngsters have been assaulted or neglected.

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And to think, the school complains about what WE eat on our own, when they serve us bad meat. I think it’s best to pack peanut butter sandwiches from home for now.

Austin school district confirms it also has possibly tainted meat

This note is displayed on the outside of crates of beef in the RRISD store room.

This note is displayed on the outside of crates of beef in the RRISD store room.
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The Austin Independent School District confirmed it has 1,000 cases of potentially bad meat on hold in its South Austin warehouse.

This news comes one day after AISD told CBS 42’s Julie Simon it hadn’t used the company in question’s meat in over a year.

This is all started after the USDA ordered all meat coming from the Westland Meat Company in California be put on hold.

Westland meat goes to school districts all across Texas. Round Rock Independent School District immediately said it had put 625 cases on hold. AISD though said it didn’t have any of the questionable beef….

That turns out to not be the case; AISD now says they did receive shipments of Westland meat as recently as last year. AISD pulled the meat from circulation once the USDA ordered a hold on all Westland beef.

The USDA ordered the hold after seeing a videotape recorded undercover by the Humane Society of the United States, which allegedly shows cattle that were too sick to walk being processed for food.

The AISD food services director says none of the meat made it into school lunches. She refused an on-camera interview Tuesday and our request to get video of the cases of beef on hold was denied.

The meat, now on hold at school districts across Texas, cannot be thrown away. Instead, the USDA has to complete its investigation and tell the districts what to do next.

So, if my parents or guardians made me sleep in a room like this

or spend all of my time lying on the floor face down like this …

they would probably get arrested, right?  Either for child abuse or neglect.

But what about if parents outsourced abusing their kids?  What if they sent thm to places where things like THIS take place?

Many who have been there describe a life of pain and fear. They say they spent 13 hours a day, for weeks or months on end, lying on their stomachs in an isolation room, their arms repeatedly twisted to the breaking point.

….

 “You could hear kids screaming when they were getting restrained,” Mr. Bucolo said. “It was horrible. They would do it behind closed doors. And say the kids were lying if they complained.”

What would you say about parents who spent $30,000 to send their kids to this place?  Or what about this one?

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