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At this point in my life I am against the death penalty, mainly because I know the system is corrupt, however I have been a supporter of the death penalty in the past and may become one in the future, so I have a question for those who support the death penalty in the United States of America, or anywhere else for that matter. Would you execute the members of a criminal syndicate responsible for child trafficking?
On Thursday, 12 February 2009, “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.”
Definition of human and child trafficking
Before we continue, let’s eliminate any misgivings some may have concerning this crime by defining human and child trafficking.
“…there are some basic elements of trafficking that are widely agreed upon, such as violence, deception, coercion, deprivations of freedom of movement, abuse of authority, debt bondage, forced labour and slavery-like practices, and other forms of exploitation or use of force.”
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation.”
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation".
Now that that’s clear, let’s return to specifics of this case and do some number crunching.
Profits and Costs
These judges sold 5,000 children in five years for $2.6 million. This means that on average they sold approximately three children per day for $520 each for a net profit of $1,560 per day. These are the numbers that have been revealed so far.
In Ohio the cost of housing a juvenile is $90 per day but in Pennsylvania prisons are among the nation’s most costly facilities at $93.21 per adult inmate per day. The cost of incarcerating juveniles is in general higher than adults, so for our calculations let’s assume the cost to be $100 per child per day.
Considering that judge Mark A. Ciavarella sentenced Hillary Transue, “a stellar student who had never been in trouble”, to three months at one of the private juvenile detention centers “for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school”, I believe it would be safe to assume that the average sentence per child would have been much higher than that. Let’s assume the average sentence to be approximately six months to one year. If we assume this estimate to be in the right ballpark, then PA Child Care and its sister company, Western PA Child Care, would have made between $18,250 to $36,500 per child sentenced by the judges. Multiplying this by 5,000 children brings the cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers to between $91,250,000 to $182,500,000.
All that money explains how PA Child Care was able to afford the two judges and the expansions to their facilities all the way up to 2008.
It should also be noted that the above judges “shut down the county-run juvenile detention center, arguing that it was in poor condition… and maintained that the county had no choice but to send detained juveniles to the newly built private detention centers. Prosecutors say the judges tried to conceal the kickbacks as payments to a company they control in Florida.”
This is the cost of the Prison-industrial complex in the United States and the difference between good infrastructure and bad infrastructure. This is what the system has been doing to our children, so just imagine what they have been doing to minorities and the poor. Keep in mind that “the United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners”, with "1 in 100 U.S. adults behind bars.”
Consequences and Implications
Amazing isn’t it? Child trafficking in the United States of America by a criminal organization which included two judges and numerous other people who may or may not be charged in the future. The only thing we know so far is that the first two people charged with this specific crime may only serve “87 months in federal prison” and be forced to “resign from the bench and bar.”
In prisons everyone is threatened by physical, sexual and mental abuse, and this criminal organization was responsible for systematically forcing thousands of children and their families and loved ones to endure the pain and anguish of this reality. So my question to those who support the death penalty is this: after all the investigations are done and everyone who was involved in commoditizing our children is arrested, charged and prosecuted for human trafficking, would you execute them?
Keep in mind that these people did not accidentally destroy the lives of these children and their families, nor did they do it because they were mentally ill. They committed these crimes against humanity for money. They abused and victimized the most vulnerable in our society because they wanted to accumulate a fiat currency. They treated other human beings, our children, as a commodity in a private prison industrial complex that makes profit from incarcerating as many people as possible.
Tip of the Iceberg
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