It’s fabulous riding from state to state and getting some of the local news. Ohio’s Republican governor has begun implementing a plan to privatize some of the state’s prisons. America’s prisons are a national disgrace, a waste of human life and an outrage against human dignity. But privatizing them sounds like a transparently terrible idea. Why? Well, I was just riding through Pennsylvania, and here’s what you get from their private prisons – a judge who takes bribes from private corrections companies in order to send more juveniles to jail.
A Pennsylvania juvenile court judge was sentenced Thursday to 28 years in prison for accepting some $1 million in bribes from a builder of two juvenile detention centers.
Judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr., 61, was convicted earlier of racketeering in a scheme where he sent juveniles as young as 10 to the detention facilities.
Look to be reading this about Ohio judges in a few years. The problem is obvious: if prisons are corporations, there are incentives for corporate executives to find a way to get more people in prison. The cheapest way to do this is to bribe a judge – he’s just one person, and he has fairly wide power to send people to prison. And sure enough, that’s what has happened in Pennsylvania.