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Kids for Cash

This documentary is about 2 Pennsylvania judges involved in a kickback scheme that resulted in the wrongful incarceration of over 2000 young kids. I like the movie a lot because (a) it provides a well-balanced approach by interviewing victims and their families, the members of various organizations involved in breaking and investigating the case, and even the 2 judges who are the subject of the scandal; (b) the 4 kids and their parents who were the focus of the interviews represented the range of outcomes for kids who end up incarcerated; (c) it is an very interesting and disturbing critique on the juvenile justice system and the fate of many kids who end up there; and (d) it provides a lot of interesting facts about this case and about child incarcerations in general. Thumbs up for a very well-done movie about an incident of which I was not aware; it left me at various times angry about the public officials who are supposed to protect these kids failed them; sad for the significant years lost in their lives; and amazed at how resilient some of the kids were and the lack of resilience in others. The title is rather odd; although the kickback scheme is significant, the story really is more about the judge who seemed to have taken it upon himself to make sure every kid paid dearly for their mistakes, no matter how minor. (2014; 3.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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