I was involved in the Kids For Cash scandal which made headlines nationally and is in a documentary on Netflix. AMA
Judges and a property owner worked together to create a money making system off of incarcerated juveniles. I was one of those kids.
The juvenile judge worked closely with schools and police to have a zero tolerance system for juveniles.
The County run detention center was closed down due to the work of these judges and this property owner. A private detention center was built and the judges were offered kickbacks for sending kids there since the privately run detention center was paid for having the kids. (Through CYS or some form of the government, I'm not sure)
My first offense was when I was 14. My mom and I had gotten into an argument and I wanted to "run away". She stood in front of the door and I pushed her out of the way and left. Took a walk in the woods and came back home to find the police. She called them because I left. She just wanted help finding me, but they arrested me. Simple assault for pushing her. I was put away for 6 months. My mom called everyone she could and somehow managed to get me out.
My second and final juvenile offense was when I was 15. I was in school playing with some ketchup packets or something equally as childish. One of the cafeteria aids came over and began yelling at me. I was a cocky little teenager and I made up some story about my dad being someone important and told her she would lose her job. I ran my finger across my throat when I told her this. The rest of the day went by and I was called down to the office just before dismissal. My mom was there and a police officer came. They all went into the office and I assumed the school was trying to scare me... I was arrested and sent to the detention center. The judge told me I was charged with terroristic threats for threatening to kill the cafeteria aid. I was sent away for a little over two years.
There were no defense attorneys into he courtrooms. Only the judge and the children. We all knew he was very strict since he had visited our schools many times and talked to us about crimes and how he would have zero tolerance. I had no idea at the time that anything was wrong with the system. Every kid just thought it was normal. About a year after I was released the situation was exposed and investigated. The judges were arrested and the children were part of a class action lawsuit.
I spent a year and half of my high school years getting a very dulled down education consisting of multiplication tables and learning middle school level history. I was between 50 and 200 miles away from my family and because of this I went months without visits. I got a phone call once every few days if I was lucky. I was housed with kids who had gun charges, drug charges, and attempted murder charges. I was borderline abused by staff members. The class action settlement was about $20,000, which I don't know if that made up for everything.
EDIT: documentary is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxpNynnYwC0
Ask me anything.
Edit: I chose to not use the word "victim" because I do not see myself as a victim. I did what I did. I may not have deserved what I got, but I initiated what happened. I don't want pity, or anything of the sort. Just getting the rest of this situation off my chest and answering questions anyone may have about what happened.
I took some steps to hide my identity, but with the story taking place in scuba small area and with personal details being put out, it's very easy to figure out. Who I am doesn't have to do with the story, but I don't care if anyone knows who I am or not.
The documentary has apparently been removed from Netflix but is still on YouTube.