Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

USA: Pennsylvania Prisons Allegedly Bribed Judges to Sentence Kids

"Spread over two years of court cases, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are accused of taking more than $2.6 million in payoffs to sentence minors to detention centers.

Dealing exclusively with private institutions, as Conahan had helped shutter the county-run center in 2002, the judges are alleged to have received bribes from detention facilities that were paid by the county on a daily basis.

Though they had agreed to contracts with the county, the centers would ultimately receive payment according to the number of offenders they housed.

The high number of incarcerations, the fact that many underage offenders were presented without an attorney and the excessive punishments doled out for small, often first-time offenses raised suspicions among the local legal community.

Both judges have been removed from the bench and are expected to plead guilty.

Although the Wilkes-Barre case is exceptional for the high number and value of the bribes paid, it is hardly an isolated case on the international stage.

According to a 2007 study conducted by Transparency International, of 62 nations surveyed, 25 found that 1 in 10 households reported having paid a bride to access their court system."

We ask: How many of these kids were put on psychotropic drugs?

To read the rest of the article and to access important documents regarding the case, please go to this link.

To read our previous entries on the prison industry, go here.

NYT: Mystery Shoppers Check Out Conditions in Psychiatric Ward

EDE, the Netherlands
Surrounded by manicured greenery, the closed-off ward of the complex, known as De Riethorst, recalls a suburban dental clinic, and its sunny gymnasium and carpeted hallways do little to suggest that it houses up to a dozen acute psychiatric patients, many of whom are there involuntarily.

And that is why the undercover participants were all experienced psychiatric nurses. “You couldn’t have done it otherwise,” said Edo De Vries, the director of De Gelderse Roos, which released the results of the project last summer.

It and Clearfields are working on a project for 2010, most likely to involve five to eight psychiatric hospitals in the Netherlands.

Mr. De Vries said the impetus for the project came in part from a pair of patient deaths last year in psychiatric facilities in Amsterdam — one involving a suicide, the other a man who choked on food while locked in an isolation cell. Several managers and staff members were fired as a result, and others were suspended.

“Of course, incidents can happen anywhere,” Mr. De Vries said. “But what if there is something structurally wrong that we don’t know about? We have to be more transparent, and I think this method is a good tool for that.”

The Rosenhan "Thud" Experiment