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What to know: Kids For Cash is a riveting look behind the notorious judicial scandal that rocked the nation.
Recommended age 13-18
102 minutes
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This documentary is very informational and extremely interesting.

"Kids for Cash" is a true story about two Luzern County, Pennsylvania judges, Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. and Michael T. Conahan. They commit crimes and send almost 3,000 kids to juvenile detention for minor offenses, taking punishment to a whole new level. One kid's mother stands up to Ciavarella's strict type of justice and meets with lawyers, Marsha Levick and Robert Schwartz, from the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, to lead an investigation which uncovers the judges' true motives for locking up so many kids.

I like that this film has so much information surrounding the events of this story. It follows five of the teenaged kids, their parents, news media, attorneys and yes, even interviews with the two judges. It's an eye opener with detailed facts about this case and our judicial system. It gets very emotional and powerful at times while looking at all the families. It's really sad seeing kids in handcuffs and learning about the length of time they are put away and taken from their family and friends. I understand that kids need to suffer the consequences for their bad decisions and poor actions, but the reasoning and excuses behind Mark Ciavarella's mind set of "zero tolerance" is just a little too much for these minor offenses. The overall production could be a little shorter with simpler terms; however this is a true story that definitely needs to be told in its true light. "Kids for Cash" is so much more than a story about two judges. It also brings more attention to our overall juvenile justice system while revealing mind blowing statistics.

A couple of messages that I found in this film is that sometimes high authority figures do wrong things and must suffer the consequences. Also, it tells us to be happy with what we have because the greedy desire to have more leads down the wrong path.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18. It has terms that younger children may not understand. I give it 4� out of 5 stars.

Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

see youth comments
Kids For Cash is a riveting look behind the notorious judicial scandal that rocked the nation. Beyond the millions paid and high stakes corruption, Kids For Cash exposes a shocking American secret. In the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town celebrates a charismatic judge who is hell-bent on keeping kids in line...until one parent dares to question the motives behind his brand of justice. This real life thriller reveals the untold stories of the masterminds at the center of the scandal and the chilling aftermath of lives destroyed in the process - a stunning emotional roller coaster.
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