New film “Kids for Cash” exposes corruption in juvenile justice system

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The film looks at the dark side of the juvenile justice system. It is playing in Los Angeles beginning on March 7.

Acclaimed producer Robert May’s directorial debut details a corruption scandal that rocked Pennsylvania, but its implications drive straight at the heart of the nation’s frequently flawed and often tragic approach to juvenile justice.

“Kids for Cash,” which has been playing at select theaters since February and now comes to Los Angeles starting March 7, is ostensibly a crime documentary. It details how a crooked judge, now himself behind bars, “received millions of dollars in payments from… privately-owned juvenile detention centers” in exchange for giving overly-harsh sentences to teens, some of whom did no worse than create a fake MySpace page. The focus of the film, however, turns away from the particulars of the scandal to the deeper implications, showing the callous calculations that are all too common when the futures of our youths are at stake.

“Kids for Cash” is getting rave reviews, achieving a 93 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been lauded as a “shocking and impartial portrait of justice denied and childhoods erased.” Complete with interviews with the victims and their families and a scathing critique of juvenile justice practices, it should prove an important work in the fight to bring about awareness regarding the school-to-prison pipeline.

To see when it is playing near you, visit the “Kids for Cash” website,

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