COMING SOON: New Documentary Explores “Kids for Cash” Scandal in PA

A new documentary exploring the headline-making “kids for cash” scandal that took place in Luzerne County, Pa., in 2007, is opening this weekend in Philadelphia. A synopsis of Kids For Cash from the film’s website:

Beginning in the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town in Luzerne County, Pa. elected a charismatic judge who was hell-bent on keeping kids in line. Under his reign, over 3,000 children were ripped from their families and imprisoned for years for crimes as petty as creating a fake MySpace page. When one parent dared to question this harsh brand of justice, it was revealed that the judge had received millions of dollars in payments from the privately owned juvenile detention centers where the kids — most of them only in their early teens — were incarcerated.

The film features interviews with some of the kids who were incarcerated, including Hillary Transue — the girl jailed for creating that spoof MySpace page — and Charlie Balasavage who unknowingly bought a stolen scooter from a relative.

Kids for Cash is directed and produced by Back Mountain, Pa., resident Robert May’s SenArt Films. It opens in Philadelphia on Fri., Feb. 7 at Ritz at the Bourse.