On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Schubert Center Policy Director Gabriella Celeste participated in a panel discussion of Kids for Cash, as part of a statewide conversation on juvenile incarceration and opportunities for improving policy and practice. The film documents the story of a once-celebrated judge from small town Pennsylvania who placed thousands of children behind bars in exchange for financial benefits, and the community’s response once the scheme is uncovered. The larger narrative however is how society neglects to better address the needs of troubled kids in our schools and communities and how too often we turn to the court system rather than developing more appropriate family, school and mental health supports. The Columbus, OH event was presented by the Office of the Ohio Public Defender and co-sponsored by Active Voice, SenArt Films, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Attendees were given the opportunity to screen the documentary and participate in a panel discussion with Robert May, Producer/Director of Kids for Cash; Marsha Levick, Legal Director, Juvenile Law Center; Jill Beeler, Chief Counsel, Juvenile Division, Office of the Ohio Public Defender and Celeste on juvenile justice policy reform in Ohio.
The film is now available for individual screening. More information about the film, screening providers and tools and resources from the “Kids for Cash” group can be found on their website: http://kidsforcashthemovie.com/.
A short film with scenes and extra footage, “Kids in the System,” and a discussion guide, is available here: http://kidsforcashthemovie.com/kids-in-the-system/.