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Family Movie Review: Kids for Cash (PG-13)

KidsForCash ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13            Length: 113 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. There’s some cursing, as well as mentions of drug use and underage drinking. But this documentary could be an excellent conversation-starter for parents and their children, about the consequences of their actions, the shortcomings of the justice system, and the importance of being educated about your rights. The film unfortunately shirks away from some of the hardest questions, but it’s still thought-provoking.

Documentary ‘Kids for Cash’ considers two Pennsylvania judges who five years ago were implicated in a scandal involving sending kids to a private detention center, no matter their crime, for cash kickbacks. The failure of the zero-tolerance policy and the shocking hypocrisy at play here by people whose primary concern is supposed to be protecting children is gripping stuff.

By Roxana Hadadi

You may have already heard about the “kids for cash” scandal of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. When the story broke five years ago of two judges allegedly accepting cash kickbacks for sending juvenile offenders to a private detention center, the claims were everywhere: the Internet, cable news channels, print media. Some years removed, director Robert May’s documentary “Kids for Cash” reconnects with the implicated judges, the children and parents affected, and the media, advocacy groups, and other lawyers involved in the scandal. What he comes up with is mostly engaging and infuriating stuff.

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