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House Passes Official Corruption, Juvenile Justice Bills, Toohil Says

HARRISBURG - The House of Representatives has passed two bills offered in response to the “Kids for Cash” scandal which occurred in Luzerne County, Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) said today.

House Bill 1546, introduced by Toohil, requires statistical data on juvenile justice to be compiled and posted on the state website.  The bill codifies recommendations of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice.

“My bill makes it possible to go online and determine how many children are being sent away to prison,” Toohil said.  “Putting the commission’s recommendations into law will ensure the Commonwealth remains vigilant in years to come.”

House Bill 1436, introduced by Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) creates a legal mechanism for citizens who are victims of an abuse of power and holds public officials who abuse their power accountable. The legislation also creates a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for public officials who use their official position to violate someone’s rights and provides for restitution for the victims.

“A citizen who is a victim of an abuse of power must have the legal means to seek compensation for that abuse,” Toohil said.  “In addition to providing a procedure for public officials to be held accountable for abuses of power, this legislation creates a structure for their victims to seek restitution.”

The “Kids for Cash” scandal involved judicial kickbacks at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.  Two judges were accused of accepting money from the co-owner and builder of two private, for-profit juvenile facilities, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh sentences on juveniles brought before their courts in order to ensure that the detention centers would be used.  In all, there have been more than 30 indictments of public officials who have violated the public trust.

“The Kids of Cash scandal is a terrible mark on our court system,” Toohil said.  “These bills will ensure that children’s rights are protected in the juvenile justice system so that a scandal like this cannot occur again.”

The bills will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

State Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Rep. Toohil’s Office  

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