Robert May — known for his work as a producer of the documentaries “The Fog of War” and “Stevie” — decided to explore a story he’d heard in the news; a scandal involving a juvenile court judge named Mark Ciavarella.
The judge was once a highly respected in his community for taking a “zero tolerance” policy on misbehaving teens. Ciavarella ended up jailing 3,000 kids in post-Columbine America, some for misdemeanors they didn’t commit.
“Cash for Kids” dissects the court cases, reports the impact of this corrupt judge, and works to pin down whether money was his only motivation. Surprisingly, Ciavarella and another judge involved agreed to be interviewed for the film. “Kids for Cash” goes beyond the scandal to reveal bigger problems in the juvenile justice system.
The film is one of the 134 up this year for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. That long list will be cut to around 15 docs early next month. The official nominations will be announced Jan. 15th. “Kids for Cash” is available via download or stream here.
“Kids for Cash – A discussion with Robert May” was produced and directed by Barry Rubinow.