Mark Ciavarella JnrMark Ciavarella Jnr
United States of America judge - Mark Ciavarella Jnr has been jailed for 28 years and ordered to pay $1.2m (£770,000) in restitution for conspiring with private prisons to hand young offenders maximum sentences in return for kickbacks amounting to millions of dollars.
The 61-year old former Luzerne County Judge was tried and convicted of racketeering charges. Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella Jnr and a second judge - Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2m in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centres and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities' co-owner.
He was found to be a “figurehead” in the conspiracy that saw thousands of children - some as young as 10, and many of them first-time offenders; unjustly convicted of petty theft and other minor crimes, in the name of profit in the case that became known as “kids for cash.”
He remained defiant after his arrest, insisting the payments were legal and denying he incarcerated youths for money.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella Jnr between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea.