This is pretty horrific. Not just judges taking bribes, but judges taking bribes from private prisons to give children jail sentences there. In other words, people were being locked up as a side-effect of a scheme for prisons to drum up more business:
Hillary Transue, 17, who appeared in Ciavarella’s courtroom in 2007 and spent a month in a wilderness camp for building a MySpace page that lampooned her assistant principal, was elated that her record would be expunged.
Youths were routinely brought before Ciavarella without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent to detention for offenses as minor as stealing change from cars and writing prank notes.
[xpost from LJ]