Two former judges must pay $200 million after sending kids to prison for bribe money

Children as young as 8 went to prison as part of the pair's efforts
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Judge's gavel
Judge's gavel
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former Pennsylvania judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan must pay a total of $206 million to roughly 300 people following a "cash-for-kids" scandal in which the pair sent children to for-profit prisons in exchange for financial compensation.

The victims received an award of $106 million in compensatory damages and another $100 million in punitive damages, per the Associated Press. U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner called the affair "a scandal of epic proportions.”

“Ciavarella and Conahan abandoned their oath and breached the public trust,” Conner wrote. “Their cruel and despicable actions victimized a vulnerable population of young people, many of whom were suffering from emotional issues and mental health concerns.”

Children as young as 8 went to prison as part of the pair's efforts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the convictions of over 2,300 children following the scheme, per the outlet.

Both men were sentenced to prison in 2011. Apart from the civil suit's damages, Ciavarella received 28 years in prison while Conahan got 17 years but was released in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and confined to house arrest.