SCRANTON, Pa. – Three companies behind private juvenile detention and treatment facilities at the heart of a juvenile justice scandal in northeastern Pennsylvania have settled a civil lawsuit for $2.5 million.
The settlement involving claims brought by thousands of juveniles against PA Child Care, Western PA Child Care and Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp. was granted preliminary approval in federal court.
Two former Luzerne County judges are serving lengthy prison terms in connection with the “kids for cash” scandal. Prosecutors say children were locked away in the facilities, often for minor offences, by judges who took illegal payments from the facilities’ builder and co-owner.
The two sides will now ask U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo for final approval.
Former Luzerne County judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in prison after he was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy. His former colleague Michael Conahan pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge and was sentenced to more than 17 years.
The two judges and the facilities’ co-owner remain defendants in the lawsuit.
All juveniles adjudicated or sent to a facility from 2003 to mid-2008 would be eligible to receive damages, with those placed in PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care eligible for more damages, according to the settlement terms.