Book Title: Kids for Cash: Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme
Publisher: The New Press
Author: William Ecenbarger
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning Philadelphia Inquirer reporter William Ecenbarger comes the exposé of a shocking scandal that ruined thousands of young lives—in paperback for the first time. As the Boston Globe wrote, "The story is incredible: Thousands of children wrongfully sentenced to juvenile detention centers, many without legal representation and after cursory hearings, by two rogue judges in northern Pennsylvania who received millions of dollars in bribes from the private institutions' owners." The story has all the elements of a true-crime legal thriller—mafia connections, colorful characters, corruption—and was made into a documentary of the same title, released in theaters in 2014. The Philadelphia Review of Books called the story "harrowing," Library Journal called it "shocking," and the Pittsburgh Tribune called it "heartbreaking."
When it was first released, Kids for Cash brought the story to national attention, where it has stayed ever since. As the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, this is the "worst stain on Pennsylvania, a state with more than its share of stains…Bill Ecenbarger offers a detail-packed, sickening account of the scandal and its impact. Anyone caring about courts, justice or children should read it."