Shackled By Candy J. Cooper


A Tale of Wronged Kids, Rogue Judges, and a Town that Looked Away


Published by (2024-04-02)

Here is the explosive story of the Kids for Cash scandal in Pennsylvania, a judicial justice miscarriage that sent more than 2,500 children and teens to a for-profit detention center while two judges lined their pockets with cash, as told by Candy J. Cooper, an award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

In the early 2000s, Judge Mark Ciavarella and Judge Michael Conahan of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania were known as no-nonsense judges. Juveniles who showed up in their courtrooms faced harsh words and even harsher sentencing. In the post-Columbine era, many people believed that was just what the county needed to ensure its children and teens stayed on the straight and narrow path. But as more and more children faced shocking sentences for seemingly benign crimes, and a newly built for-profit detention center filled up further and further, a sinister pattern of abuses and bribery emerged. Through extensive research and original reporting leading into contemporary times, award-winning journalist Candy J. Cooper tells the story of a scandal that the Juvenile Law Center calls “one of the largest and most serious violations of children’s rights in the history of the American legal system.”

Book Details

Format: eBook
Price: 18.99 CAD / 11.99 USD
Published: 2024-04-02
ISBN: 9781662620140
Page Count: 192
Trim Size: 6 x 9

"From cover to cover, SHACKLED is a stellar read and an absolute must-have for all those serving tweens and teens." —Richie Partington, Richie's Picks

"This clear and detailed account, which includes interviews with some of the victims, examines not only how this facility came into being and how its benefactors profited from the imprisonment of children but also how earlier events, such as the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster, paved the way for a culture of government corruption in Luzerne County and allowed the 'cash for kids' scheme to happen. Well researched and concisely reported, this heart-wrenching story is presented in an easy-to-follow and appealing manner. Supporting images of various figures, places, and pieces of evidence provide thought-provoking breaks in the text that emphasize just how real this miscarriage of justice was. An informative and accessible exploration of a major prison crisis with direct relevance to youth." —Kirkus Reviews

"This story about peer victims will appeal to true-crime enthusiasts and socially conscious readers." —Booklist

"The account is compelling in its horrific details....This book has enough history and crime to be intriguing for class assignments." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Cooper relates the story of two corrupt judges who received massive financial kickbacks for putting hundreds of juvenile offenders in jail for relatively minor offenses in Luzerne County, PA, from the late 1990s to 2008....[and] concludes with an interesting discussion of the long-term harm done by the punitive juvenile detention system, including follow up on the adult lives of some of the victims, paralleled with a brief introduction to the benefits of the newer practice of restorative justice. A highly readable and thought-provoking addition to true crime collections for teens." —School Library Journal