For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses.
The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench.
That's one possible explanation, the other is that this is the way courts run nowadays.
The short version is two judges are alleged to have received kickbacks from the private juvenile justice center for every kid they sent there; so they sent a lot of kids, for a lot of time. The center can bill $260/day.
Leave aside whether the judges are guilty or innocent. Observe, however, why it was that the scheme worked. It worked because of the criminal justice system has been offloaded to psychiatry.
I don't know this particular facility, but I do know what a "juvenile detention center" is: it's a place you go and wait until your court date, assuming you can't make bail. So these kids were waiting in this facility, for however long the judge cared to make them wait.
How can you do this? What about due process?
You simply say they're not competent to stand trial.
There may have been some "prison" like housing as well, i.e. post-trial sentencing to be in that facility, but all of the above apply: it could be justified because it wasn't just punitive, there was "treatment." (If there actually was.)
There was an older county juvenile jail, but it was shut down because it was "falling apart" but, more importantly, because it didn't provide modern "services." You can't lock kids up for months for nothing; you have to provide them with treatment for their illness-- obviously, that's why they committed a crime in the first place.
Note well that this scam was detected not because someone noticed large numbers of kids were disappearing into the black hole of the juvenile justice system, but because the owner of the prison was using company money to buy jets, boats, etc.
As I said before: the only red flag of impropriety for anyone, anymore, is money. As long as you don't get paid for it, you can pretty much go Zodiac, and no one will notice.