This poor excuse for a human being, Judge Mark Ciavarella, was putting kids as young as 10 years old into prison. Not for the crimes they'd committed but instead for kickbacks from the for-profit prison system into which the kids were sent. Hard to imagine a more vile piece of humanity than Ciavarella. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned 4,000 of his convictions. 4,000. I guess it's easier to do such things when you've already sold your soul.
His sentence was not harsh enough. A 28 year sentence to a 61 year old man might be enough, but a million dollar fine for a million dollar profit is not. For other judges and for-profit prisons, this could just be seen as a cost of doing business, and not even a high enough cost to stop such practices.
The reason it is not enough is because the odds of getting any sort of fine are so low.
The odds that Ciavarella would be caught were less than 100%. There was maybe a 20% chance, say. The odds that the DA would decide to prosecute were less than 100% - perhaps about 50%? And finally, the odds that he'd be found guilty were less than 100% - again, maybe 70%? (And yes, I'm making up these numbers; the only thing that I know for sure is that the odds of his making it to each stage are less than 100% and by 10's of percent.) So by these calculations, the odds that Judge Ciavarella would be caught, prosecuted, and found guilty were about 7% (20% X 50% X 70%).
So if you are another judge who is amoral enough to look at the incarceration of the young as a for-profit venture, you could easily make the following calculation. "I could make a million dollars by giving out the maximum sentence to these kids. Money I'd get in kick backs for the cost of their incarceration. Money paid by taxpayers to the for-profit prison company." Then you'd have to ask about possible costs. By the above calculations, the probable cost of this venture would be about $70,000 (7% of the million). Now you can make your own calculations about probabilities but no matter how you do it, you'll find that a fine equal to the reward for criminal behavior is inadequate. It would only make sense if the odds of being caught, prosecuted, and found guilty were 100%. They're not.
I'd suggest that the judge's fine should have been at least $15 million, not merely $1.2 million. And who could make up the difference? The for-profit prisons.