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Morris, New Haven’s Walker seek to limit use of shackles on juveniles in court

Juvenile in leg chains. (Photo courtesy of Florida public defender)
Juvenile in leg chains. (Photo courtesy of Florida public defender)

HARTFORD, Conn. – Concerns about the use of shackles on juveniles in court have prompted two lawmakers, Rep. Bruce Morris of Norwalk and Rep. Toni Walker of New Haven, to introduce legislation to limit the use of restraints.

The proposals are in response to advocates’ concerns that juveniles are often shackled when they appear in court unless their attorneys ask that the restraints, which can include handcuffs, leg irons and belly chains, be removed.

Morris, who chairs the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, said shackling is demeaning and can damage a child’s sense of self-worth. “It says, ‘I don’t trust you enough that you will honor the dignity of a court. You’re unmanageable,’” he said. “Is that a message we want to send? I say no.”

See the complete story at Connecticut Health I-Team

 

Comments

4 responses to “Morris, New Haven’s Walker seek to limit use of shackles on juveniles in court”

  1. John Hamlin

    But lots of kids under 16 are unmanageable — particularly those who end up arrested — I would think avoiding arrest in the first place would do more for their self worth than failing to protect others from them once they face criminal proceedings in court. Talk about a law that we don’t need.

  2. fedUP

    Yes…lets make sure they are completely comfortable so as to provide no incentive to NOT return to the system. Lets give them premium cable too while we are at it.

  3. John Frank sr

    If this bill passes, who then becomes responsible for the prisoner who tries to assault the judge, or escape ? Is there a part of this bill to finance the additional security that will be required for the really unpredictable, dangerous, unshackled prisoners ? Some, of course, do not need shackles, some do, but that decision can not safely be made in the legislature.

    This bill is well intentioned, but, unless it provides funding for the additional security that will be required if shackles are outlawed, it is a mistake.

  4. Jubilantjudy

    @John Hamlin @fedUP @John Frank sr

    In CT right now we routinely shackle young people as they are brought into juvenile court.

    Most young people referred to juvenile court are on misdemeanor charges – minor charges.

    Many other states do not shackle young people and there is not a problem with courtroom violence. Adults are not brought into the courtroom in chains without due process from a judge. Are we scared of young people so much we have to chain them up whatever they have done?

    This legislation is necessary. The state should not be humiliating young people by bringing them to court in chains. This is CT in 2015!!!

    http://www.courant.com/opinion/letters/hc-routinely-shackling-accused-kids-is-wrong-20150205-story.html

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