WASHINGTON – Political leaders and judges in the District of Columbia's federally run court system have reached an agreement to end the routine shackling of juvenile defendants during court appearances.
Chief Judge Lee Satterfield of D.C. Superior Court issued an order on Friday that calls for judges to decide on a case-by-case basis whether juveniles should wear arm and leg restraints in court. Satterfield had previously argued that shackling was necessary to protect the safety of people in the courthouse. Judges will retain the power to order a child to be shackled.
The U.S. Marshals Service handles security at the courthouse and participated in negotiations that led to the order.
At least a dozen states have banned the routine use of shackles on juveniles. Advocates call the practice inhumane and counterproductive.