Lawmakers Seek To Limit Use Of Shackles On Juveniles In Court

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.