CHICAGO, Oct. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois Justice Project on Thursday issued the following statement about the Illinois Supreme Court's new rule prohibiting the indiscriminate shackling of youth in Illinois courtrooms.
Era Laudermilk, Deputy Director of the Illinois Justice Project, said:
We commend the justices of the Illinois Supreme Court for acting in the best interests of children in the juvenile justice system. With this new rule, the justices have made clear that unnecessary shackling of children in courtrooms will not be tolerated.
Shackling practices vary by county, but some judges have required shackling of every child entering a courtroom, regardless of the child's age, the severity of the alleged offense, or the lack of any evidence that the child posed a threat to the security of anyone in the courtroom.
Putting boys and girls in leg irons and belly chains should only be done as a last resort. It humiliates and traumatizes children and it is heartbreaking for their families to see their children brought to court in chains.
Shackling not only can cause lasting mental harm, it can make it more difficult for children to communicate with their attorneys and comprehend what is happening in the courtroom.
Because our Supreme Court justices understand that indiscriminate shackling of children runs counter to the rehabilitative purpose of juvenile courts, all children will be treated humanely in Illinois courtrooms.