RENO, Nev., Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has released its resolution on shackling of children in juvenile court.
"Resolutions of the NCJFCJ are how approximately 1,600 family court judges unite and speak out on important issues that face our children and families that come before all kinds of family courts across our nation," said Judge Darlene Byrne, NCJFCJ president. "I cannot think of a more fundamental right of due process and basic human dignity than for a child to be able to face a juvenile court judge without shackles unless there is a true safety concern for the child or participants in court. The presumption should not be only innocent until proven guilty but also a child should be presumed to be able to manage their behaviors in such a way in court as to not indiscriminately require shackling for their court hearings. The decision to shackle or not shackle should be made individually by the judge, and the presumption should be no shackles."
Up to 90% of justice-involved youth report exposure to some type of traumatic event. The NCJFCJ defines shackles to include handcuffs, waist chains, ankle restraints, zip ties or other restraints that are designed to impede movement or control behavior.
"Across the country, tens of thousands of young people are needlessly shackled in juvenile and family courts," said David Shapiro, campaign manager for the Campaign Against Indiscriminate Juvenile Shackling (CAIJS) at the National Juvenile Defender Center. "The courtroom is the last place this practice should occur. Judges have a unique responsibility to ensure not only fair outcomes, but fair processes. The NCJFCJ has issued a powerful message that the practice of automatically shackling youth in our courtrooms does not comport with what it means to be fair and trauma-informed, and that such a practice will no longer be tolerated."
About the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:
Founded in 1937, the Reno, Nev.-based NCJFCJ, is the nation's oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation's juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.
Contact: Chrisie Yabu, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)