The anti-shackling movement is slowly moving across the country, but has yet to take firm hold in Indiana. Anti-shackling refers to the elimination of indiscriminate shackling of all detained juveniles during court appearances. Rather, only juveniles who have been determined by the court to be at risk of running or causing harm may be shackled during appearances.
At least part of the argument for anti-shackling is based on criminal law. The United States Supreme Court has held that when a person is not detained for punishment as a convicted criminal, due process forbids the use of restraints “except when and to the extent professional judgment deems this necessary.” Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 324 (1982).
There is geographic disparity in Indiana with the use of shackles on detained juveniles. For example, in Marion County, very few children appear in court shackled. In other counties, virtually every child who is detained wears handcuffs, belly chains/belts, and leg irons.
Resources to begin learning about the issue include:
- Carlos J. Martinez, Policy Report Unchain the Children: Five Years Later in Florida (where the movement began).
- Brian D. Gallagher and John C. Lore, III, Shackling Children in Juvenile Court: The Growing Debate, Recent Trends, and the Way To Protect Everyone’s Interest
- Kim M. McLaurin, Children in Chains: Indiscriminate Shackling of Juveniles
- A sample anti-shackling motion used in Ohio.