Juveniles May Not Be Shackled During Court Proceedings

November 8, 2016

On October 6, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court amended its rules to add Rule 943 prohibiting the shackling of juveniles during delinquency proceedings absent a court order. The Rule effectively prohibits the handcuffing, shackling, or restraint of minors “during court proceedings.”  Juveniles cannot be restrained while in court, absent an order following a hearing on whether the juvenile should be shackled or restrained. The Rule does not mention, nor does it seem to prohibit, the restraint of minors during transport to and from the detention center. The Rule does not extend to the restraint of juveniles in the jail, or outside of a courtroom setting.

The Rule does, however, provide for restraint upon notice and after a hearing. Unfortunately, the Rule does not provide a mechanism or guidance for how this process would be initiated. Most likely, a motion would be brought by the State’s Attorney, upon information provided by police or jail officials that details the necessity for restraint (i.e. dangerousness, history of disruptive behavior, self-harm risk, or flight risk).

County jails should consider enacting a policy tracking the new rule and outline a procedure by which restraint orders could be obtained. This policy could include the sharing of any incident reports or other pertinent documentation on repeat juvenile offenders, or documenting the recommendations of the arresting officers about particularly dangerous, flighty, or violent juveniles and providing any information to the State’s Attorney, so that a shackling order can be obtained at the earliest possible date, if the juvenile poses a risk of violence or escape.

The new rule goes into effect November 1, 2016.

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