Oregon Lawmakers Approve Ban On Shackling Children In Court

May 26, 2017

 

Credit The Oregon Youth Authority; oregon.gov

Oregon lawmakers have approved a measure that would stop children under 18 from being physically restrained during juvenile court proceedings.

The Oregon House voted unanimously in favor of the measure Thursday, sending it to Gov. Kate Brown.

The bill would require restraints, such as shackles or handcuffs, to be removed before a court hearing begins.

Supporters include Representative Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, who said restraining youth in court can needlessly humiliate them and may hurt their ability to be treated fairly.

“I believe this is an important step for our state,” Williamson said. “It brings us in line with the new nationally accepted standards, and moves our juvenile justice system forward in a positive manner.”

Juvenile courts in some Oregon counties already ban the practice.

The bill would allow for restraints to be used if a court determines there is a “serious risk of dangerous or disruptive behavior.”

It would not apply in cases where children are being tried as adults.