- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2016

BALTIMORE (AP) - Officials are calling for the end of juvenile shackling in court.

The Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit in the state attorney general’s office has called on the Department of Juvenile Services to stop the use of juvenile shackling, a method in which juveniles are chained with several pounds of shackles around their bodies, the Baltimore Sun (https://bsun.md/1UqqQOr) reported.

Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit director Nick Moroney said, “We shouldn’t be further traumatizing kids unnecessarily, without any particular and individualized reasons.” Moroney argued that shackling should be practiced when juveniles are action out or show risk of harming themselves or others.

Melanie D. Shapiro, chief attorney for the public defender’s juvenile court division in Baltimore City, has also added that the practice treats juveniles like hardened criminals.

Officials at Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services said they need to shackle those in their care to prevent the facilities from devolving into the violence. Officials have pointed to two escape attempts and the slaying of a teacher in a facility in the past six years.

“For us, this is a life-and-death issue,” Jay Clear, Juvenile Services Secretary Sam J. Abed’s chief of staff, said. “We have very little margin for error.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the shackling of adults in court in most cases violates civil rights. The court ruled that shackling adults who posed no flight or safety risks violated their due process rights because they could appear guilty before a jury or judge.

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