ACLU and Child Advocates Win New Rule Ending Automatic Shackling of Children in Ohio Courts
COLUMBUS—Today the Supreme Court of Ohio announced adoption of Local Child Restraint Rule 5.01, a Rule of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio which prohibits the automatic and indiscriminate shackling of children appearing in juvenile court. The ACLU of Ohio cites this as a major victory in their long-standing campaign to improve Ohio’s juvenile justice system.
“Juvenile courts are supposed to have a mission to rehabilitate, but shackling a child for no reason only inflicts trauma on them,” said Shakyra Diaz, policy manager for the ACLU of Ohio. “This rule will finally require that each child has an individualized assessment before a court decides whether they should be shackled. Ending automatic shackling assures that children receive the same due process protection in courts as adults. This rule allows them to appear in court in a dignified manner, free of restraints.”
Last December, the ACLU of Ohio called on the public and other child advocates to submit comments to the Supreme Court in support of this rule.
“The resounding response we heard during the public comment period showed that people understand the basic unfairness of treating children more harshly than adults,” Diaz said. “Thankfully, the court has reached a decision that upholds the standards we share for the juvenile justice system.”
Rule 5.01 now requires Ohio’s juvenile courts to adopt a local rule creating a presumption against automatic shackling. It still allows judge to determine if restraints are needed because an individual child presents a threat in court or an imminent flight risk.
“This rule also affirms judicial discretion within the court. It preserves the ability of judges to make decisions about safety in their courtrooms, while protecting children’s rights. While we must continue to monitor local implementation to ensure that courts are upholding this rule, today is a great victory for the well-being of Ohio’s children.”