Rules to end automatic shackling of kids in Illinois courts

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted rule changes on the shackling of juvenile suspects in Illinois courtrooms in the wake of criticism their use was too common, dehumanizing and counterproductive.

A Thursday court statement says the default shouldn’t be to shackle juveniles and that it can happen only after a judge makes a clear finding the juveniles pose a threat to themselves or others.

Chief Justice Rita Garman says in the statement that the changes “will eliminate instances of indiscriminate shackling of minors.”

One advocacy group praised the court. A statement from the Illinois Justice Project says the justices “have made clear that unnecessary shackling of children in courtrooms will not be tolerated.” It adds that shackling “humiliates and traumatizes children” and “should only be done as a last resort.”