American Kids in CHAINS - Why Do We Still Put Kids in Shackles When They Go to Trial?
Juvenile court judge Mark Ciavarella won popularity in Pennsylvania for his no-nonsense approach to juvenile delinquency. He handed down long sentences for non-violent misdemeanors and convicted children for behaviors that were difficult to classify as crimes, including swearing in public and creating a fake MySpace page. Every child who entered his courtroom was shackled.
But when Ciavarella went on trial for accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks from the for-profit prisons where he sent far too many children, he appeared in court in a suit and tie. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that shackling adult defendants in handcuffs, leg irons and belly chains should be limited to the most extreme cases. The court, however, has remained silent on restraining juveniles.