Today, Councilmember Grosso joined Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Kenyan McDuffie and Attorney General Karl Racine to announce today a policy change at the D.C. Superior Court pertaining to youth shackling. The routine and indiscriminate shackling of youth appearing in the Family Court division is coming to an end with the issuance by Chief Judge Lee Satterfield of an administrative order. The Chief Judge's order instructs judges and court personnel to remove the shackles from juveniles after they arrive in a court room for a hearing, unless there is a clear need for the youth to remain in restraints due to danger of harm to the youth or others, or danger of flight. This order is the result of close collaboration between the Chief Judge, Councilmembers, Attorney General, Public Defender Service, and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.
Grosso became involved in this issue after successfully passing his "Limitations on the Use of Restraints Amendment Act of 2014", which prohibited the use of shackles on pregnant women and girls in D.C. jail or detention centers. He visited the courts, met with the U.S. Marshals and the Chief Judge, and saw the practice of shackling youth with his own eyes. Grosso and his staff will keep a close eye on implementation of the new administrative order to ensure that youth are not being needlessly shackled. Councilmember Grosso is prepared to introduce legislation if necessary to safeguard the human rights and due process of youth in the courts if the new policy does not live up to its expectations. You can view the order below.