HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1207        FILED ON: 1/18/2017

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 875

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Kay Khan

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to best practices in the juvenile court.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex

Daniel M. Donahue

16th Worcester

Michelle M. DuBois

10th Plymouth

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Linda Dorcena Forry

First Suffolk

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Natalie Higgins

4th Worcester

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Jack Lewis

7th Middlesex

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex

Paul McMurtry

11th Norfolk

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Cynthia Stone Creem

First Middlesex and Norfolk


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1207        FILED ON: 1/18/2017

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 875

By Ms. Khan of Newton, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 875) of Kay Khan and others relative to the use of restraints and best practices in juvenile court proceedings.  The Judiciary.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninetieth General Court
(2017-2018)

_______________

 

An Act relative to best practices in the juvenile court.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1. Chapter 119 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new section:

Section 95.  (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

“Juveniles” – Persons appearing before the juvenile court under the age of eighteen in delinquency, children requiring assistance cases, and care and protection cases, and under the age of twenty-one in youthful offender cases.

“Restraints” – Devices that limit voluntary physical movement of an individual, including leg irons and shackles approved by the trial court security department.

                   (b) There shall be a presumption that restraints shall be removed from juveniles while appearing in a courtroom before a justice of the Juvenile Court.

                   (c) Restraints may not be used on juveniles during court proceedings and must be removed prior to the appearance of juveniles before the court at any stage of any proceedings, unless the justice presiding in the courtroom issues an order and makes specific findings on the record that restraints are necessary because there is reason to believe that a juvenile may try to escape, or that a juvenile may pose a threat to his or her own safety, or to the safety of other people in the courtroom, or restraints are reasonably necessary to maintain order in the courtroom.

(d) The justice presiding in the courtroom shall consider one or more of the following factors prior to issuance of any order and findings:

1)The seriousness of the present charge (supporting a concern that the juvenile has an incentive to attempt to escape);

2)The prior offense history of the juvenile;

3)Any past disruptive courtroom behavior by the juvenile;

4)Any past behavior by the juvenile that presented a threat to his or her own safety, or the safety of other people;

5)Any present behavior that the juveniles represents a current threat to his or her own safety, or the safety of other people in the courtroom;

6)Any past escapes, or attempted escapes;

7)Risk of flight from the courtroom;

8)Any threats of harm to others, or threats to cause a disturbance; and

9)Security situation in the courtroom and courthouse, including risk of gang violence, or attempted revenge by others.

                  (e) The court officer charged with custody of a juvenile shall report any security concerns with said juvenile to the justice presiding in the courtroom. The justice presiding in the courtroom may attach significance to the report and recommendation of the court officer charged with custody of the juvenile, but shall not cede responsibility for determining the use of restraints in the courtroom to the court officer. The justice presiding in the courtroom may receive information from the court officer charged with custody of the juvenile, a probation officer, or any source which the court determines in its discretion to be credible on the issue of courtroom or courthouse security.

The decision to use restrains shall be the sole determination of the juvenile court justice who is presiding in the courtroom at the time that a juvenile appears before the court. No juvenile court justice shall impose a blanket policy to maintain restraints on all juveniles, or a specific category of juveniles, who appear before the court.

SECTION 2. Chapter 120 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 10 the following section:-

Section 10B. No person under 18 years of age and committed to the department of youth services shall be placed in involuntary room confinement as a consequence for noncompliance, punishment or harassment or in retaliation for any conduct.