Criminal justice reform advocates are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a pair of measures meant to address the juvenile justice system in New York.
The measures, taken together, are part of an ongoing push by New York state lawmakers to reform juvenile justice laws in recent years.
One bill would bar the use of mechanical restraints on children who appear in Family Court. Exceptions allow for a judge to determine restraints are needed for safety purposes or to limit disruption in a courtroom with evidentiary requirements.
Another bill would make changes to the laws governing warrants for juvenile delinquency in Family Court. When the court is not in session, the young person would be brought to the most accessible magistrate designated by the appellate division, and Family Court law would apply as to whether the person is detained or released.
Both bills were sent this week to Hochul's desk.
“These bills address two problematic areas in the juvenile justice system that need reform now, ensuring that young New Yorkers are not subject to harm due to needless and prejudicial shackling in the courtroom, and ensuring that our clients are not detained longer than necessary as a result of the timing of a return on a warrant,” said Dawne Mitchell, attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at the Legal Aid Society. “The Legal Aid Society thanks the Legislature for passing these measures and we urge Governor Hochul to sign them into law at once.”