SB 977 - This act prohibits the use of restraints, including handcuffs, chains, irons, and straightjackets on children under the age of 17 during court proceedings.
Restraints may be used on children in court, however, if the court determines there are no less restrictive alternatives to restraints and they are necessary to prevent harm to the child or others, the child has a history of certain harmful behaviors, or there is evidence that the child presents a substantial risk of flight.
Under this act, the court must provide the child's attorney with an opportunity to be heard and make findings of fact when ordering the use of restraints.
This provision is substantially similar to SB 269 (2015).
In addition, this act prohibits the use of restraints on offenders during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and for 48 hours after delivery unless a doctor treating the pregnant or post-partum offender has determined that extraordinary circumstances exist. This act defines "extraordinary circumstances."
Under this act, pregnant and postpartum offenders must be transported in cars with seatbelts. If restraints are used, they must be the least restrictive available. Leg or waist restraints may not be used on pregnant or postpartum offenders and restraints must not be used if a health care provider treating the offender requests that restraints not be used.
Whenever a doctor determines extraordinary circumstances exist and restraints are used, the doctor must fully document certain information in writing within 7 days of the incident. This act requires the Sentencing and Corrections Oversight Commission and the advisory committee on women's programs to conduct biannual reviews of the written reports. The Department of Corrections must keep the reports on file for five years.
This act requires the head of each prison to provide training to prison employees on the requirements of this act and inform female offenders of the prison's policies and practices regarding the use of restraints on pregnant and postpartum inmates.
This provision is similar to a provision of HCS/SCS/SB 618 (2016), HB 2552 (2016), and HCS/SS/SCS/SB 663 (2016).