The third bill in a legislative package designed to enhance Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system is one step closer to becoming law, state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon/Monroe) said today.
Senate Bill 817, which restricts the use of restraints on juveniles during court proceedings, unanimously passed the state Senate this afternoon and now awaits the signature of Gov. Tom Corbett.
"I am very proud to have worked with Sen. Lisa Baker on these continued reforms and improvements to Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system," Yudichak said. "This legislation is another step towards restoring integrity to our system and was especially important because children should never be shackled unless they pose a significant and substantial risk to public safety or courtroom proceedings."
Yudichak said that the bill will prohibit the use of restraints on juveniles unless they are needed to prevent physical harm to the child or another person or if the child, evidenced by a previous history, is a significant threat to disrupt or flee the courtroom.
Gov. Corbett previously signed into law Senate Bills 815 and 818, which require counsel be present at juvenile delinquency hearings and juvenile court judges to state on the record the reasons behind a disposition order, respectively.
The final bill in the legislative package, Senate bill 816, would require the proposed Office of Victim Advocate to represent and advocate for the interests of victims of juvenile crime. Senate Bill 816 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.