Introduced by Representatives Jewett of Ripton, Clark of Vergennes, Donahue of Northfield, Donovan of Burlington and Kiss of Burlington
Subject: Human services; judicial proceedings; transportation of a child in the custody of the state
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to discourage the use of leg-irons, shackles, or similar restraining devices when transporting a child who is in the custody of the state unless public safety requires that such methods be used.
AN ACT RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION OF CHILDREN IN THE CUSTODY OF THE STATE
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 33 V.S.A. § 5541 is added to read:
§ 5541. TRANSPORTATION OF A CHILD
(a) The general assembly finds that the use of leg irons, shackles, or similar restraining devices when transporting a child who is in the custody of the state can be harmful to a child’s self-esteem, cause humiliation, and be detrimental to efforts made toward therapeutic disposition or rehabilitation.
(b) Notwithstanding provisions of law to the contrary or the authority of the department for children and family services to make determinations on behalf of a child as the child’s legal custodian, when a child is being transported by an employee of the department for children and family services, the department of corrections, or law enforcement, reasonable and appropriate efforts consistent with public safety shall be made to transport the child in a manner that:
(1) prevents physical and psychological trauma to the child; and
(2) respects the privacy of the child by using the least conspicuous and least restrictive means necessary for the safety of the child.
(c) If a child is in the custody of the commissioner of the department for children and family services, the use of mechanical restraints when transporting the child shall be permitted only upon a finding, in writing, by the commissioner that such method of restraint during transport is necessary for that child to ensure the child’s safety.
The Vermont General Assembly
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