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Debate over strip-search and shackle policies intensifies

March 25th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Maryland lawmakers are moving to withhold $1 million from the state's juvenile justice budget as they await answers from the department about the routine use of strip searches and shackles on youths in state custody.

In an increasingly contentious debate, child welfare and civil rights advocates are calling for an end to what they consider harmful practices, while state officials defend the practices as crucial to keeping 14 state-run facilities safe and secure.

The Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, an independent arm of the attorney general's office, has long urged the department to abandon the "indiscriminate" use of shackles and strip searches that they say traumatize already troubled young people. A Baltimore Sun investigation earlier this month detailed the practices used on juveniles, who are often detained briefly and for low-level offenses.

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