The Washington Post first wrote about the efforts of defense attorneys to have the shackles removed from their clients last year. Court officials and judges have repeatedly fought against removing the shackles, claiming that restraints ensure safety. Routine shackling of youthful offenders has been abandoned by many jurisdictions as unnecessary, demeaning and counter to the juvenile justice system’s aim of rehabilitating, not punishing, youth.
While some say the restraints keep defendants and observers safe in situations that can become tense, opponents pointed out that adult defendants in the same courthouse, even those who have been convicted of violent crimes, can have their restraints removed in court.
Social workers at the detention centers are responsible for screening children for risk of escape or dangerous behavior. “We did not want solely a custodial person — whose frame of reference is security — to make that decision,” but to have the assessment informed by social science, said Stephen Grant, the executive director of court support services for the judicial branch. “We’re very sensitive to not further traumatizing a kid whose life is in chaos. It’s a balance.”
That's the difference between the United States and Singapore.