Debate Over Shackling Juveniles In Guilford County Court

All juvenile offenders in Guilford County courts are shackled under a policy aimed at preventing children and teenagers from running away from guards.

However, leg restraints aren't used on adults without a judge's order.

For that reason, Legal Aid of North Carolina is challenging the Guilford County policy. The organization cites psychologists who say the practice has adverse effects on children.

Kathy Dudley, secretary of program services at the Department of Juvenile Justice, says the restraints help protect drivers and juveniles while the offenders are being moved from detention centers to courtrooms.

When juveniles arrive in the courtroom, a judge can decide whether to remove the shackles, though the restraints are often left on.

Chief District Court Judge Joseph Turner says he expects to rule on the issue this month.