The Judge Rotenberg Center
Artist: Kim Noble
Have you ever heard of the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC)? Probably not. They are, well, infamous to most of us in the profession.
The JRC has been around for nearly 40 years. About 20 years ago they started doing something only they can do. I’ll show you a link to their site a little further down, but first let me tell you a little more about the JRC. You likely won’t believe it.
What’s are the chances, in 2012, that American children are being electrified on a daily basis by “professionals,” sanctioned by medical doctors, with the written permission of their parents, in a facility that charges $220,000 a year for their services? The chances are excellent if you visit the Judge Rotenberg Center.
The GED (no – it’s not about high school!)
It’s called a Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED). It was “invented” by the founder of JRC “to administer the skin-shocks by remote control through electrodes worn against the skin.” You read it right. It’s strapped onto a child who has been continually defiant to the adults who care for him. Take a look:
They strap this “device” to children and zap them from a distance when they don’t do what they are told. The “inventor,” a psychologist, had the GED patented, and he found medical doctors who called it a “procedure.”
How to “Psycho-Babble” Torture
First, call it “therapy.” You can call anything “therapy.” You already know that. Second, use the word “aversive” instead of painful. It sounds more “scientific.” Third, find doctors to proclaim this is a “medical procedure,” charge an exorbitant amount of money for this offensive bodily invasion, and invoke the child’s “disease” as the “clinical justification” for this “treatment necessity.” Finally, blame the child – and often the family – for the terrible, long-term results when they go bad. And they always go bad.
The actual “psycho-babble” that justifies this medieval torture? Here: “Aversion therapy is a form of psychological treatment in which the patient is exposed to a stimulus while simultaneously being subjected to some form of discomfort. The “stimulus” they mention is the electric jolt. The “discomfort” is the pain that immediately follows the electric jolt. (See more about Aversion Therapy here.)
These professionals certainly know this is a “controversial technique.” However, they say, given everyone’s past failures with different programs and chemicals, at least they have the “courage” to use the GED because, “it works, dammit! It just works!” I imagine if I was so inclined, I could use this device on one of those “professionals” and have them clucking like a chicken in less than 10 minutes – because “it works, dammit! It just works!” What do you think?
Who are among the most ardent, vocal supporters of JRC? Who defends this “practice” with a fervor? Who stands up in court and testifies under oath that JRC has done wonders for their child? Who writes lavish testimonials thanking the Center for electrifying their child?
The parents of these children do.
Because they have been mislead and duped for years by all those professionals with all those letters after their names. Because the people who were supposed to help their child a long time ago failed miserably. Because they trusted the professionals who filled their child full of chemicals. Because parents know chemicals made everything worse. Because, at least at JRC, they don’t use chemicals.
Because these parents have “tried everything else.”
Because they are told repeatedly from the very beginning by a laundry list of professionals their child is “severely handicapped.”
Because they can’t be wrong about this too. Not this time. They love their children dearly. They just can’t be wrong about this too.
Regardless of their honest, heartfelt intentions and the failures by the trusted professionals in their lives, parents do not have the right to sanction someone else to abuse their child anymore than they are allowed to abuse their child themselves.
See for Yourself
Please go here to see the JRC website if you like. Google Judge Rotenberg Center and you’ll find lots of information about their historic, ongoing court battles. The JRC has an annual budget of 56 million dollars. Read about the lawsuit that was just settled in April of 2012 here. You can also read about another mother who is just now suing, also as of April 2012, here.
The UN is on Board
Just a few days ago (June 2012) the UN – that’s right, the United Nations – decided to make a statement. Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, told the Guardian of London he is “very concerned,” about the use of electric shocks as aversive treatment on children with disabilities at JRC.
“I feel very strongly that electricity applied to a person’s body creates a very extreme form of pain. There are a lot of lingering consequences including mental illness that can be devastating,” Mendez said. You can see this whole story here.
There’s a petition online. I signed it months ago. Please consider signing it as well. See it here.
It’s 2012, and there are some powerful adults using electricity to manage kids in these United States.
It’s something . . . you should know.
On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 3 days after this blog was posted, the leadership of the Massachusetts House of Representatives chose not to support a bill that would ban the use of electric shocks on disabled people in the state.
Massachusetts remains, apparently staunchly so, the only state in the country where this unthinkable abuse is legally protected by its constituents.