Washington, DC -- April 29, 2010 -- Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has found children and adults with disabilities tortured and abused at a “special needs” residential facility in Massachusetts and has filed an “urgent appeal” with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to demand the United States government end the torture immediately.
MDRI’s latest report, Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), documents the use of electric shocks on the legs, arms, torsos and soles of feet of people with disabilities -- for weeks, months and sometimes years.
JRC uses punishments as treatment and US advocates have been trying for decades to close the school and end these practices. The school also uses 4-point restraint boards, tying children to the boards while simultaneously shocking them for hours; mock assaults; food deprivation; shock chairs; isolation and long-term restraint. Residents at JRC are diagnosed with a variety of behavioral, intellectual and psychiatric disabilities such as autism, bi-polar disorder and learning disabilities. Laurie Ahern, President of MDRI and author of the report, states,
“The cruelty perpetrated against children and adults at JRC is psychological and physical abuse, couched in the name of ‘treatment’...
The severe pain and suffering leveled against residents there violates the United Nations Convention against Torture. And to the best of our knowledge, JRC is the only facility of any kind in the US -- and perhaps the world -- that uses electricity combined with long-term restraint and other punishments to intentionally cause pain to children with behavioral challenges and calls it treatment.” MDRI calls on the Special Rapporteur, along with the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice, to end the abuses against people with disabilities at JRC. MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the rights protection and full participation in society of people with disabilities worldwide. Help us put an end to the torture of children with disabilities in JRC.