Washington, DC–November 23, 2010– Disability Rights International has partnered with People First of New Hampshire to host a petition calling to end the torture of children and young adults with disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts.
JRC practices a form of aversive therapy that is unique in the United States. JRC‘s practices are based on a theory of behaviorism that people who experience intellectual disabilities can be extinguished by an elaborate system of rewards and punishments for acceptable or unacceptable behavior. To implement this program, authorities at JRC intentionally inflict severe pain on children with disabilities entrusted to their care. The maltreatment of children and adolescents with disabilities at JRC constitutes both physical and psychological abuse, couched in the name of treatment. The treatment at JRC is punishment. Children are subject to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of their feet, finger tips and torsos – in many cases for years, and for some, a decade or more. Electric shocks are administered by a remote-controlled pack attached to a child‘s back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED). The shocks, which last 2 seconds each, are so strong as to cause red spots or blisters to the skin. Some students have received dozens – even hundreds – per day.
Additionally, children are shackled, restrained and secluded for months at a time. Social isolation and food deprivation as punishment is common.
As a result of DRI’s report and urgent appeal to the United Nations concerning these abuses, the United Nations condemned the practices at JRC as torture.
Help us put an end to this torture by signing the petition.