Newspaper Poll: Should Electric Shocks Continue at the Judge Rotenberg Center

26 Feb

I just received this message from Nancy Weiss. A newspaper local to the Judge Rotenberg Center is hosting a poll on whether the electric shocks should continue.

The Canton Journal (the local newspaper from the town in which the Judge Rotenberg Center is located) is conducting a poll to determine whether people support the Massachusetts Governor’s efforts to terminate the consent decree that gives the Judge Rotenberg Center the right to use electric shock to control residents’ behavior. So far the responses have been about even. The poll is quick to take. It’s wording is a little odd:

Sen. Brian A. Joyce applauded Governor Deval Patrick’s effort to get a 1987 court order overturned allowing the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton to continue to use aversive therapies, like electric shocks, on disabled children. Do you agree with Joyce?
If you agree that the use of electric shock for behavior control should be eliminated; please click below and vote “yes”.

10 Responses to “Newspaper Poll: Should Electric Shocks Continue at the Judge Rotenberg Center”

  1. Lara Lohne February 26, 2013 at 20:01 #

    Answered and shared on Facebook too.

  2. Lindsay February 26, 2013 at 20:58 #

    It is beyond fucked up that they think it’s OK to take a poll on whether or not to torture people.

  3. Sue Denim February 27, 2013 at 00:09 #

    I agree with Lindsay, but it’s about par for the course here, where civil rights and human dignity depend on however the average un- and misinformed voter decides. I guess I’m in the minority when I say that all manner of civil rights should be afforded to every citizen.

  4. RvH February 27, 2013 at 01:07 #

    Walk in the shoes of parents and students/clients, visit the program and then make an informed decision. Parents include lawyers, a Harvard educator, physician and a church deacon. They are not un-informed but want the best for their children. Are ineffectuve mind altering psychtropic medications, chronic restraints, seclusion time out, psychosurgery or eclectro-convulive shock therapy (ECT) alternatives acceptable? I think not. These are currently being used in MA.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 27, 2013 at 03:13 #

      When can I come?

      I will want to be shocked multiple times by the highest power GED and spend at least four hours reviewing video, with me controlling what dates and times I get to see. This will of course after reviewing your logs to see when students were shocked and interviewing students who are on GED. I want to see that shocks are logged in a secure database and that video footage is archived.

      So, again, when can I come?

      • BA February 27, 2013 at 21:04 #

        They have offered tours somewhat freely in the past. Go to the contact page on their website (

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) February 27, 2013 at 21:50 #

        I don’t want a tour. I want to be able to see what is actually going on. I want to be able to see videos. I want to be shocked by the GED so I can understand what it is really like. I want to see the log books on the aversives they use.

        I don’t want “Here’s our yellow brick road, isn’t that nice?” I want to, how was it put, “Walk in the shoes of parents and students/clients”, with an emphasis on the students/clients. Would the tour include having a GED attached and any time I exhibit inappropriate behaviors I get shocked? That’s what I want. It wouldn’t be close to walking in the shoes of someone who lives with that 24/7, but it would be a step closer.

        I’ve always felt that the JRC has argued contradictory ideas: (1) you need to understand what this population really needs and is experiencing and (2) we won’t share information. As in when a parent wanted to make a video public. Or when tapes were destroyed.

      • BA February 28, 2013 at 20:46 #

        You couldn’t pay me enough to walk through the doors again. And on tour they show you plenty of what happens. At least they have in the past, now may be a very different story. It is very “yellow brick roadish” and that part of it is fairly scary if you know how programming for problem behavior should work. The glitz and such is antithetical to what would be supportive for the programming that should follow for certain presentations of problem behavior.

    • Saraquill March 2, 2013 at 00:22 #

      Unlike the shocks delivered by the Center, ECT is done under anesthesia.

  5. Gene De Santis March 6, 2013 at 15:07 #

    Who do you think is in the best position to make these decisions: politicians, the public responding to a newspaper poll, or loving parents doing their very best to select the treatment that is best for their child (with oversight by a judge)? It is incredible to me that nobody questions the authority of a parent to take their child for braces or other medical or dental care that may involve pain, but people who have never walked a step in the shoes of these parents with the most profoundly disabled children would take away their right to receive life-altering (and at times life saving) treatment. how presumptuous!

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