On Thursday 14 February 2013 (Valentine's Day!), Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick filed a motion to vacate (render null) the 1987 settlement agreement that has permitted the Judge Rotenberg Center to use aversives, including the notorious electric shock GED devices. This could mean the end of aversives at the JRC.
Read the press release from Senator Brian A. Joyce here!
From the press release:
“The governor has always been an ally when it comes to protecting these severely disabled children from the JRC’s barbaric practices,” said Joyce. “This comes on the heels of the FDA’s meeting with the JRC over their use of GED shock devices that have not even been approved for use but are strapped to disabled children right now administering painful skin shocks for simple misbehaviors. It is time for this order to be vacated and to close this dark chapter in how we allow disabled people to be treated in our state.”Because the JRC has been defending its practices based on the 1987 settlement, the vacatur of that court order might mean that the JRC no longer has access to that defense, which could result in a permanent end to the use of aversives as "therapy."
In 1987, a settlement was reached between the JRC and the Commonwealth allowing the continued use of aversives. The court order was supposed to be vacated in 1988, but was extended indefinitely because the JRC was not yet licensed a year after the order’s issuance. At the time, the GED skin shock devices were not yet in use and aversive therapy consisted of water sprays, taste aversives, muscle squeezes, spanks, pinches and restrained time outs. The JRC continually defends its actions based on this court order, and claims that it denies the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) the right to regulate or prohibit the use of the painful skin shocks and other aversives.
You can also read the actual court documents here --