The JRC is a residential facility (they also operate several group homes) notorious for their use of aversive electric shock as punishment for its disabled residents, as well as their use of other abusive practices, such as prolonged restraint and seclusion, food deprivation, sensory assault, and other physical abuse. They have been open since 1971.
I have been increasingly involved with efforts to close the JRC since 2010. I have drafted letters to federal and state entities regarding challenges to the use and legality of aversives. I have testified about the JRC in front of members of the Massachusetts legislature (the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities) and the Commissioner of Developmental Services. I have also been part of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's policy advocacy efforts regarding the JRC.
Last updated on 10 May 2013!
|Me with a poster I drew (and Shain Neumeier colored) at Occupy the JRC protest at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) White Oak campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, on 9 January 2013. Photo courtesy T. C. Hall Media.|
Image description: Young Asian woman (me) with short black hair and glasses, wearing a long, dark blue wool coat standing in a street and holding a large, hand-drawn poster that says "Shocked for... hugging staff, swearing, nagging, getting out of seat, taking off coat, screaming, tensing up, closing eyes, raising hand. BAN the GED." (The word "Shocked" at the top is drawn in lightning bolt letters. The list of "offenses" is given in bullet points.) To the left of the bullet points, there is a drawing of a male-presenting child and a female-presenting child. The male-presenting child, who appears white, is wearing a light blue shirt with black horizontal stripes, brown pants, and gray shoes. The female-presenting child, who appears Latina, is wearing a purple shirt, gray pants, and light blue socks. Both children are crying with tears on their cheeks.
Posts on Autistic Hoya
- When Treatment Becomes Torture: This is What Disabled Oppression Looks Like This is an article I wrote for the opinion section of the online newsmagazine The Fire This Time regarding the JRC. So far the only thing in this section that's not hosted on this actual site.
- Level III Aversives and the Judge Rotenberg Center A summary of my testimony and the JRC's testimony at a 2011 hearing of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services regarding new regulations (promulgated) prohibiting the use of the graduated electronic decelerator (GED) shock device on newly admitted students at the JRC.
- End the torture. Make this go viral. A post regarding the clip from surveillance footage of autistic teenager Andre McCollins receiving 31 shocks in seven hours while at the JRC in 2002 that was aired during a civil trial against the JRC in April 2012.
- Do you remember the Autistic boy inside the bag? A letter to readers regarding former JRC staffer Gregory Miller's petition to end electric shock at the JRC.
- What they do to us is intolerable! A summary of a workshop that I co-presented with Emily Titon at the TASH New England conference in May 2012 about the JRC's practices and history.
- Judge Rotenberg Center Survivor's Letter A letter from an autistic survivor of the JRC about her experiences while a resident, published with permission.
- Letter from Former Teacher at Torture Center A letter from former JRC staffer Gregory Miller about his experiences while working at the JRC, published with permission.
- A Glimpse into the Judge Rotenberg Center's Fractious History A brief introduction to my transcription of the Boston Phoenix article on the Behavior Research Institute.
- The End of Torture at the Judge Rotenberg Center? Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's administration files a motion to vacate (render null) the 1987 court settlement that's kept the JRC open and that the JRC has been using to justify its activities.
- Another Blow to the Judge Rotenberg Center A press release from New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile calling for 120 students to be removed and $13 million to be cut from the JRC's revenue, from February 2013.
- Testimony on Anti-Aversives Bills My written testimony to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities for a hearing on the anti-shock bills in 2011.
- Updates on the Judge Rotenberg Center and Autistic Hoya in the News A smattering of updates including links to uploads (original, high contrast, and text-accessible) of the NYSED's 2013 letter to the JRC, and the two letters from CMS to the Massachusetts EOHHS from 2012. Those links can also be found below.
Uploads to the Autistic Hoya YouTube page
- Footage of the Judge Rotenberg Center torturing a person with a disability aired in court (Graphic) Photo-sensitive epilepsy warning on this video as well. This is the Andre McCollins shock video.
- Electric Shock Treatments in MA
- FOX Undercover: Rotenberg Attorney
- FOX Undercover: Rotenberg Mother
- Gov. Patrick Supports Shock Ban
- JRC expert admits shocks didn't work
- Jury gets Rotenberg case
- Restraints needed for safety, doc says
- Rotenberg trial ends with settlement
- Shock damage detailed by expert
- Shocked teen was cared for, school says
- Son not the same since shocks, mom says
- Staff tried to help teen, lawyers say
- State raised concerns about shock school
- FOX Undercover on Judge Rotenberg Center
- Teen tied and shocked for hours
Andre McCollins's Trial Coverage by Shain Neumeier
Shain Neumeier, an Autistic and disabled attorney, attended the civil trial against the Judge Rotenberg Center for shocking autistic teenager Andre McCollins 31 times in seven hours in 2002.
Selected News Articles, Letters, and Reports
- Mother Jones: School of Shock
- Mother Jones: Nagging? Zap. Swearing? Zap.
- ABC Nightline: UN Calls Shock Treatment at Mass. School 'Torture'
- Mental Disability Rights International: Torture Not Treatment report (PDF)
- FOX 25 MyFoxBoston: U.N. investigating Judge Rotenberg Center's use of shocks
- FOX 25 MyFoxBoston: Protesters rally against Judge Rotenberg Center
- FOX 25 MyFoxBoston: Judge Rotenberg Center case on Anderson Cooper today
- FOX 25 MyFoxBoston: FDA meets on school shock device, warns of violations
- Disability Scoop: Advocates Want School Using Shock Therapy Defunded
- Forbes: Autism Shock Therapy Practiced In US Is Torture, Says UN Official
- Occupy JRC: Judge Rotenberg Center 7 Untruths (Google Doc)
- Autistic Self Advocacy Network: When it comes to torture, it's time to pick a side. (Google Doc)
- Abuse Uncovered in Death at BRI: Victimization of 19-year old Linda Cornelison called "inhumane byond all reason" Article published in the Autism National Committee (AutCom) newsletter in 1995.
- A Short History of Aversives in Massachusetts by Polyxane S. Cobb (PDF)
- The Path to Aversive Interventions: Four Mothers' Perceptions by Fredda Brown and Dina A. Traniello (PDF) Article published in the TASH journal, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities.
- People: Some Call It Torture, but a New England School Says That Its Therapy Is Taming Autistic Students Article published in April 1986 when the JRC was still called the Behavior Research Institute (BRI).
- Observations and Findings of Out-of-State Program Visitation: Judge Rotenberg Educational Center Report published in 2006-2007 by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). (PDF)
- Doctor Hurt: The aversive therapist and his painful record Extremely long article published in November 1985 exposing the Behavior Research Institute. This is the original scanned image, not accessible. See below for accessible link. (PDF)
- Doctor Hurt: The aversive therapist and his painful record Extremely long article published in November 1985 exposing the Behavior Research Institute. This is the text-accessible transcribed version of the original scanned image. (PDF)
- Letter to Food and Drug Administration on the Judge Rotenberg Center A letter authored by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network with dozens of national and state/local organization sign-ons requesting a ban on all of the GED shock devices.
- Sen. Joyce Applauds Gov.’s Efforts to Stop Abuse at JRC A press release about Governor Deval Patrick's Feb. 14th, 2013 motion with the Probate Court in Massachusetts to vacate the 1987 settlement agreement allowing the use of aversives at the Judge Rotenberg Center.
- Patrick fights Rotenberg shock therapy decree Boston Globe article regarding Gov. Patrick's motion and mentioning a letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services in December prohibiting federal Medicaid money for anyone who lives at a facility using electric shock interventions.
- Motion to vacate consent decree The motion to vacate the 1987 court degree regarding the settlement in the JRC's lawsuit against Massachusetts. (PDF)
- Defendants' Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Motion Under Probate And Family Court Rule 60 And Mass. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(5) To Vacate Consent Decree The memo in support of the above-named motion. (PDF)
- Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, Addendum (March 2013) See page 84 for the JRC. (PDF)
- New York State Education Department letter (2013) This is the original scanned PDF, which is not text accessible.
- New York State Education Department letter (2013) This is my transcribed text-accessible version with standard white background and black font. (PDF)
- New York State Education Department letter (2013) This is my transcribed text-accessible version with high-contrast/visibility, black background and white font. (PDF)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services letter to MA Health and Human Services December 2012 This is a PDF of the original. (PDF)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services letter to MA Health and Human Services December 2012 This is a version with high-contrast/visibility, black background and white font. (PDF)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services letter to MA Health and Human Services July 2012 This is a PDF of the original. (PDF)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services letter to MA Health and Human Services July 2012 This is a version with high-contrast/visibility, black background and white font. (PDF)
- Warning letter from U.S. Food and Drug Administration to JRC (December 2012) This is the letter requiring representatives of the JRC to attend a January 2013 meeting at the FDA's White Oak, Maryland campus.
- Report by Monitor Judge Isaac Borenstein (Ret.) for the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center The initial report on the investigation conducted by the court-appointed monitor retained after the 2007 incident. (PDF, not text-accessible, exploring options to make all 131 pages text-accessible)
- AG Report Critical of Use of Shock Therapy by Judge Rotenberg Center A news article on the previously linked monitor report.
- Occupy the Judge Rotenberg Center / Close the JRC
- Judge Rotenberg Center page at the Autism Education Project (my other site)
- Stop the Judge Rotenberg Center
- Greg Miller's Change.org petition
- The Truth About The Judge Rotenberg Center
- Massachusetts Students United Against The Judge Rotenberg Center