Joyce applauds documentation of human rights abuses at JRC

A report released today, 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), by the international human rights group Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), documents how children and adults with disabilities are tortured and abused at a “special needs” residential facility in Massachusetts. MDRI has filed an “urgent appeal” with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to demand the United States government end the torture immediately. Senator Brian A. Joyce, a longtime advocate of ending aversive/shock therapy abuse in Massachusetts, applauded the release of the report.
The report details the use of electric shocks on the legs, arms, torsos and soles of feet of people with disabilities – for weeks, months and sometimes years. The 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.
Senator Joyce, an outspoken critic of the JRC, has filed legislation to curtail the practice of the so-called aversive therapy that is criticized in MDRI’s report. "I support the MDRI’s findings, and unfortunately, I am not surprised by them,” said Senator Joyce. “We owe it to our children and adults with special needs to take action to protect their human rights from abuse.”
“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,” stated Laurie Ahern, President of MDRI and author of the report.
The full text of MDRI’s report is attached below.