As many of you know, I have personally been a vocal opponent of the Judge Rotenberg Center’s practices and the existence of such places in our global society. The GED skin shocks alone, which Mr. Israel has admitted to using and being proud of, are to me, blatant abuse of the people with disabilities receiving such shocks as so called “aversive” behavior therapy treatments. After research, study and listening to people with knowledge of the Center, I took the matter of concern to the ICAA Board. An organizational statement was posted and Senator Joyce, Representative Scibak and others were on the ICAA Radio to discuss the Judge Rotenberg Center from their own perspectives. Vigorous discussions, and respectful disagreements were had and ICAA urged the public to research the Judge Rotenberg Center for themselves.
Advocates and notable people with vast experience warned me personally and confidentially about Mr. Israel and his possible tactics of retaliation. Many impressive people feared Mr. Israel and still do, though he is now on probation for some of his (alleged) crimes.
Again, as an individual advocate, and with ICAA, the actions Mr. Israel has openly, publicly and proudly admitted to are the practices we openly and publicly denounce. The systematic abuse and what the UN has referred to as “torture”, of people because they are disabled is an outrage for anywhere in the world, but most certainly for the USA.
The GED electric skin shocks (manufactured by the JRC), the way in which they are administered, the force and pain inducing, injury causing effects of them make them unacceptable for use on humans, and have been debated heavily as for the same technology’s use in dog shock collars. There are other practices we are concerned about as advocates as well. We are hopeful and confident that the United States Department Of Justice will be investigating the Center and others similar to it, on an ongoing basis.
More information and how you can easily and quickly act:
Recently, a budget amendment was passed at the State House which would stop the vast majority of these practices.
Although this amendment isn’t a total ban on these practices, it severely restricts their use. Exemptions to the total ban would need State approval, be strictly regulated, and individualized. It stops the use of ‘aversives’ once annual court orders run out.
Obviously, a total ban is greatly preferable. However, without this amendment’s passage, nothing will change. Given the recent indictment of the Center’s founder,public and political opinion turning against them, we are likely seeing the “beginning of the end” of JRC, and this amendment would greatly weaken and possibly end their authority to abuse and torture in the name of “treatment.”
THE CURRENT SITUATION AND WHAT YOU CAN DO:
During the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) State Budget process, a committee of State Senators put forth its recommendation for the State’s budget. (The House of Representatives put theirs out previously). The full Senate then debated this proposal, adding amendments which were approved or rejected to create the final Senate budget.
During this debate, State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton), a long-time opponent of JRC, filed an amendment which would restrict use of contingent shock and other aversive procedures in Massachusetts. This amendment was approved by the full Senate.
The amendment faces a big hurtle, however. The next, and final major stage of the budget procedure is called the “Conference Committee.” The Conference Committee is made up of six legislators (three from the House and three from the Senate), and their main duty is to hash out the differences between House and Senate budgets. The Conference Committee must now decide which parts of each budget plan to approve for the final FY12 budget.
In this case, we need to urge the Committee to choose the Senate’s recommendation – since the aversives (JRC) amendment was ONLY brought up in the Senate.
Also, the most outspoken and powerful legislative supporter of JRC is a member of the House, and will likely fight hard against it. The fact that Senate President Murray is strongly opposed to the JRC has greatly helped, but the House hasn’t been as proactive on this issue.
SINCE THE BUDGET MUST BE COMPLETE BY THE END OF THE MONTH, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!
WHO TO CONTACT:
Please call, email or write the six members of the Conference Committee (listed below); you can also contact your State Representative and Senator and urge him/her to contact the Chairs of the Conference Committee. In addition, contacting the Speaker of the House and the Senate President would help! (Their contact info is below as well).
To find out who your legislators are, go to:
Or, you can call the State House switchboard at (617) 722-2000.
WHAT ADVOCATES CAN SAY:
Urge the Committee members to vote for the Redrafted Senate Amendment #EHS 472.1, “Further Regulating Treatment of Disabled Persons,” filed by Senator Brian Joyce, for the final Conference Committee budget. (If emailing or calling Sen. President Murray, thank her for her ongoing support).
When contacting your local Rep and/or Senator, be sure to mention that you are a constituent, and ask them to contact the Conference Committee Chairs.
MASSACHUSETTS FY2012 CONFERENCE COMMITTEE:
Representative Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill)
Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Representative Viriato M. deMacedo (R-Plymouth)
Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre)
Senator Steven A. Baddour (D-Methuen)
Senator Michael R. Knapik (R-Westfield)
SPEAKER OF THE MASS. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop)
PRESIDENT OF THE MASS. SENATE:
Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth)
* Sen. President Murray has been a dedicated supporter of the ban on aversives; please thank her!
All can be written at:
The Honorable ___________
The State House
Boston MA 02133
*If you do not know about the Judge Rotenberg Center issues, please research and become informed before making your own decision. ICAA is presenting information and allowing people the opportunity to contact their representatives and leaders regarding their own perspectives regarding the Judge Rotenber Center and aversive practices.
*information gathered from fellow advocates
* this is all public information and ICAA is presenting it to the community for educational purposes
* ICAA is not suggesting any citizens vote for a specific political party, we are not endorsing or lobbying for any political party or candidate
*ICAA is openly and publicly against the inhumane treatment of people with disabilities. *ICAA stands against torture, abuse, and discrimination. We promote acceptance, love, support, education, educational advocacy and inclusion for all people with different abilities throughout society.
*ICAA is concerned about abuse, discrimination or torture wherever it may occur and we will present information to the public regarding findings, verified information and/or our concerns as an organization dedicated to awareness, education and advocacy.
* More information can be found at Mother Jones
* More articles from Jennifer Gonnerman
*Comprehensive coverage of JRC
*MDRI report of the JRC
*For information on the Judge Rotenberg Center from their perspective