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Advocacy Issues
The Judge Rotenberg Center

On Wednesday, June 21, 2006 there was a press conference held in the State House.  It was hosted by Sen. Brian Joyce, the following individuals spoke against painful behavioral therapies:

Kenneth Mollins (NY attorney)
Rep. Barbara L'Italien
Rep. Tom Sannicandro
Leo Sarkissian, Exec. Dir. The Arc of Mass.
Stan Eichner, Exec. Dir. Disability Law Center


To hear a recording of this conference, go to:


An 8 minute piece on JRC aired Monday, June on WBUR's Here and Now 
with Robin Young:


Last night( Wednesday, June 21, 2006) at 6:00 p.m. on Fox 25:
Geraldo at Large
A report on a Massachusetts school for emotionally disturbed children that uses electric shocks as a disciplinary measure.

Interviews with Leo Sarkissian and Kenneth Mollins, a New York attorney representing former and current Judge Rotenberg Center students from New York who are suing New York state for alleged human rights violations at JRC.

Through the findings phase of this litigation, Mollins has found evidence of:
Electric shocks administered to the testicles.
A deaf child regularly shocked for not listening to verbal instructions.
A person shocked repeatedly for squinting.
A student shocked for moving from her seat to go to the bathroom.
A nonverbal, student with significant retardation was shocked for moaning which was her only means of communication.
Students tied down on boards and hours later and shocked repeatedly for behavior unrealized by the student.
Indiscriminate, uncontrolled shock is administered mechanically to students with no supervision at all.
Students are burned in multiple areas of their body and the burns go unreported and sometimes untreated.

The Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP), representing 106 community-based providers of direct care services and family support to those with developmental disabilities has announced its support for this legislation (see attached page).  ADDP's membership holds more than 65 percent of the DMR’s community residential, day and family support contracts.

TELEPHONE (617) 303.4568
FACSIMILE (617) 723.3163
The Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP) requests your
favorable consideration in supporting the Senate budget amendment sponsored by
Senator Brian Joyce. ADDP is a diverse group of 106 community-based providers of
direct care services and family support to those with developmental disabilities. The
membership holds more than 65 percent of the Department of Mental Retardation’s
community residential, day and family support contracts.
Current Massachusetts law fails to prohibit the use of “painful aversive treatments”,
including the intentional infliction of pain for the purpose of changing behavior, on
people with disabilities. These often extreme physical interventions are not proven to be
effective methods of changing behavior, only a suppression of symptoms.
Two types of aversive treatments are:
Shock A pre-specified number of electrical shocks to the bare skin of the arms, legs,
or thighs is administered by hand-held devise, remote control, or automatic sensing
device attached to the individual. The electronic shock devices are unapproved by the
FDA because of their likelihood for staff error and misfiring as well as their
substantial record for causing burns and blisters.
Deprivation Aversive therapies often entail the denial of adequate sleep, shelter,
bedding or bathroom facilities, and even food. One child who later died of a
perforated ulcer had been placed on a diet of only 300 calories a day. She was 5’5”
tall and weighed 90 pounds when she died.
These forms of aversive therapies not only raise questions of constitutional and civil
rights, but have been deemed ineffective and easily replaced by many positive behavioral
programs and drug therapies. This is why the Association of Developmental Disabilities
Providers has joined with more than over 20 organizations including, ArcMass, The
Coalition for the Legal Rights of People with Disabilities, The National Society of
Children and Adults with Autism, Parents Campaign Against Violence, and The
Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union to raise awareness of the use of aversive therapies.



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