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Boston Globe: Patrick fights Rotenberg shock therapy decree

Posted Feb 16 2013 12:45pm

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is known for its use of electric shocks as an aversive therapy for behavior modification.  The center is named for Judge Rotenbrg, whose settlement decision 25 years ago allowed for then use of aversives.

The Governor of Massachusetts is now moving to nullify (vacate) that settlement decree.  The Boston Globe reports, Patrick fights Rotenberg shock therapy decree . (Note there is a paywall).

While some families and others connected with the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton argue that the skin-shock procedure is necessary to treat people with the most severe conditions, others say it is tantamount to torture. Disability rights advocates and some former patients have worked for years to shut down the ­center.

The state’s motion comes two months after federal health officials said they would stop paying for treatment at Rotenberg. If approved, it could mark the beginning of the end of that decades-long debate.

I’ve also been informed that the State’s medicaid office is moving to stop payments to facilities that use electric shock treatments, even for those who are not receiving the shocks.

The electric shock devices are being considered for FDA approval.

It looks like pressure is being brought to bear on JRC from many sides all at once. They could lose their settlement decree allowing for the use of aversives. The could fail to get FDA approval for their shock devices. They could lose federal and state funding. All told, it looks like the use of electric shocks at JRC may be coming to an end.


Matt Carey


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