Target: Massachusetts General Assembly
Goal: End horrific electric shock treatment of disabled individuals at the Judge Rotenberg Center
For an individual with a disability at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts, behavior modification often comes in the form of contingent electric shocks. Hundreds of thousands of people joined together earlier this year petitioning the state of Massachusetts to end these barbaric procedures. Now, a proposed amendment to the state’s budget plan would do just that. The Massachusetts legislature must approve this amendment and end electric shock treatment on disabled individuals at the Judge Rotenberg Center.
Amendment 548, Regulating Treatment of Disabled Persons, would not only ban the Center from continuing their practice, but prohibit the practice from occurring at all within the state. At the moment, the Judge Rotenberg Center is the only place which uses such methods, thus the amendment would effectively end the current use of electric shock treatment for behavior modification across the state and prevent any future incidences.
Concerned citizens are not alone in condemning these atrocious procedures. The United Nations has declared electric shock treatment, as it is done at the Judge Rotenberg Center, a form of torture. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has even called upon the federal government to put an end to it. The UN was also responsible for instigating previous investigations into the center’s practices, which led to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division into the Judge Rotenberg Center.
Children ages nine and up are subjected to electric shocks for a variety of reasons. While the Center claims it is only as a last resort if other treatments have failed, evidence has surfaced that reveals this is clearly not a whole truth. Human Rights Watch reports that a video leaked to the internet shows an eighteen year old male being restrained and shocked more than thirty times, all for refusing to remove his coat. Other press reports and recorded videos point to a brutal misuse of “treatment” procedures on innocent, helpless, disabled individuals.
Purposeful infliction of excruciating pain on a powerless child describes a method more akin to torture than any kind of constructive treatment. The legislators of Massachusetts have a moral and constitutional duty to uphold the right of the disabled individual to be free from all forms of torture. Sign this petition and urge Massachusetts legislators to adopt Amendment 548, Regulating Treatment of Disabled Persons.
Dear Massachusetts General Assembly,
For too long, disabled persons at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton have been subjected to torturous electric shock treatment under the guise of a behavior modification procedure. I am writing to express the urgent need to address an amendment to your state budget, Amendment 548 (Regulating Treatment of Disabled Persons), which would end all such practices within the Center and the rest of the state.
Along with anxious parents, distressed citizens, and concerned organizations, I am appalled by the continuing operation procedures of the Judge Rotenberg Center. Even the United Nations has called upon our national government to end the aversive practices at the Center and declared the electric shock practices torture. First-hand videos and other press reports demonstrate the agony forced upon these individuals. In accordance with international human rights law, no amount of consent forms validate this brutal use of electric shocks on minors.
I urge you to adopt Amendment 548 to the state’s budget and end this practice immediately.
[Your Name Here]