Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Judge Rotenberg Center investigated-

I heard this story being reported on the other day. It was a shocker, no pun intended.
A school for the disabled, that forces the disabled students to wear back packs 24/7, that deliver massive electric shocks to them. After the initial disbelief passed, I had to dig further.
This story is just unbelievable and even worse, it is true.
Move on over Abu Ghraib. The Judge Rotenberg Center for the Disabled is the latest American torture centre, located in Massachusetts.

First some background:
Judge Rotenberg CEO and founder Dr. Matthew L. Israel began his first program in California back in 1977. In 1981, a 14-year old boy died face down, tied to his bed, while living in the California center. Dr. Israel was not held responsible for the death. After an investigation by the State of California, Israel relocated to Rhode Island, and then to Massachusetts, where his facility still operates today.

So a 14 year old child dies face down tied to his bed in the California Centre and Dr. Israel is not responsible?

May 5, 2010
Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. Their report this week, titled "Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center," after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students.

Findings in the MDRI report include the center's practice of subjecting children to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of feet and torso -- in many cases for years -- as well as some for more than a decade. Electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child's back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEI).

The disabilities group notes that stun guns typically deliver three to four milliamps per shock. GEI packs, meanwhile, shock students with 45 milliamps -- more than ten times the amperage of a typical stun gun.

A former employee of the center told an investigator, "When you start working there, they show you this video which says the shock is 'like a bee sting' and that it does not really hurt the kids. One kid, you could smell the flesh burning, he had so many shocks.

What is even worse and more depraved is Mother Jones did an extensive story on this so called school, three years ago. In 2007 they published a story School of Shock

Eight states are sending autistic, mentally retarded, and emotionally troubled kids to a facility that punishes them with painful electric shocks. How many times do you have to zap a child before it's torture?

- The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them.
- Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations.
- Last year, (2006) New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib.

Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.

The Rotenberg Center is a cash cow to be sure-

The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab.

A taxpayer funded, torture center cash cow, but a cash cow just the same.

And no one cares about this kind of stuff going on?

If you wish to read more, another article here


  1. Oh Penny, the dude's name is Israel - he can't possibly be charged with anything.

    It's anti-semitic doncha know?


  2. Oh. My. God.

    Unbelievable . . . and unheard of. Thanks for this Pen - but my is this ever depressing. What a horrific bunch of torture and death experimentation this is, all funded by taxes, and none of it covered by the MSM.

    Brutal stuff. My heart aches for the tortured of this world . . . those poor children.

  3. Beware! Don’t believe everything you read, including the MDRI Report accusing JRC of “torture.” There are two sides to every story.

    The MDRI Report is a document prepared by persons who have a strong philosophical opposition to the use of aversives in the behavioral treatment of severe (sometimes life-threatening) problem behaviors of special needs individuals. The opposition of the authors of the Report is so deep and dogmatic that they are unwilling to evaluate therapeutic treatments that include aversives the way that most of us evaluate medical or dental treatments—i.e., by weighing the proposed benefits against the risks. Apparently, even if treatment with aversives was the only treatment that could save a child from maiming or killing him/herself, the MDRI Report authors would oppose aversives in such a case also.

    Indeed, one of the key persons (Dr. Fredda Brown) who provided information to the authors of the MDRI Report was involved in just such a case—a young man who was maiming himself through self-abusive scratching until he received effective treatment with aversives at JRC. Unfortunately, the opponents of aversives persuaded his parents that he no longer needed that treatment and could live in a supported apartment where aversives would no longer be available. Without aversives, his self-abusive scratching (causing blood and bone infection and eventual paralysis) resumed and caused him a painful and premature death at the age of 25. His story and his obituary can be found at http://www.judgerc.org/images/titles/fatalexperiment.gif and at http://www.judgerc.org/jvarticle.html.

    The alternatives to the use of aversives in behavioral treatment of special needs individuals with very severe behavior disorders are these: (1) positive-only treatment procedures which, unfortunately, have proved to be effective in only 50-60% of the cases ; (2) heavy psychotropic medications that have extremely dangerous side effects and that often make the student so sleepy that he/she exists in a sedative stupor all day ; (3) warehousing, a situation in which no serious attempts are made to treat the student’s problematic behaviors and in which the agency merely provides food, clothing and shelter; and (4) being expelled from all other available treatment programs and dumped back on the parent’s doorstep . All of these are apparently considered preferable, by the authors of the MDRI Report, to a two second shock to the surface of the skin that has no significant adverse side effects , that can make the difference between maiming or killing oneself or not, and that, when it is used (as it is at JRC) as a supplement to a program that is overwhelmingly based on positive rewards and educational procedures, has a proven record of effectiveness .

    To call such a remarkably effective and harmless therapeutic procedure “torture” is as ridiculous as calling therapeutic medical treatments torture. Indeed, if we follow the reasoning of the authors of the MDRI Report, dental surgery and cancer surgery—to take just two examples—would each satisfy the three definitional requirements of “torture.”

  4. Because of the authors’ strong philosophical opposition to aversives, what they refer to as an “investigation” was not really such. They never visited JRC, never interviewed JRC’s clinicians or staff about their concerns, never spoke to the hundreds of parents who are pleased what JRC has been able to accomplish for their children, never advised JRC of their investigation or invited JRC to respond to their concerns, and never interviewed current or former students who have been pleased with the results of their treatment at JRC, including the use of aversives.

    What is referred to as an “investigation” consisted largely of the following: taking selective quotations from the JRC web site out of context, even going so far as to take portions of testimony given by parents in support of the use of aversives, and using them to make the program look problematic; soliciting as many negative quotes as possible from persons who are opposed to JRC; accepting and publishing anonymous accusations without researching whether there was any truth in them; taking selective quotations from reports by a state agency that has a philosophical opposition to aversives without any reference to JRC’s responses to those accusations, all of which are available on JRC’s website; and presenting as facts outdated and long-since refuted accusations, some of which are now as much as 30-40 years old.

    Almost all of the persons listed as sources for the information in this report have testified in Massachusetts for bills that would, if passed, ban the use of aversives. After trying, unsuccessfully to pass such bills for 24 years, the proponents of these bills now seem to be looking to the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture to do for their cause what they have been unable to convince Massachusetts legislators to do.

    Consider this: if there was any torture going on at JRC, why would JRC have been licensed or approved continuously, throughout its 39 years of existence, by the state education, developmental disabilities and child care departments of Rhode Island and Massachusetts? Why would the MA Department of Developmental Disabilities have granted and periodically renewed, ever since 1986, JRC's special certification to use intrusive behavioral procedures? Why would innumerable judges of the MA Probate Court have approved individual petitions by incompetent children and adults to allow the use of aversives in the individual education and habilitation programs of JRC students for 25 years? Why would so many loving parents—including professors at Harvard and Columbia Universities, as well as several psychiatrists and pediatricians—have entrusted the care and habilitation of their children to JRC? And why would former JRC students be willing to come before legislative committees to testify that JRC saved their lives?7

    In summary, MDRI has produced a false, sensationalized, one-sided, outdated account of JRC that was worthy only of a tabloid. The result may help the MDRI authors raise money from those who can be easily duped by its distorted presentation of JRC, but it is not to be taken seriously as a piece of accurate reporting or investigation.

    JRC has issued a response to a TV news report on the MDRI report that appeared on WNBC New York Channel 4 which may be found at http://www.judgerc.org/EmailToMinton.pdf. A more complete response to the MDRI report itself is in preparation and will soon be available on the JRC website www.judgerc.org.

    Matthew L. Israel, Ph.D.
    Executive Director
    Judge Rotenberg Educational Center

  5. Footnote 1: Carr, E. G., Horner, R. H., Turnbull, A. P., Marquis, J. G., Magito McLaughlin, D., McAtee, M. L., Smith, C. E., Ryan, K. A, Ruef, M. B., & Doolabh, A. (1999). http://www.judgerc.org/PositiveBehaviorSupport.pdf Positive behavior support for people with developmental disabilities: A research synthesis. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Mental Retardation.

    Footnote 2: Israel, M.L. (2008a) Aversives Primer. Retrieved November 21, 2008 from http://www.judgerc.org/AversivesPrimer.doc

    Footnote 3: Israel, M.L., Blenkush, N.A., von Heyn, R.E., and Sands, C.C.: Seven Case Studies of Individuals Expelled from Positive-Only Programs (2010). The Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim Treatment and Prevention, 2 (1), 20-36. Full text retrievable at http://www.judgerc.org/SevenCaseStudies.pdf And see http://www.judgerc.org/posonlyprograms.pdf

    Footnote 4: van Oorsouw, W. M. W. J., Israel, M. L., von Heyn, R. E., & Duker, P. C. (2008). Side effects of contingent shock treatment. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 29, 513-523.

    Footnote 5: See http://www.judgerc.org/yellowbrickroad.html.

    Footnote 6: Israel, M.L., Blenkush, N.A., von Heyn, R.E., & Rivera, P.M. (2008). Treatment of aggression with behavioral programming that includes supplementary skin-shock. The Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim Treatment and Prevention, 1 (4), 119-166. Full text retrievable at http://www.judgerc.org/AggressionPaper.pdf

    Footnote 7: See http://www.judgerc.org/intensivetreatment.html#State_House_Testimonies,_November_2009 and http://www.judgerc.org/Comments/parents_AV.html

  6. Dear Mr, Israel, what a lot of sophistry and bullshit. You have not addressed the charges made that six children have died in you institutions nor that you use high powered shock compared with even stun guns.
    To say some other treatments are less effective than yours does not make yours right. And to compare living with the constant threat of being electrocuted with a visit to the dentist is just flat out deceitful.

    To call such a remarkably effective and harmless therapeutic procedure “torture” is as ridiculous as calling therapeutic medical treatments torture. Indeed, if we follow the reasoning of the authors of the MDRI Report, dental surgery and cancer surgery—to take just two examples—would each satisfy the three definitional requirements of “torture.”

    That's bullshit from start to finish. Let's just take the fact that one is voluntary and the other not. Lets look at the fact that one is short term and the other is not.

    You have no credibility in my eyes nor, I would say, in any thinking person's eyes, either.

    You don't happen to know Melvin Sembler, do you?

  7. Awesome, self-incriminating appearance of a defend-a-bot . . . just awesome.

    What a fast response! Must have been some coincidence that Matt Israel found this small blog in a search engine or . . . hmm.

    How exactly did you find this blog, Mr. Israel?

  8. Hey Pen, you keep doing this - getting in the actual people themselves. Still I expect he's just hit-and-run and uninterested in participating in any wider conversation.

    I did read his effort here but got tripped up over his adjective=as-noun neologism 'aversive'. It's shockingly bad English but that's the kind of mangling you have to do in order to avoid using the phrase 'electrocuting people'. Go back and read his stuff again but this time replace the expression 'aversives' with 'electrocuting people' and see how it reads.

    Otherwise, what with Mr Israel having conflated everything with torture and torture with everything I'd like to ask him where he stands on actual torture. You know, real torture of the variety that only Nazis would extol. And John Yoo! And a whole bunch of Pentagon / White House types!

    I've lost count of how many bits and pieces I've read explaining how torture isn't torture and how it's all in a good cause. Oh! That's weird, that's precisely what Mr Israel was telling us. It isn't torture and it's all in a good cause.

    Hey Matt Israel! Give us the nod mate and I'll do the most minor of cut-and-paste efforts and turn your comment here into a whitehouse/pentagon defence of torture. What a laugh!

    And then there's - "if there was any torture going on at JRC, why would JRC have been licensed or approved continuously...(etc etc ad nauseam)" Ha ha ha. Matt, we are so the wrong people for this sort of shit. We've read Bowert, we've read McGowan, and we've read everything in between. We know what a license is worth. I expect that JRC is still licensed in much the same way as Michael Aquino is still a colonel. Around here, we all know that those who torture children are the least likely to suffer official censure. Every fucking time. And you want to sing about it do you? Like I said, we're the wrong people mate.

  9. Does this approach not simply treat the symptom and NOT the cause? How exactly are these shocks administered?

    I understand that in some very severe cases electro shock therapy can sort of 'reboot' the brain. However, that said, I question whether the procedure here is as stingent?

    Call me whatever you wish, but the idea of shocking anyone to bring about a desired behaviour or change in behaviour seems rather maccabre to me. Have any of these children had other methods tried on them? What is the ROOT cause of these behaviours? What are the environmental factors, diet exercise, personal habits etc?

    Seems there is something not quite right going on here. Matthew cites that postive reinforcement therapy is only 60% effective, but he fails to say how effective this 'treatment' is, nor does he mention the recidivism rate.

    Perhaps he will. Though I don't think he really wants to discuss that sort of thing - as Nobody has already pointed out.

    Oh and pardons for my original sarcastic post, I'd just popped in from reading Haaretz and it tends to piss me off.

  10. One more question: Would Matthew like his very own shockpack on his back?

  11. Where to begin, where to begin.
    Mathew Israel

    Actually there are many sides to a story, some say there are three sides, yours, their's and the truth.

    That said, readers get to decide.

    Your opening statement is shoot the messenger.There is an agenda at work here, so disregard the report.
    That is quite off putting.

    The plain truth is, this is not the first time your schools have been investigated.

    There was an extensive article done here


    besides all the other article I linked to.

    The story about the young spoiled girl named Andrea, is a bit suspect. IMO. The flicking on her cheek, getting her to behave, on just two occasions coupled with rewards. I myself, am not buying it. Though, she was a girl of normal intelligence, not mentally retarded or autistic. These are the kids you are 'treating' in your school.

    And a number of patients have died while being 'treated' at your school.
    14-year-old Danny Aswad face-down on his bed.
    In 1985, Vincent Milletich died.

    Student Linda Cornelison died
    mentally retarded and unable to speak, the so called nurse at your institution thought she was faking it. How did she ascertain this?

    Staff gave her 13 spatula spankings, 29 finger pinches, and 14 muscle squeezes, and five times forced her to inhale ammonia. She died in the hospital early the next morning, from a gastric perforation. Did your 'nurse' and your school conduct themselves in a reasonable fashion?

    One former staff psychologist says around 2001, the school's policy switched from educating and treating to simply keeping students in line. "Israel couldn't stand them not behaving in a perfectly controlled way," the psychologist says.

    I could go on and on and on. I honestly do not think your 'school' is anything but a giant lab, and these kids are the rats.

    And you are leading some kind of sick experimentation, in an effort to see if a utopian society can indeed be created by using torture to encourage "correct behaviour'
    I additionally wonder, if you are not an extension of the MKUtra programs, this type of stuff is right up there alley. Hospitals, psych wards, the disabled being the targets of choice in that program.

    Your spin,doesn't cut it

  12. To everyone else, great comments!

    That indeed was Doctor Israel, or Dr Demento, from the Center.

    I checked the hitcounter.

    If you check the last article linked to in the post, you can see the shills for the school are out in full force.Look through the comments, you will spot them.

    So obviously the school and it's founder are doing some damage control. And there is alot of damage to control, years and years of it.
    The internet being more the wild west of the mass media is likely a bit harder to control with payola, favors etc.

    Hence the comments here and there.

    I don't know how it is these people, Mr. Israel and others find the stuff about themselves, especially here, but they do, they do.

    Maggie; I do wonder if Mr Israel would wear his own pack, one he admits administers painful shocks.

    And then would allow himself to receive hundreds of shocks, daily, over an extended period of time.

    I mean if it is good enough for his students, should be good enough for him.

    And clearly he believe in the value of his treatments.

  13. wow Pen, you sure do catch them here! haha, must be because you look so harmless. nobs said what i wanted to say, which is to answer the questions about how how how why why why could we go on and on and on if we were doing anything wrong????

    pfft. as nobody said, you have pushed yourself on people who know the truth about organized crime. ooops.

  14. lol, AP!

    And all I do is put up the stuff, I find interesting..
    And this one, in this modern, day of enlightenment???

    Like I said to Dr Israel, there is more to this one, and I do wonder seriously if we are looking at some CIA/Intelligence backed stuff
    ala Ewan Cameron?

  15. It's all just SHOCKING I tell Yuh simply SHOCKING!!!!!
    But on a lighter note, being raised in a farming area I pissed on an electric fence ONCE long long ago. Now I didn't do this on purpose yuh understand, I'm not that stupid. It the fence was running through some tall grass and all I can say is that for the next 1/2 hour I couldn't have counted to ten even by using my fingers and toes as aids.

    Now I'm most certainly not defending the good Dr Mengele here not by any means, No Siree all I’m saying is that, that little experience so long ago taught me to be VERY wary of tall grass in uncharted pastures and I never did that again , nope nevers. I can’t tell yuh how much that stings.

    Also this is most definitely damage control done not by Dr Electro himself but rather by his staff at Buzz Central. I think that this same FORM letter will be found at every blog relating to this issue or at least one very similar. Web searches using key words are wonderful things. I mean the monkeys with their fingers on the button have only so much time to be creative after all and there is SOO much damage to control and so little time.

  16. pen i've been reading on it through the day and it's just appalling.

    anyone interested, this link has a lot of info:


  17. hey ap, checked out the link.

    despite the claims of being 'helpful therapy' these treatments would seen anything but.

    I am still thinking this is MkUltra linked.

    Of course being a believer that the program to control humans, by any means, never ever went away..

    The PTB's would never let something like that go.

    Besides the concept of mind control is as old as the hills as the saying goes...

  18. some interesting appearances for the Judge Rotenberg Center investigation

    let's see

    Canton, Massachusetts, United States
    Coma Dba Judge Rotenberg Center
    No referring link

    no referring link, curious?

    then today...

    Washington, District Of Columbia, United States

    No referring link

    no referring link again?
    random individual or connected to the center?
    Inquiring minds want to know!!!

  19. They're likely going to sue you for slander. I just read about this via link from a friend today, and pardon my pun, but I'm shocked. I've been reading about the BRLs where they actually grab a kid who is not doing anything wrong, and force him to misbehave then deliver a powerful shock to "train" him not to do bad things. Disgusting that we allow this in this day and age.

  20. Anonymous They're likely going to sue you for slander.
    I don't think they will, for it's difficult or dare I say neigh on impossible to slander a Jew as it would be the equivalent to saying that shit don't stink.

  21. The last place these people want to be is in court

  22. anonymous:
    I don't think Judge Rotenberg Center is going to sue me or anyone else for that matter.

    They have more then enough problems on their hands with this latest report.

    And if they actually dragged anyone to court, they have the report writers and numerous media outlets that they can tackle first.

    But, why would they?

    This would be like shining a spotlight on what goes on that the Center, to an even larger audience.

    People just love lurid trials.

    I think what is going on, like I said the other day is damage control.
    PR spin.

  23. slander for what?!? for posting information that has been aired out a thousand times? seriously, i spent all day yesterday looking at this and there are reams and reams of information out there on this guy and his school. hundreds and hundreds of comments to sort through on some of the posts, etc. it's absolutely lurid. the autism groups are pretty organized and they know about this case in detail. so the cat is out of the bag and has been for a loooong time. and yet the school goes on.

    this is all about damage control. he might want to make it look like this is something new but this is nothing new. the real scandal here is how the authorities have been persuaded to NOT DO THEIR JOBS for so long. $$$$$

    it's the cash flow. i wonder if there are two sets of books.

  24. "I additionally wonder, if you are not an extension of the MKUtra programs, this type of stuff is right up there alley. Hospitals, psych wards, the disabled being the targets of choice in that program."

    even considering the runaway corruption and graft in MA -- legendary -- which partly explains the situation at Rotenberg, the story has been out on the net for some years, yet curiously the facility continues operation

    all the Permits stamped, all the eyes dotted

    we got three hundred thousand cops in this country but kids who cant talk get electroshocked? wtf?

    nonverbal autistics are often especially sensitive, both in sensorial and "psychic" apprehension, and would be of interest under a number of applications

    whole-environment-communication in a supportive environment -- not behavioralist adversives via controlfreak administrations-- remedy most "affect distrubances" from kanner's autistcs, many of whom are quite right to be pissed in the first place

    this bullshit has got to change and it is going to change

    thanks for the article


  25. you are most welcome ray, and thanks for the insightful comment.

    "the story has been out on the net for some years, yet curiously the facility continues operation

    all the Permits stamped, all the eyes dotted"

    that curiousity (regarding this facilities continued operation) is what leads me to believe we are reading about some mkultra type experimentation.

  26. People like those at Rothenberg, and those who've consistently continued funding and sanction of the place, should be imprisoned and tortured using the same techniques.

  27. anonymous:

    it would seem fitting, to be subjected to that which you have subjected others?

    The whole Rotenberg situation stinks.