Judge Rotenberg Trial Ends In Settlement: Nothing Changes For The JRC, Though
    By Kim Wombles | April 25th 2012 06:51 AM | 56 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Although the jury had the case, the Judge Rotenberg Center settled with Andre McCollins' mother yesterday. Fox 25 News in Boston has covered this case diligently, and its article about the settlement writes, "But the attorney representing the Judge Rotenberg Center is not owning up to any mistakes."

    The Judge Rotenberg Center has a long history of defending its actions, wrapping their use of skin shocks and restraints in sunny graphics and
    opulent reward centers that make Liberace's home look like understated elegance.

    But what now? Andre McCollins now has an undisclosed amount of money to help with his care, but what about the other residents of the JRC who still wear the backpacks that hold the apparatus to deliver the skin shocks whenever an employee decides it's warranted.

    Because, after all, the JRC provides_"unusually large and rapid changes in students' skills and behaviors.unusually large and rapid changes in students' skills and behaviors." Of course, they do. Make sure to check out this particular page because it's claiming that the JRC has provided "39-Years Documented Effective Treatment" and then links to testimonials. Yes, that's right: the gold standard in any scientifically-based endeavor and what all ABA providers believe in: testimonials. Oh wait, behavioral analysts believe in documenting everything and charting the behaviors to see if there's a positive change and then fading out the prompts and the rewards so that the client is doing the task independently? They don't believe in testimonials as proof of effectiveness? And they certainly don't think that a client wearing the skin shock for twenty plus years to be proof of anything but ineffectiveness as a treatment for changing behavior?

    If you think shutting this place down will be easy--remember that it's been operating for over 39 years, and that as of 2007, it brought in $56 million dollars and employed 900 people. That would be a big hit in terms of employment and the benefits to the local economy derives from the JRC.

    The Mother Jones article noted, and how does read this and not be horrified: "The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons." Why is the Massachusetts legislature protecting the JRC? Why hasn't the DOJ stepped in and shut them down? One answer is the parents. Yes, the parents: "Massachusetts officials have twice tried to shut the Rotenberg Center down—once in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. Both times parents rallied to its defense, and both times it prevailed in court. (See "Why Can't Massachusetts Shut Matthew Israel Down?" page 44.)"

    What matters most to these parents isn't that their children are being protected, but that they are controllable--parents are sent home with the shocking device so that they can administer the shocks when their children come home for a visit.

    Why is it that things that every one would scream is abuse if it was done to a normally developing child is excused and explained away when it's done to the disabled, especially the disabled whose care is difficult, the disabled who are aggressive and self-injurious?

    Mother Jones looks into the history of the center and its founder Matthew Israel: "In 1971, he founded the Behavior Research Institute in Rhode Island, a facility that would later move to Massachusetts and become known as the Judge Rotenberg Center. Israel took in children nobody else wanted—severely autistic and mentally retarded kids who did dangerous things to themselves and others. To change their behavior, he developed a large repertoire of punishments: spraying kids in the face with water, shoving ammonia under their noses, pinching the soles of their feet, smacking them with a spatula, forcing them to wear a 'white-noise helmet' that assaulted them with static."

    Nice, right? California investigated Israel and his "school" after a patient died. Other patient deaths followed, the Mother Jones article details, and then shares how Israel decided to kick it up a notch, literally: "He decided to increase the pain once again. Today, there are two shock devices in use at the Rotenberg Center: the GED and the GED-4. The devices look similar and both administer a two-second shock, but the GED-4 is nearly three times more powerful—and the pain it inflicts is that much more severe." Yes, that's right, the original device he used he decided wasn't powerful enough, but the manufacturer declined to make it stronger, so Israel came up with the GED, but then decided that wasn't enough, so he made an even stronger one. How this man stayed out of jail, how staff psychologists didn't resign in ethical and moral indignation is baffling, until you remember that our country has a long history of abusing the disabled. Think Cuckoo's Nest for a vivid visual of what institutions thought of problem patients (yes, it was fiction, but it was a catalyst for change, as well, because it was based on Kesey's experiences working in a mental institution).

    The author of the article at Mother Jones received a tour of the JRC, was shown videos of before and after, and then is surprised to meet two of the individual in the videos--one from 1977 and one from 1981: 

    "This is Caroline," one of my escorts says an hour or two later as we walk down a corridor. Without an introduction, I would not have known. Caroline, 39, slumps forward in a wheelchair, her fists balled up, head covered by a red helmet. "Blow me a kiss, Caroline," Israel says. She doesn't respond.
    A few minutes later, I meet 36-year-old Janine, who appears in much better shape. She's not wearing a helmet and has a full head of black hair. She's also got a backpack on her shoulders and canvas straps hanging from her legs, the telltale sign that electrodes are attached to both calves. For 16 years—nearly half her life—Janine has been hooked up to Israel's shock device. A couple years ago, when the shocks began to lose their effect, the staff switched the devices inside her backpack to the much more painful GED-4.

     Imagine the horror, the hell, of being trapped in that place, shocked year after year. 

    Just because the JRC managed to settle this latest case without a jury finding doesn't mean the public should turn its attention away from the center. Nothing's really changed there. Restraints and shocks are routinely used.

    This is no time for moral indignation to quiet down.


    the shocks he received were all part of his court-approved treatment plan.
    This is not an endorsement of the treatment, it is a sign that they need to throw out a lot of politicians and judges in Massachusetts.  Some parents lobbied to keep the thing open is no reason; millions and millions more Massachusetts people smoke yet the legislature found a way to ban that so it's hard to believe some giant upswell of support keeps this thing going.
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't see how a politician can win given such parents and a fickle media.  The first thing would be someone claiming that politicians are closing down the only treatment facility that can deal with their disabled child.  This would be closely followed by the media and everyone climbing on the bandwagon decrying the arrogance of politicians that think they know better than the "experts".

    No matter what the politician says, the response would simply be that politicians clearly don't "understand" such therapies which is why they should be left for the "experts".

    I don't see any upside to the politicians being more active in this.  Despite FOX's coverage of this thing, it would take them less than a nanosecond to reverse themselves and start peddling the government intrusion story should the politicians be successful [assuming that they were Democrats].
    Mundus vult decipi
    oooohhh the evil republicans. they hate everyone and dont care if kids are being tortured. grow up.

    Gerhard Adam
    Learn to read.  No one said anything about "evil republicans', however your knee-jerk reaction to see "FOX News' in the post tells me that you tend to react rather than think.

    As for "growing up".  So, you think that this entire issue of torturing kids is one of people being immature?  Is this just liberal hysteria?  After all, what could possibly be wrong with what is happening beyond more "bleeding heart liberals" that lack the nerve to "do what's necessary".

    I have neither the time or patience for such posts, so when you do grow up, perhaps you can engage in grown-up conversations.
    Mundus vult decipi
    oh i feel so put down (im considering the soursce here). as i said before, u really should grow up and stick to the issue. im not the one ripping on fox news...u remember them, the ones who actually exposed this travesty? they are the ones who probably brought this whole issue to YOUR attention, but im sure u will deny this, since u seem so informed. im telling u to grow up because of what u said about fox news, not because of the core issue. of course i dont approve of whats going on over there at JRC, which is why i signed both petitions to stop it. but as a liberal (i admit, im assuming), u take the opportunity to put down fox news. and obviously u do have the "time and patience" for such posts because u responded. we are on the same side of the core issue. but instead of congratulating fox news on exposing this horror show, u have to put them down. god forbid the conservatives have ONE news channel. the media is 99 percent liberal dominated, and u STILL have go give fox news a hard time for being conservative. being told to "grow up" by a cheap-shot artist such as yourself really doesnt have much sting. u can reply if u want, i mean if u have the time and patience and all, but i probably wont respond because u are a self-righteous bore. and before u go and stereotype me, i am not a republican, and i didnt vote for either bush, either time.

    Gerhard Adam
    Alright ... let me explain this slowly since you clearly are incapable of comprehending actual sentences.

    My response was about how difficult it would be for any politician to voice an opinion because the media would get all over them.  I specifically mentioned FOX news, because they were the ones to show the story.

    That's the point.  Are you with me so far?

    I then said, that despite FOX having reported this, they would quickly change their tune if politicians used their "power" to intervene, since FOX likes to place the government intervention card. 

    If you read the whole response, it clearly indicates that the problem is a fickle media that would quickly turn on any politician.  FOX was merely the example since they were the ones that were the source of the original video.

    It wasn't a "cheap shot".  It didn't accuse FOX of anything, beyond being the example of how media would likely turn against any politician that tried to use the power of their office to intervene.

    So, perhaps you might care to engage your brain before you engage your mouth and re-read the original post.  Perhaps this time, you might gain a little bit of understanding.
    Mundus vult decipi
    The political aspects are deeper than described. The JRC is not the only controversial 'residential treatment' center that is accused of abusive practice to largely captive children. These facilities usually locate in States that have little or no regulation or oversight over these places. When regulation is sought, Republican politicians, the recipients of large donations from the companies that own and run these facilities, block any efforts at reform or oversight. Suggested reading: Help at Any Cost by Maia Szalavitz.

    like i said, self righteous. as soon as u write "let me explain slowly since u clearly are incapable blah blah blah..." well, thats when im done reading. people can disagree, but not once did i say u were stupid. and neither am i. because i disagree with u, this does not make me stupid. so i got to sentence 1 of ur reply and i was done. write whatever u want at this point. if u really need to put others down to make urself sound intelligent, then go ahead. maybe its therapy for u or something. seriously, i really did not read a single sentence past the first one because i dont need an arrogant know-it-all to be condescending to me. elitist liberals....u try come off as so "tolerant" but u are only tolerant of those who agree with u. i may have FELT like saying "do u need me to use smaller words" or something to that effect, but as soon i do that i am no longer sticking to the issue, i am just being nasty. i did say "grow up" in the first response, so if u felt some need to get all self defensive off of that, then i apologize. but if u cant respond without putting someone down, then shame on u.

    Gerhard Adam
    For a smart-ass, you sure have an unusual sense of self-righteousness when you choose to invoke it.
    Mundus vult decipi
    So it's all OK because it was all business as usual — "all part of his court-approved treatment plan"?
    ... As if evil is moral whenever you're following orders ...

    That's not at all what he said.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    In an abnormal psych class I took in college, they found these sort of dramatic results with pain when dealing with self-injurous patients. Like someone who will sit and bang their head on the floor for hour until they are bleeding.

    Once an electrode is hooked up to them and they get a shock when they bang their head, the behaviour stops immediately.

    Thats at least where this center gets its roots.

    From what I read they have expanded this to shocking even depressed kids. And the cost of $200k / kid to be there is being footed by new york who sends kids there.

    My only explanation for its perseverance is that the Department of Children and Families (you know, the ones who your neighbors rat you out to when they see you spanking your child) sends kids there maybe. And that is a maybe.

    What do you expect from a police state?

    Gerhard Adam
    What do you expect from a police state?
    That kind of comment isn't helpful.   Until you've actually experienced a police state, that kind of hyperbole detracts from the credibility of your post.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thank you. I get so tired of seeing people post about the "Police State" they live in. What a joke. I would be willing to bet 99% that talk about it have never lived in a police state, it is quite different than anything here in America.

    do u live in america? then u dont live in a police state and obviously have no clue what a police state even is. u have more freedom that u even realize.

    So the Rotenberg Center supports the local economy? What would happen if the local economy — and maybe the rest of the economy — boycotted Rotenberg: refused to sell them any goods or services: on the grounds that one does not do business with exploiters?

    Gerhard Adam
    What's the likelihood of that gaining traction when the parents with kids there support it?
    Mundus vult decipi
    The Center employs 900 local citizens. Jobs rule. A business that's more than $58 million a year is unlikely to be met with a lot of resistance in a community that needs the jobs.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    It isn't right, but it is reality.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    Rotenberg buys many things that aren't made/grown in the surrounding community: food and other supplies, or instance. Even if the locals just love Rotenberg, how long would the place last if no company _outside_ its immediate locale would sell them so much as a head of lettuce or a sheet of paper?

    Gerhard Adam long would the place last if no company _outside_ its immediate locale would sell them so much as a head of lettuce or a sheet of paper?
    How long do you think businesses would last [and employees have jobs] if that's how they did business?  Here's a question to ponder;  of all the employees at the center, do you think they ALL agree with what takes place?  How many do you think might not like it, but need the job?

    The truth is, that as much as people protest, they invariably do little if it involves their own jobs or their own income.  That's reality.

    If you had a business would you give up thousands of dollars in revenue, so that you could boycott them, and then find yourself facing a lawsuit because you have no legal basis for your actions?  Your business would be the one charged with discrimination and risk a boycott yourself by all those that support the center.

    This is especially true, when the parents that send their kids there support it.  As I said before, we can be as outraged as we choose, but as long as the people/parents support what they do, they will continue to exist.

    So, if you want to talk about a boycott?  Why not ask the parents to simply stop sending their children there.  That would stop it fast enough.  However, we all know that isn't going to happen so expecting external businesses to do it, is simply wishful thinking.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    I think we also need to re-focus on the issue here.  The issue isn't a general review of "aversion therapy".  The issue here is whether the center abused "aversion therapy" in a case where it clearly wasn't warranted.

    While we can certainly argue about whether such a thing is necessary when a patient is a serious risk for self-injury, that clearly wasn't the case in the patient that simply didn't want to remove his coat.

    So, it's important to maintain a perspective rather than getting lost in conflating different cases with different objectives.   I'm not prepared to argue what actions are appropriate or not for severe cases where patients risk killing themselves because of self-injury actions.   I'm also not arguing that this justifies such aversion therapies, but rather that I'm simply not qualified in those extreme cases to offer much of a qualified opinion.  Take note that I'm only referring to extreme cases where a patient is literally at risk of death or serious injury.

    However, that doesn't grant free license to use such therapies simply because they may be more convenient ways of eliciting the behavior we prefer.  That's the underlying issue that should be discussed here.

    I've included the link here for Matthew Israel's response to the Mother Jones article.

    One point that is raised and is a legitimate point of discussion is whether alternative therapies are just as dangerous and abusive, but simply look better on camera [i.e. the heavy use of psychotropic drugs]. 

    However, as I said, the real concern here is whether such therapies [or drugs in other facilities] are being used to control people simply because it's easier.  In this case, the incident of simply not taking off the coat seemed to elicit an extreme response.  In addition, the extended use of such shocks went well beyond the concept expressed by aversion therapy, which is precisely why many people [myself included] consider this to be torture and not therapy.  The video was clearly not about a patient getting shocked from a backpack they were wearing.
    Mundus vult decipi
    This lady pleaded to the public she wanted justice.... But really... She wanted a pay check.... We are suing gov't here for abuse in care and the death of our siblings in foster care..... So sell out the memory of your child for some chump change..... Is diespicable... She comes to us advocates: Help me get justice... Help my son get justice..... Lots of media attention.... Lots of us puting pressure on the govt and public and for what? For her to collect a pay rhe death of child..... Perhaps her child did belonge in foster care... That bei.g said not sure who is worse.... Them for killing her child.... Or her from profiti.g off of it and letting the abuse continue for other children.... Disgusting.... Remeber while you spend that cash.... What it must have been like for that child to suffer... In order for you to spend it...... What a flake.....

    She wanted justice, and she saw she wouldn't get any. What she saw she _would_ get, probably — if she'd refused te settlement — would have been more and more and _more_ of Rotenberg's immense "dream team" of lawyers (the place spends $3,000,000 a year on legal services, and I think we can all guess why) out-maneuvering whomever she can afford as the mother of a now-helpless and immobile adult son.
    Probably she figured that, if she didn't settle eventually, she would still not have justice AND she'd be without a way to care for her son after she's gone (given how much she must have already spent: first upon Rotenberg's sky-high tuition-fees, then upon caring for her son after he was left barely alive then upon fighting Rotenberg in the courts and [previously] in the media all these years). Any evaluation of how she decided must consider the probable context of her decision. Her choice wasn't between justice and wealth — it was between injustice and injustice (and one of the injustices would at least mean physical care for her son; the other wouldn't).
    The good news is that probably now MORE parents will sue Rotenberg ... Some of them may _not_ settle: but if all of them settle, that will eventually bankrupt the school (especially if a constant stream of suing parents gets on the news, too ... )

    This is too horrible for flower pictures.  I have read this through several times and looked at the links.  That Wizard of Oz reward centre is alarming indeed.  Referring to the original book:

    Baum wrote a humor column for The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer entitled “Our Landlady.” One week the column told of a traveling salesman who promoted green spectacles for farm animals. With these, the animals would see their surrounding as lush, green, and edible. Having bought a few pairs, the Landlady reports that “I put the green goggles on my hosses an’ feed ‘em shavings an’ they think it’s grass but they ain’t gettin’ fat on it.”

    Oz turns out to be a hoax, as Dorothy and her companions discover upon their return from defeating the Wicked Witch of the West. The Emerald City is made out to be a place of illusions where deception and aloof behavior provide the basis for authority.

    Silver Slippers and a Golden Cap: L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and Historical Memory in American Politics
    by Gretchen Ritter
    Journal of American Studies, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Aug., 1997), pp. 171-202

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    It really is--I remain amazed at the people who can defend this institution and the torture that is occurring there under a judge's auspices. That the DOJ has not shut this down but is constantly looking into and monitoring our local state supported living center is unbelievable.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    To reiterate - what do you expect from a police state?

    The legal system in the united state is all based on cash. If you have the money, then you can delay or block almost any .private consumer from suing you. Now, there's a cost-benefit analysis that has to be done as well. In the case of JRC, then it makes sense to spend $3M or whatever they actually do spend on lawyers. Why? Each kid according to some articles I have read costs $200,000 a year to have in the center. Of that, the nurses get a cut and the board of directors gets a cut. Its worth it to fight to put down this one incident even if they technically have lost money on this one kid after spending $1M in legal fees. 5 other kids in the center will pay for those legal fees.

    So, there it is. Its a travesty of justice not just in this case but in many other legal cases. I have seen DUI offenders walk because they had an expensive lawyer and not for any other reason.

    Freedom in the united state is not free, it costs about $500 / hr in court. This case is just another example of where rights and liberty are squashed by the pay to play legal system.

    God SHOUDN'T bless the united state.

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, other than the fact that you've misrepresented almost everything, I guess you're trying to make sense.  Regardless of the cost of lawyers, that has nothing to do with being a "police state", so that's just hyperbole.

    The second problem is that it isn't a matter of having money to quash legal action, the primary problem is that too many parents support it, as do "experts".  As a result, there's not much action a judge can take if the politicians and parents continue to support the institute as performing a "necessary" function.
    I have seen DUI offenders walk because they had an expensive lawyer and not for any other reason.
    That particular anecdotal statement has no meaning, since you haven't presented anything here beyond your own opinion.  I'm not naive enough to think that corruption doesn't exist nor that it doesn't occur, however your assessment is simplistic at best.  I've also seen far too many instances of police doing sloppy work which also results in dismissal.  In fact, this type of anecdotal evidence is practically proof against your assertion of a "police state".
    God SHOUDN'T bless the united state.
    Again, this has nothing to do with anything beyond your own personal axe to grind.
    Mundus vult decipi
    I work for the Judge Rotenberg Center. And if you believe half of the things said on here, you need help. The students don't get shocked just because staff decide to, there is a whole process.

    Gerhard Adam
    Good, then perhaps you could explain the video and how this can be considered "therapy"?  I do find it interesting that you rationalize it by claiming there is a "process".  How wonderful.

    Perhaps now if we saw a little bit of actual "science", then we might be getting somewhere.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Please rebut specifically the quotes used in the article and offer evidence contrary to those quotes.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    You don't close it .. you change it. The current administration and staff must be pushed out and the center put under state watch as it transitions to being a center that deals with tough behaviors in a non-punitive manner (many other places do it already ..not new). Jobs are preserved but the torture stops and just maybe we can re-introduce dignity to the individual with disabilities life.

    It's a privately owned facility. How are you going to do that exactly? The state could shut it down, but what legal wrangling would allow for the state to take over the facility and change all the staff?
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    And state control is never, ever, ever an answer, guys. Name one thing the state has taken over that they haven't screwed up in the long run. Bring back state sanctioned street justice. =)

    Gerhard Adam
    ...Name one thing the state has taken over that they haven't screwed up in the long run...
    Perhaps the same could be said for every individual.  I find it a curious thing to say, since you obviously depend on the "state" for your rights, so I expect that law enforcement and fire protection are services you think work.  I expect you probably don't have a problem with the military.  I also expect that you don't mind traveling the national highway system to go between spots.  Oh ... and the mechanism by which the entire country was provided electricity ... that was probably a pretty good idea.

    If your point is merely that people can screw things up ... certainly true.  If you mean that governmental agencies can become corrupt or incompetent ... that's true of any human enterprise.

    I think it's extremely foolish to have the opinion that the state is incompetent and then support the notion that they should control the military and nuclear weapons.  If the state were truly that incompetent ... then I'm afraid the "circle is complete", because you don't get a government that incompetent without an electorate that stupid.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Does anyone know what percentage of students enrolled at this center are government / public founding and what percentage are privately paid out of pocket by the student's family? If a considerable number of students were enrolled through government founding, that would to a small extent help me understand how defenseless children got legally trapped in the cruelest form of punishments and tortures illegal to our worst criminals or terrorists; where American disabled citizens have been and continue to be deprived from their human rights, while the system and officials look the other way for unknown reasons and students with poorly informed, or from distressed or incapable families pay the price.

    Tell me again why Andre McCollins' mother settled this case? Didn't she realize that in doing so she has allowed the abuse to continue unfettered!.If the jury could only have had the chance to see the video and deliberate the Rotenberg Autism Torture center would be closed by now and "Shrinks" would be in jail.

    Gerhard Adam
    Why do people think that showing a video will automatically ensure that jurors start shipping people off to jail?

    Does anyone really think that these issues haven't been raised before?  This is something that Matthew Israel has dealt with numerous times.  The simple reality of it is that no matter how offended people may be by what they see, they are also not particularly inclined to have many solutions for the problems presented.  As a result, they will shake their heads, tsk tsk, and go on about their business.

    This does present an interesting problem, which is why (I suspect) these court cases hang up.  Using terms like "Rotenberg Autism Torture" aren't particularly helpful regardless of how you personally feel.  Simply because it would truly be difficult to believe that most of the people working in this center are doing so simply for the gratuitous "joy" of being able to torture autistic people.

    Therefore, unless one really wants to level a case of pure evil, we have to conclude that, for whatever reason, many of these people believe they are doing the "right thing", or perhaps the "only thing".  As a result, the only way the JRC will ever be closed is when a sufficient number of professionals clearly and unequivocally demonstrate the viability of alternative methods of treatment.  In other words, Matthew Israel must be effectively debunked. 

    Until that happens, you can have as many trials as you like, but they won't change a thing.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Therefore, unless one really wants to level a case of pure evil, we have to conclude that, for whatever reason, many of these people believe they are doing the "right thing", or perhaps the "only thing". As a result, the only way the JRC will ever be closed is when a sufficient number of professionals clearly and unequivocally demonstrate the viability of alternative methods of treatment. In other words, Matthew Israel must be effectively debunked.'

    Why? That is like saying that rape must continue until a viable alternative is found and backed by legitimate authorities.

    The bottom line fact is that JRC makes a quarter million dollars a year per student for the expenditure of a few dollars of electricity the wages of animalistic employees willing to administer these treatments. It seems the bulk of the fees must go to the attorneys hired to keep the place open.

    DO call it what it is. Torture. The problem is not as you say, finding and validating an alternative method. It is the fact that people cannot face up to the fact that things like this really do go on. Those who do see it for what it is will persist and this place will be shut down for good,

    Gerhard Adam
    Why? That is like saying that rape must continue until a viable alternative is found and backed by legitimate authorities.
    Well, if you want to be melodramatic about it ... YES.  That's precisely what had to happen to recognize that women were not property in marriage and the point that a wife could get raped [within a marriage] was precisely what needed to be recognized before it could be stopped.
    It is the fact that people cannot face up to the fact that things like this really do go on. Those who do see it for what it is will persist and this place will be shut down for good,
    No ... you're not getting it.  People know what's going on, but they're accepting the explanations that it is necessary because there are no alternative treatments.  When this is coupled with parents that support the center's methods, then you have no legal basis by which to shut down such a facility.  You can't simply decide that you don't like the treatments.  You must be able to demonstrate that the scientific basis on which it is based is erroneous.  Then you can shut down such a center without getting into a legal battle between expert witnesses.
    DO call it what it is. Torture. The problem is not as you say, finding and validating an alternative method.
    Sorry, but that's just naive.  How would you argue a patient should be handled that perpetually inflicts injury on themselves [or others].  Especially when that patient may well be at risk of doing permanent damage or killing themselves.  You can't simply say that there must be another way, because the response would be that there isn't.  So what would you recommend?

    Other arguments indicate that such patients are usually excessively drugged so that the supposed treatments or methods of handling such patients in other facilities does little more than turn them into zombies with no ability for them to actually improve or become able to be independent.  Therefore, while the methods may seem harsh, they provide results.

    [NOTE:  I'm not advocating this method of treatment.  I'm simply illustrating the nature of the arguments and why it isn't so simple to just say that they should be shut down when you don't have a scientific basis for claiming that the treatments aren't effective].

    Mundus vult decipi
    Naive, no Realistic, yes. The admission by these people that they must these individuals in such a manner is a clear admission that they do not consider them human or at least less than human. Otherwise why would they say they would never treat a normal child in such a way? That they feel they must resort to punishment. OK, we will not call it torture if it upsets your sensibilities. It doesn't change the fact that voltage is being sent into their bodies and brains when provoked.

    Yes, these disturbed individuals are nearly impossible to manage and handle. And beatings, shock, punishment, pinching, food deprivation are supposed to improve it? To say we need to keep doing this because there is no alternative is being naive. To continue to explain, justify and tacitly support such inhumane behavior toward others is just a few steps above those who carry it out.

    The world went crazy when Michael Vick carried out similar actions against dogs. He spent two years in prison for it, the Judge Rothenberg Center receives $56,000,000 a year. If they really felt they were doing no harm why did they fight tooth and nail for 10 years to keep this video tape (and undoubtedly many others like it) from being disclosed?

    Sorry, my friend, you are taking a stance that perches on a very slippery slope.

    Gerhard Adam
    What is it that you don't understand?  You're proposing to lecture me on what's wrong, but you fail to grasp that this isn't being viewed as a matter of opinion in the courts.  This is viewed as public outrage over a matter of scientific "fact".
    OK, we will not call it torture if it upsets your sensibilities.
    Have you bothered to read any of the writings of Michael Ireland?  He defends his practices as scientifically sound, and it is precisely this position [coupled with parental support] that makes it nearly impossible to shut him down.  Until you understanding the problem being addressed your simply voicing a patronizing attitude towards me, that simply isn't going to be very impressive as an argument in a court of law.

    I agree that it is wrong.  However, my point is that until you can make a scientific case that debunks Ireland, it's simply a matter of personal opinion.
    To say we need to keep doing this because there is no alternative is being naive.
    Again, what is naive is your insistence that someone watching the video will simply conclude that the center should be closed.  That clearly did NOT happen and it clearly did NOT win over a judge/jury to reach such a conclusion.  The point of alternatives is that articulated by Ireland, so if you have medically sound, scientific evidence to make such a case, then by all means .... step forward, because that's what's missing to be able to adequately debunk Ireland and shut him down. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Very few are in such a state that they hurt themselves or others. When you "electrocute" someone who exhibits nothing more than an Autistic mannerism (Flapping hands, skipping around, making noises) all in an effort to cure their social wrong - that is torture! The nature of the argument is that parents were tired of dealing with their perceived problem and dumped their responsibility on someone else (us). How can I judge you say? I too have a child with autism who exhibits all the NORMAL mannerism that go with it. Provided with the appropriate POSITIVE interventions and he excels at everything. His mannerisms remain a part of who he is and those "students" around him in school accept him knowing that at times he can not be in complete control of his actions! Would you electrocute someone in a wheelchair because they aren't behaving normal - walking?

    Gerhard Adam
    How can I judge you say?
    Neither I nor anyone else has said that.  My only point has been that personal opinions are of little value in this case, so to continue down that path is simply self-indulgent.  The case has already been to court and settled.  The center continues to stay open.  So, all the "self-evident" tirades about torture are irrelevant since they did not convince a court, nor do they apparently convince the parents that still support the center.

    While you may disagree with that conclusion, the truth is that your opinion doesn't matter.  If you wish to change things then it requires real evidence, of a scientific nature, to debunk Ireland.   I can't find too many posters that agree with JRC, so I don't know who your comments are aimed at.  If the purpose is to simply wring hands and "tsk tsk" about it, then by all means ... that's what such commentary will achieve.  On the other hand, to actually do something, is going to require that people gather as much scientifically credible data as possible to mount a case that can't simply be brushed aside by "experts".
    Mundus vult decipi
    The jury did see the video. Only Ms.McCollins and her lawyer know her reason for settling. 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    You do realize that the data is actually there, and that it's not just testimonials? The data has been presented to judges numerous times, and that's why they are allowed to stay open. The center is extremely effective.

    Gerhard Adam
    The center is extremely effective.
    So, "effective" is your criteria that justifies everything?  In any case, I don't suppose you have any data backing that up compared to other centers for example that engage with similar patients?
    Mundus vult decipi
    A certain group of Germans in WWI & WWII had many "Centers" that were extremely effective" too. It was determined they were wrong in trying to change human nature. I can see little difference between Judge Rotenburg Center and Dachau or Buchenwald. Those interned there are being tortured and some are killed in the name of "Medical Science". Those selected for medical treatment had no voice and were also considered less than human. We stopped it once - we can stop it again. FREE the prizoners at Rotenburg!

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, do you want to stop it, or do you simply want to continue indulging in your own opinions?

    The point you seem to be missing is that this has already been to court and the courts have not seen fit to close it.  Why?  Because parents continue to support it and the "scientific" basis for its existence has not been effectively debunked.  So you can continue with your irrelevant comparisons that are not being listened to, or you can offer up real information that could be used to shut down the center. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    One problem ... With any other method of treatment, when the student improves the punishing aspects can be ended & any trauma is eventually forgotten. But with electrocution and god deprivation (the mainstays of the Rotenberg program), this is not possible. You cannot "un-electrocute" a child (the physicial and neurological — not just emotional — damage has been done), and similarly you cannot "un-starve" a growing child who has been starved for some months or years in order to "learn a lesson" (There have been at least three deaths at Rotenberg due to starvation: when children whir adults who misbehaved were required to throw away their food after it had been given to them.)

    Gerhard Adam
    There have been at least three deaths at Rotenberg due to starvation...
    Sorry, but I have to challenge that claim.  If such were the case, the center would be easily closed down by legal authorities.  Starvation is not on anyone's list of acceptable medical treatments, so I suspect that this is an unsubstantiated, exaggerated claim with no evidence.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    You must be joking.

    NONE of the documents mention starving or starvation except for this one sentence:
    The director of JRC encourages staff members to use electroshock to quitting smoking, makes staff members watch slaughter house movies as a condition of their advancement, and is starving some of the patients who can not thrive on his radical vegetarian diet.
    So, let's get serious.  You alleged that there were THREE starvation-related deaths at the center.  I expect actual references instead of innuendo about "food punishments".  Otherwise I'll have to conclude that you don't have anything, and the allegation is likely without merit.

    Page 46 of your PDF is simply some end-notes and mentions nothing about any starvation cases.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    BTW ... posting links once is quite sufficient.  However, generally it's a good idea to post links that actually support your allegations.  It's no wonder that no one can close down the JRC.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    For the record, I oppose electric shock for aversion therapy.  I personally think there must be a better way of dealing with such issues.  In addition, I'm not clear that many of the JRC's decisions are necessarily based on medical issues as much as they are about control.

    Having said that ... for everyone that wants to simply continue talking about torture, bear in mind that this particular form of therapy isn't unique to JRC.
    P C Duker&D M Seys (2000) reported that they had reduced self-injury in 41 children with learning difficulties. Non-aversive therapies and milder aversive stimuli – eg: unpleasant tastes and water sprays – had failed to deter the children from refusing food, vomiting, head banging and hair pulling. Following extensive physical health evaluations and ethical approval, small electric shocks were administered via remote control when children started to self-injure. (The shock was delivered through an electrode attached to the individual’s hand or foot.) However, long-term follow-up 108 months later found that in some of the group the self-injuring behaviour had returned, suggesting the self-injure/electric shock connection had become extinct.
    What the public doesn't hear is that before arriving to JRC, many students are near death, the result of being subjected to tortuous years of ineffective behavioral and drug therapies by professionals who later gave up and left them to die.
    As I said, from the video I saw, I disagreed with the "treatment" I saw.  However, that's my personal opinion and I'm not the one that has to deal with these children on a regular basis.  Presumably their parents are aware and making decisions that they think are in their best interests.  However, I am NOT prepared to tell these parents what to do.  So despite my disagreement with what occurs, I'm in no position [nor do I have to expertise] to provide alternatives, and I suspect neither are many others.
    Mundus vult decipi