Senate Adopts Senator Joyce's Amendment Banning the Use of Aversives, Such As Electric Shocks
Press Release from Senator Brian A. Joyce:
BOSTON—The Senate unanimously adopted a budget amendment banning the use of aversives Thursday (May 26.) The amendment, filed by state Senator Brian A. Joyce, directs the Department of Developmental Services to adopt new regulations to ban the use of Level III Aversive Interventions, such as electric shock on disabled children. Senator Joyce, an outspoken critic of aversive therapy, has continually filed legislation to ban or limit the practice.
In Joyce’s own district, much attention has been given to the use of aversives, specifically at the Judge Rotenburg Center (JRC) in Canton, which is thought to be the only facility in the country that uses electric shock therapy to curtail behavior. Earlier this week, Matthew Israel, the founder and executive director of the Judge Rotenberg Center was indicted at the Norfolk County Superior Court in Dedham on charges relating to a 2007 incident where a prank phone call to the school led to the repeated electric shocking of two individuals. One of them was shocked 29 times, the other was shocked 77 times – sometimes while restrained, causing burns so severe they needed to be treated at a hospital.
“I am pleased that the Massachusetts Senate has voted unanimously to protect innocent disabled children,” said Senator Joyce. “Now it’s up to the House of Representatives to join us in defending the defenseless.”
The next step in the budget process is for the Senate and House versions of the FY12 budget to be debated in conference committee, prior to final approval by the Governor.