JRC: Abusive Institution Hires Abusive People

Two men who worked at the Judge Rotenberg Center in MA have been charged with repeated abuse of one of their clients. Some graphic details follow. Notice how the suspects use “he was dangerous” to justify their abuse. From MassLive, my emphasis.

Police say video surveillance footage from the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) shows two employees beating and spitting on one of the school’s students, according to The Patriot Ledger.

Police arrested Mohamed Tarawally, 36, of Boston and Claude Guerrier, 24, of Brockton and charged them with multiple accounts of assault and battery on a disabled person. Tarawally also faces a dangerous weapon charge for repeatedly whipping the student with his belt.

The men are accused of attacking and threatening a student with disabilities at various times in October and November, the Ledger reported.

Authorities were alerted to the trouble at the facility after the company that monitors the center’s surveillance footage tipped off JRC staff, who then called Randolph police.

Police said both men admitted to the assaults, saying they didn’t intend to cause pain but were worried that the student, who has a tendency to lash out, could hurt them.

However, Randolph police wrote in their report that the footage does not seem to show the two men acting out of fear or self-defense, the Ledger reported.

The JRC, as a site, is dedicated to the use of pain to control the behavior of disabled children. It’s notorious for deploying electric shocks. It should be shut down. Here’s an essay by Shain Neumeier on the center.

How is this legal?” This is one of the first questions people ask when they hear about what happens at the Judge Rotenberg Center, a residential school for disabled children and adults just south of Boston. For decades, JRC has worked off a treatment model of reward and punishment — punishing its clients severely when they misbehave. In particular, JRC is the only program of any kind in the United States to use electric shock as a form of behavior modification.

This form of punishment is very different from electroconvulsive therapy, which is used to treat depression; it’s much more like the use of a shock collar in training a dog. JRC aides use two different types of remote control devices to shock students on their arms, legs and torso in response to dangerous or potentially dangerous behavior. The weaker of the two is 15 times more powerful than an actual dog training collar, and has been described as feeling like being attacked by a swarm of wasps. The devices have been known to cause first-degree burns and to occasionally malfunction, shocking someone other than the intended target or activating completely unintentionally.

The public first saw what JRC’s shock treatment looks like in 2012, when a video of it was released as part of a lawsuit against the facility. The video shows 18-year-old Andre McCollins, an autistic black man, screaming and begging as JRC staff shocked him repeatedly while he was in restraints. The first shock was punishment for refusing to take off his jacket when he came into the room. Every shock after that was for screaming and tensing up in response to being shocked.

There have been no peer-reviewed studies that show that this is an effective way of creating lasting behavioral change. Even JRC’s own research suggests that shock results in only temporary improvements in behavior more often than not, so “treatment may be required … on a long-term basis.”

Shut it down.

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