[Colorado-talk] Fwd: Stop Torture of Children with Disabilities - Sign ASAN's petition - Ask Gemino not to Finance JRC

Arielle Silverman arielle71 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 23:41:57 UTC 2013

This is slightly off-topic, but is a hot cross-disability issue right
now and some of the students at this "school" have been blind in the
From: IDA_CRPD_Forum at yahoogroups.com [mailto:IDA_CRPD_Forum at yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of Laurie Ahern
Sent: Wednesday, 10 April 2013 1:13 AM
To: IDA_CRPD_Forum at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [IDA_CRPD_Forum] Sign ASAN's petition - Ask Gemino not to Finance

Don’t Finance Torture of Children with Disabilities

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has started a change.org petition asking
Gemino Healthcare Finance (the group that just provided 7 million dollars of
financing to the Judge Rotenberg Center) to terminate its relationship with
JRC. Please click below to sign and please forward to your lists.


 Gemino Healthcare Finance: Terminate your relationship with the Judge
Rotenberg Center

1.	Petition by

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network


Painful electric shock at the push of a button. Hours of restraint and
seclusion. Food and sleep deprivation. But this is not Guantánamo or Abu
Ghraib. This is a "school" for disabled children and youth.

These are only some of the practices of the Judge Rotenberg Center in
Canton, Massachusetts. The JRC, which has been open since 1971, is most
well-known by disability advocates and human rights activists for their
controversial philosophy of "treatment" for people with developmental,
intellectual, and psychiatric disabilities that dictates that pain and
punishment should be used to change unwanted (and sometimes simply
inconvenient) behavior. Their philosophy of treatment is that if a student
does something they don't want them to be doing, staff should press a button
and zap the student with an electric shock designed to be more powerful and
painful than a police taser. The JRC is the only facility that uses this
type of punishment.

This is not treatment. This is torture.

In 2012, a case against the JRC brought by the mother of a former student
went to trial in Massachusetts. During testimony, the plaintiffs showed
surveillance video of Andre McCollins receiving thirty-one shocks over a
period of seven hours while restrained face-down, all for the offense of not
wanting to take off his jacket. Most of the subsequent shocks were for
tensing up or screaming. Earlier, the JRC's founder and executive director
Matthew Israel was forced to resign in a plea agreement for destroying
evidence against court orders after an incident in 2007 when a prank call
led to staff shocking two students 77 and 29 times respectively over a
period of three hours.

Dozens of international disability rights organizations, as well as both the
previous and current U.N. Special Rapporteurs on Torture, have condemned the
JRC's practices as torture. The U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights
division has been investigating the JRC for violating the rights of their
students. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned the JRC for using
unapproved devices. Massachusetts's Department of Developmental Services
banned the use of the GED electric shock device on any students admitted
after September 2011. In December 2012, U.S. Centers for Medicaid & Medicare
Services sent the Massachusetts state government a letter prohibiting any
federal Medicaid funds from going to any person living in a facility using
electric shock aversives, even if that person isn't being shocked. In
February 2013, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick instructed the attorney
general to file a motion to end the thirty-year-old court order that the JRC
has been using to legally justify their use of "aversives." The New York
State Education Department, which issued a scathing report in 2006, issued
another letter in March 2013 prohibiting the use of the GED electric shock
devices on any New York state student.

Furthermore, while there is extant empirical evidence in support of
alternative forms of treatment and intervention for severe behavioral
problems that do not use painful aversives, the JRC has never published any
peer-reviewed, randomized controlled trial demonstrating any long-term
effectiveness, let alone superiority, of their skin shock "treatment." The
JRC's model of "treatment" bears no support in contemporary scientific
literature, though it is similar to the methods used in abusive environments
that tend to develop in unscrupulous "troubled teen programs," prisons, and
other coercive situations.

There is no medical or moral reason that the JRC should be permitted to
continue its practices, but Gemino's decision to provide significant
financial support for the JRC reflects a lack of interest in the wellbeing
of disabled people. In Gemino's own public statement, Director Rob Misener
described the JRC as "an important organization" providing a "truly
inspiring" "level of dedication and care." Mr. Misener also said that Gemino
will "look forward to supporting their mission into the future." The JRC's
mission is the eradication of any undesirable behavior or characteristic
from the disabled people residing in the institution through the brutal use
of force, pain, and fear.

Gemino's financial support of the JRC will only enable the institution to
devastate more lives and commit appalling abuse against the disabled people
entrusted to its "care." There are many worthwhile organizations and service
provision agencies that support disabled people, including those with the
most significant disabilities, without the use of violence and abuse.

You can see some of the past news coverage and reports documenting the JRC's
history of abuse here:

- Letter from former student and survivor of torture at the JRC
.html> , 2013

- Letter from former teacher at the JRC
tml> , 2013

- Mother Jones: School of Shock
<http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/08/school-shock> , 2007

- Mother Jones: Nagging? Zap. Swearing? Zap.
rks-investigations-rotenberg-center>  2007

- ABC Nightline: UN Calls Shock Treatment at Mass. School 'Torture'
d=11047334>  2010

- Mental Disability Rights Int'l: Torture Not Treatment

- Fox 25 Boston: Protesters rally against Judge Rotenberg Center
st-judge-rotenberg-center> , 2013

- Fox 25 Boston: FDA meets on school shock devices, warns of violations
ock-device-warns-of-violations> , 2013

- Forbes: Autism Shock Therapy Practiced In US Is Torture, Says UN Official
-is-torture-says-un-official/> , 2013

- Boston Phoenix: Doctor Hurt: The aversive therapist and his painful record
html> , 1985

- Page with links to many more videos, articles, and reports on Autistic
Hoya <http://www.autistichoya.com/p/judge-rotenberg-center-resources.html>

Tom Schneider, Chief Operating Officer, Gemino Healthcare Finance
Mike Gervais, Chief Executive Officer, Gemino Healthcare Finance
Mark Roscioli, Chief Financial Officer, Gemino Healthcare Finance
Rob Misener, Director, Gemino Healthcare Finance
Stacy Allen, Executive Vice President, Portfolio Management & Operations,
Gemino Healthcare Finance
Gemino Healthcare Finance
Joni Akins, Marketing Coordinator, Gemino Healthcare Finance

Disability rights advocates were concerned to read that Gemino Healthcare
Finance has provided a $7 million revolving line of credit to the Judge
Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc., better known as the JRC. The JRC is
widely known in the disability and human rights community as the only
institution in the United States that uses painful electric shock "aversive"
as a punishment for disabled...


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