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Judge Rotenberg Electric Torture

June 8, 2010

A shock device attached to a "patient's" leg.

A shock device attached to a "patient's" leg.

More quotes from the New York State Education Department review of the JRC, with comments underneath.

The GED is manufactured by the JRC. While JRC has information posted on their website and in written articles which represents the GED device as “approved”, it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA has cleared the device for marketing as “substantially equivalent to devices marketed or classified as “aversive conditioning devices.” FDA’s clearance prohibits JRC from representing the device as FDA approved.

JRC’s GED was modified from other similar devices on the market by doubling the intensity (amperage and voltage) and increasing the duration by 10 times (from .2 to 2 seconds) of the shock administered and by expanding the positions on the body where the electrodes could be placed. JRC also uses a device called the GED-4, which applies an even greater intensity shock to the student when the student fails to respond to the lower level shock. … In addition to the GED, JRC uses an additional form of electrical circuitry that automatically administers a series of aversives (e.g., skin shocks) as soon as a behavior is initiated. This device is not activated by a staff person and continues until the behavior stops. Should the student fall, for example, after getting out of his/her seat, the student would continue to receive electric shocks.

As stated previously, NYSED could not find evidence that this automated electric shock device has been approved or cleared for marketing by FDA. Since the GED has been modified in intensity and duration from other similar devices on the market, and there is a lack of peer reviewed research on the effectiveness and safety of the GED as used at JRC, NYSED has concerns regarding the long term health and safety of the students, particularly those students who may receive multiple electric shocks as part of their behavior plans. Despite the safety warning of the GED device that the GED should no be allowed to become wet or submerged in water, it was reported by JRC staff that for some students, the GED device remains on them while they take a bath or shower. Student records verified this and one student interviewed stated that she had been burned by the GED device while taking a shower. By this student’s report, a new staff person was not adequately trained to administer the GED-4 shock during the student’s shower, resulting in a burn to her skin where the device was attached.

Key points: the FDA never approved the original device as safe or effective. JRC decided the original, unapproved, device didn’t hurt enough and doubled the intensity and multiplied the duration by 10. (note on duration – they sometimes use a series of shocks, so you might get shocked 5 times at the max of two seconds each.) And they have an even more amped-up version for when that isn’t painful enough.

Oh, and they also let families take the shock devices home without really giving them training on the things

JRC’s practice of providing the shock device to families and allowing newly hired staff with little to no training and information on a student to administer the GED appears to be in direct violation of the FDA required safety precautions on the use of the device.


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