The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is a controversial treatment facility right here in my home state of Massachusetts that uses a form of electroshock therapy in order to “treat” developmentally disabled teens and adults in its care. It’s one-of-a-kind in the nation for its aggressive use of shock therapy — ala B.F. skinner and rats from the 1960s.
Last month, the Center received a warning letter about the continued unauthorized use of “adulterated” shock devices, called GEDs (for Graduated Electronic Decelerators). The Center is the only treatment facility in the country that uses these self-manufactured devices.
They were approved for their intended use by the FDA in 1995. However, since at least 2008, the Center has been using revised versions of these devices — GED3A and GED4 — that deliver higher electrical charges. The FDA has told the Center — repeatedly — that these new versions need to undergo additional testing to demonstrate their safety (especially a concern, given the higher voltage levels the devices reportedly deliver).
And yet, for over four years, the Center has simply ignored the FDA and continues to use the devices — against the FDA’s rules and directives.
Meanwhile, patients in the Center’s care continue — every day — to be shocked against their will. Here is one patient’s story.