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News & Updates

Read about recent activity or upcoming plans!

If you have any news you'd like to share, contact us at info@occupyjrc.org.

Occupy JRC Announces Next Event

posted Jul 7, 2012, 1:07 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg   [ updated Jul 7, 2012, 1:13 PM ]

The following is an excerpt from a press release distributed by Occupy JRC:


Occupy JRC is taking this opportunity to put out their next call to action.  Citizens of America, we are calling upon you to gather your strength and join us in Albany, New York on Thursday, August 9th.  We will gather on the Capitol grounds from 12pm to 4pm for a peaceful protest and rally.  There, we will demand that New York cease sending students over state lines to a school that abuses the children it claims to serve.  Without New York State funds, JRC will be seriously impaired and potentially irrevocably crippled.  Occupy JRC will not be stopped or discouraged until this practice has met its final end.




Conference Committee Fails to Pass Amendment #548 That Would Have Banned Aversives at JRC

posted Jul 7, 2012, 1:02 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg

On June 28th, the Massachusetts joint conference committee (made up of three Senators and three Representatives) announced that they had failed to pass Amendment #548 which would have lead to a complete ban on shocks and other aversives used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. 

This was not a huge surprise to advocates who have seen similar proposals struck down in past years.  However, a somewhat greater surprise was that the committee also failed to pass Amendment #555.  Amendment #555 was seen as a compromise effort, seeking only to codify regulations passed in the previous year which prevented new students from being shocked.

Profile PictureUnfortunately, those seeking to know which conference committee members voted for against the amendments are likely to be disappointed, as the votes are typically kept secret.  However, when challenged on the decision, Senator Jennifer Flanagan did say, "I have continued to support the banning of this practice... In fact, the Senate passes to ban it every year. Unfortunately, it did not make it through the Conference Committee."  One can only presume, from her remarks, that she was amongst those who voted to pass #548.

Other members of the committee include
Senators Knapik and Brewer and Representatives DeMacedo, Kulik and Dempsey.  You can find their contact information here.

Occupy JRC Organizer Joins Cheryl McCollins and Greg Miller at State House for Petition Delivery

posted Jun 20, 2012, 6:20 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg

Occupy JRC Organizer, Shain Neumeier, joined Cheryl McCollins (mother of Andre McCollins, seen shocked repeatedly in a JRC video shown on Fox News) and Greg Miller (former JRC staff) on Wednesday, June 20th at the State House in Boston to deliver Miller's petition.  The petition now has over 260,000 signatures (only a small handful of thousands more than is spent on each child at JRC each year).  They were particularly interested in speaking with members of the joint Conference Committee currently responsible for determining the fate of Amendment #548 which - if it survives - would require a full ban on shocks and other aversives at JRC.  Miller, in fact, suggested that each committee member should be required to try out the shock device in order to be fully informed as to what it feels like before making their decision.

For a list of Conference Committee members and their contact information, click here.

United Nations Announces Official Investigation of JRC

posted Jun 20, 2012, 6:11 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg

Excerpt of Fox 25 Interview:

The Judge Rotenberg Center is the only place in the country to use this kind of shock treatment, and now scrutiny is also coming from Juan Mendez, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture.

"It raises a very serious concern," Mendez told FOX Undercover. "The passage of electricity through anybody's body is clearly associated with pain and suffering. Now it depends on the level and time and whether there's any rationale for it."

Mendez knows well the subject of torture. He was a human rights lawyer during Argentina's dirty way, and was himself tortured with electricity.

Mendez is investigating after receiving a complaint from Disability Rights International, which examines treatment of the disabled around the world, including a 2010 report highly critical of the Judge Rotenberg Center.

"I imagine this isn't the typical type of complaint regarding torture that you receive?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked Mendez.

"No it isn't," Mendez replied. "Most cases I receive are about torture in the course of interrogations, for example, or for reasons of punishment. But the definition I have to operate under is very clear: that any pain and suffering inflicted on a person with the participation or complicity of state authorities might give rise to a concern under the (United Nations) convention against torture and therefore to a concern under my mandate."


Read more: http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/18840703/2012/06/20/un-investigating-judge-rotenberg-centers-use-of-shocks#ixzz1yNyKs200



Israel Still Responding to JRC E-mails, Quick to Recommend Shocks

posted Jun 20, 2012, 6:02 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg   [ updated Jun 21, 2012, 4:39 AM ]

This story and attached e-mail exchange is from a press release recently received by Occupy JRC.

In a matter of days, a conference committee made up of three Senators and three Representatives from the House will decide the fate of Senate Budget Amendment #548.  If they keep #548, introduced by Senator Brian A. Joyce in May, there will be a total ban on shocks and other aversives at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC).

Critics of JRC call the shocks torture, saying that nothing justifies that sort of abuse.  On the other hand, JRC supporters say that the shocks save lives.  In fact, one of the primary defenses of JRC’s approach is that they reportedly care for children with the most severe behavior problems in the country and only use the shock approach where all else has failed. 


So, why is Matthew Israel so quick to recommend shocks for children who are diagnosed as bipolar, a relatively common diagnosis these days.  And, perhaps even more importantly, why is Matthew Israel recommending anything at all, given that he is no longer supposed to be working for JRC per a court settlement where he was accused of destroying evidence to hide misuse of shocks with two students?

As detailed in a series of e-mails below beginning in March of this year, a concerned mother reached out to Dr. Israel at his JRC e-mail address in regards to her bipolar child.  Dr. Israel responded within a half hour to say that yes, indeed, the shocks could be helpful.  He did not ask any additional questions before making this determination, but did encourage the young mother to call him to talk further.  He provided both his personal e-mail and cell phone for her to do so.  Over the course of time, Israel spoke to the mother by both phone and e-mail, informing her that JRC can provide free lawyers to come to her school district to fight to get her son admitted to JRC and assuring her that there are many children ‘just like her son’ at the school.  He concluded the discourse (which ended in May) by informing her that JRC is the “best [school] in the country and probably the world.

This exchange should serve as a high alert to all who argue that JRC should be allowed to continue because they seek to support only the children who are the most ‘severe’ and only to save their lives.  The Conference Committee should also consider this a red flag as they determine the fate of Amendment #548 and whether or not this practice should be allowed to continue. 

 

FROM:

·         Sally Westerley

TO:

·         m.israel@judgerc.org  

Sunday, March 18, 2012 11:36 PM

Dear Mr. Israel,

 

I came across your site 'effectivetreatment.com' tonight while I was doing research for my son who was diagnosed as bipolar when he was 6 and who has become increasingly out of control.  I am wondering if you have studied skin-shock treatment for children with this type of problem?  Forgive me if this is information that I could have found on your effectivetreatment site.  I'm just hoping you could give me a quick answer and point me in the right direction if it is something that I should be looking into more seriously.

 

Thanks,

 

Sally

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·     Matthew Israel 

TO:

·         Sally Westerley

Monday, March 19, 2012 12:10 AM

I am sure this treatment could be helpful with your son. Please call me if you would like to discuss. [number withheld for privacy] (I am in CA, so I am on Pacific Coast Time).

 

FW: Question

FROM:

·         Blenkush, Nathan  

TO:

·         sallywesterley@yahoo.com

Monday, March 19, 2012 11:14 AM

Dear Ms. Westerley,

I am sorry to hear that your son is having trouble. Dr. Israel retired recently. However, I would be happy to answer your question.

First, I would like you to consider the following paper regarding bipolar disorder in children:

http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/64/9/1032

Second, we have addressed specific behaviors exhibited by people assigned diagnoses such as mood disorder and bipolar disorder with contingent skin shock when positive reinforcement and other behavioral procedures have been ineffective. The following paper describes the treatment of aggression exhibited by children and adults assigned a wide range of diagnoses (including mood disorder and bipolar disorder):

http://www.judgerc.org/AggressionPaper.pdf

I hope this information is helpful. If there is anything I can do to help, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Nathan Blenkush Ph.D, BCBA-D

Clinician

Judge Rotenberg Center

250 Turnpike Street

Canton, MA 02021

Office: (781) 828-2202 x 2330

Fax:    (781) 828-2804

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·         Sally Westerley

TO:

·       Matthew Israel

Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:52 AM

Dear Mr. Israel,

 

I am so sorry I didn't see this!  (It was in my spam box which I just sorted through in search of something else.)  Since I hadn't really held much hope that you would have time to respond to me directly, it hadn't really surprised me when I didn't get a response.  I'm wondering if it would still be ok for me to call?  Again, I'm so sorry that I didn't see your message when you first sent it.

 

Thank you,

 

Sally

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·       Matthew Israel 

TO:

·         Sally Westerley

Thursday, May 17, 2012 2:39 AM

Dear Sally:

Please do call me and we can discuss your son.  Or you can give me your telephone number and some times that would be convenient for you, and I can try to call you at one of those times.

Matthew Israel

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·         Sally Westerley

TO:

·      Matthew Israel 

Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:42 PM

Dear Mr. Israel,

 

I just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to talk to me tonight.  I'm still struggling with so much guilt, even though I know you're right that I'm just not trained to deal with this sort of problem.  I work at a bank!  What do I know about mental health and clinical work!  But it's my son, and a part of me still feels like I'm failing him.  But talking to you and hearing that there are kids like mine at your school and that there is help for him and the shocks and other treatment you offer can work for kids in his situation... Well, at least it gives me a little hope, because there just isn't much of a feeling of hope when I'm talking to the school system these days.  It really helped to hear that JRC even has lawyers who might be able to help me with the local school system.  I swear, the school acts like their job is to fight with me and make things worse at least half the time.  I'm going to call the school as you suggested as soon as I can get a free moment (those aren't easy to come by these days) during the day and see what my next steps might be.  I will definitely let you know what ends up happening.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sally

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·        Matthew Israel 

TO:

·         Sally Westerley

Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:21 PM

You are very welcome. I retired from JRC on June 31 of last year and am now living in California with my wife. Please let me know how things turn out. You are not alone with this problem  . There are many other parents with the exact same problem. Have you considered joining one of the chapters o

Sent from my iPhone

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·       Matthew Israel  

TO:

·         Sally Westerley

Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:25 PM

... of the Autism Society of America? Also there is no need to feel guilty. You are doing your best.

Matthew


Sent from my iPhone

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·         Sally Westerley

TO:

·       Matthew Israel  

Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:28 PM

Oh, well, thank you doubly for talking with me given your retirement!  In terms of the Autism Society of America... So, as I'd mentioned, my son is diagnosed as bipolar not autistic so it doesn't sound like that would be a match for me.  Just so I understand, JRC does work with kids with bipolar, not just autism, right?

 

Thanks,

 

Sally

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·         Sally Westerley

TO:

·       Matthew Israel 

Saturday, May 26, 2012 7:50 AM

Dear Mr. Israel,

 

I didn't hear back from you after this last question.  I just want to make sure that I hadn't misunderstood.. I thought on the phone you were saying that there were lots of kids like my son at JRC (with diagnoses of bipolar) and not just autistic kids, but then was confused by your asking if we'd joined the Autism Society.  Can you just let me know... Do kids have to be Autistic to go to JRC?  I plan on calling them to set up a tour on Tuesday.

 

Thanks,

 

Sally

 

 

Re: Question

FROM:

·       Matthew Israel

TO:

·         Sally Westerley

CC:

·         Karen _LaChance,  

·         R.Antonelli@judgerc.org  

Saturday, May 26, 2012 2:52 PM

Yes, there are lots of students at JRC who have a bipolar diagnosis. When and if you visit there you will be able to verify that. JRC has a near-zero rejection policy, and accepts students with a wide variety of diagnoses. The best form of treatment for children with that diagnosis is behavior modification and not psychotropic drugs. I thought you might find it helpful to meet other parents with special needs children who may have some of the same feelings and concerns that you have expressed. I don't know of any groups for parents of bipolar children, although there must be some--even if only online. When I suggested the autism group, I had forgotten you said your son was bipolar. Please tell me how your call to JRC goes. Try to speak to either Karen Lachance or Ralph Antonelli. You are very fortunate that you have found JRC in your online research. They give more help than any other program gives to help a parent gain admission. And their program is the best in the country and probably in the world.

 Sincerely,im

Matthew


Sent from my iPhone

 


Cheryl McCollins, Mother of Andre McCollins, Creates New Petition at Change.org to Support Senate Budget Amendment #548

posted Jun 6, 2012, 6:50 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg

Cheryl McCollins (mother of Andre McCollins who was recently seen on Fox News being restrained and
repeatedly shocked for refusing to take off his jacket) of Brooklyn, New York created a new Anti-JRC petition on Change.org this week.  The petition seeks the support of the Governor of Massachusetts and other relevant parties for Senate Budget Amendment #548 which is currently being discussed in conference committee.  If it survives the full process, the Amendment would require a full ban on shocks and other aversives used at the Judge Rotenberg Center.  This petition comes on the heels of one initiated by former JRC teacher, Greg Miller that is now nearing the quarter million mark in signatures. 

To view and sign onto Cheryl's petition, please click here.  To see other ways you can take part in letting the Conference Committee know you support Senate Budget Amendment #548, please click here.

Included in Cheryl's petition is text from a flyer developed by Greg Miller and Occupy JRC about the top misconceptions about JRC.  It was distributed at the June 2nd event.  View this text below.

Debunking JRC’s Top Seven Untruths:

1. Untruth: Shocks and other major aversives are only used rarely (i.e. "once per week") and only for severe behaviors.

Truth: Based on multiple former JRC staff reports, non-verbal students are often shocked 20 – 30 times per day with the same devices seen used on Andre McCollins on video shown recently on Fox News and CNN. Some students become so injured with burns and scabs all over their bodies that they have to have their devices removed for 4 – 5 weeks to allow their skin to heal up. JRC staff refer to these as “GED vacations”.

2. Untruth: JRC’S shock devices are approved by the FDA and therefore prove to be safe.

Truth:
The shock devices used at the JRC have not been FDA approved. Only in late May has the JRC removed that claim from their website after falsely advertising it since 1994. They were exposed on TV by Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN). You can see the bloody scabs in the video on Change.Org.

3. Untruth: The 'behaviors' of students at the JRC are so severe that electric shocks save their lives.


Truth: Students are reportedly shocked for minor behaviors, such as standing out of their seat for any reason, tearing any objects including an empty used paper cup, nagging, and swearing, as well as refusing to take off one’s jacket as seen on TV. Children with these sorts of challenges are not unique to the JRC. There are many alternatives that could be and are used around the world, but most JRC staff have not had training or experience to know otherwise.

4. Untruth: JRC’s skin shock treatment is based on scientific studies published in credible peer-review journals.

Truth:
A director of research at Yale University recently appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and stated that he and his partner could not find any peer reviewed studies in any credible sources that supported the use of JRC’s methods.

5. Untruth: JRC has always had a team of licensed psychologists responsible for making student behavioral plans including shock treatments.


Truth:
At one point, JRC was fined large sums of money after it was discovered that many posing as psychologists were not licensed as claimed.

6. Untruth: Judge know and approve all individual behaviors for which students are shocked.

Truth:
Although a Massachusetts judge always approves the use of GED shocks for a student, blanket permission is given which allows the JRC to freely add and delete specific behaviors for which students are shocked without further permission from the judge.

7. Untruth: Parents give an informed consent prior to their children being approved for shocks.

Truth:
Cheryl McCollins testified that she had no idea that the JRC tortured and abused students until she saw her son on video tied up and shocked 31 times for refusing to take off his jacket, landing her son in the hospital for five weeks in a catatonic state. Parents may never know that their non-verbal child was shocked for standing up to give staff a hug, to ask to go to the bathroom, or in reaction to a student getting shocked and screaming next to them, among many other examples of abuse and torture for which loving parents would never give their consent.




Immediate Call to Action: Tell Conference Committee Members to Support Budget Amendment #548 and a Full Ban on Shocks!

posted Jun 5, 2012, 7:45 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg   [ updated Jun 6, 2012, 8:00 AM ]

There are less than four weeks before the Conference Committee needs to have everything wrapped up, including all proposed Amendments.  That means that they'll only be spending a small fraction of that time on Amendment #548 (requiring a ban on all shocks and other aversives at the Judge Rotenberg Center) and may have made their decision on it in a MATTER OF DAYS! The Committee begins meeting on Thursday, June 7th.  Time is of the essence.  Please begin contacting members of the Committee NOW.  We need fast and clear contact in high numbers. 

Please note:  When contacting Senators and Representatives, some callers are being asked 'What line item does this pertain to.'  This Amendment is in an 'outside section' and does not pertain to any line item.  Be sure to mention that although it is a Senate Budget Amendment, it is now being considered by Conference Committee (and thus applies to both the Senate and the House).  This Amendment *IS* a budget amendment.  Although that may not make intuitive sense given the subject matter, it is where it falls. 
 
Ideas on what you can do (regardless of whether or not you live in Massachusetts):

  • Call each Committee Member's office (see contact information below)
  • E-mail each Committee Member (see contact information below)
  • If you are in Massachusetts, call your own Senator or Representative and ask them to support Amendment #548
  • If they have a Facebook page, Twitter or Website that allows you to post your urging for their support publicly, then do so!!!!!!  Making your voice and urgings public for all to see can be even more powerful than private calls or letters  (see contact information below)
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper to raise awareness of the issue and publicly state your support for the full ban of shocks and aversives at the Judge Rotenberg Center
  • Visit the websites of all media publications that have put something out about the JRC and comment about your support for the ban of shocks and aversives of JRC and your support for Amendment #548 (include links back to this and other information to help raise awareness and involvement)
  • Post about this issue on your Facebook page or Twitter account (include links back to this page or other information on the topic)
  • Go to the coverage of this issue in the Jamaica Plains Patch and vote 'yes' in favor of the ban of shocks and aversives at JRC (and let them know that you don't even think it should be up for a vote by commenting in the comments section!)

Things you might say:

  • You are in full support of voting for Senate Budget Amendment #548 that would require a full ban on shocks and other aversives at the Judge Rotenberg Center and is currently being considered by Conference Committee
  • You are aware that the United Nations has declared the aversives to be torture
  • Torture is a violation of human rights
  • You are aware that some parents of students are the Judge Rotenberg Center speak positively about the changes in their children due to shocks and other aversives.  However, while torture can change behavior, it still remains torture and leads to other serious problems including traumatic responses in the individual.
  • Civil and human rights issues should not be up for debate, and both sides should not be considered when torture and civil rights violations are at hand.
  • Compromise is not acceptable when it comes to torture and civil/human rights violations.  A full ban is the only acceptable option.
  • Share your own stories about the abuses you've experienced in the system (even if not at JRC) and how you've been impacted by restrictive and abusive practices done in the name of 'treatment'

Contact Information for the Committee:

Rep. Brian S. Dempsey

D-Haverhill

Chair, House Ways and Means Committee

Third Essex District,

Consisting of all Precincts of Wards 1, 3, and 6; Precinct 3 of Ward 2; Precincts 1 and 2 of Ward 4; and Precincts 1 and 3 of Ward 5; all in the City of Haverhill, in the county of Essex.

State House, Room 243

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-2990

Fax: 617-722-2215

Email: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov

Find more information about Rep. Dempsey at:  http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Brian_Dempsey

 

Rep. Stephen Kulik

D-Worthington

Vice Chair, House Ways and Means Committee

First Franklin District,

Consisting of the towns of Conway, Deerfield, Leverett, Montague, New Salem, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Wendell and Whately in Franklin County; and Precincts A & D in the town of Belchertown and all of Chesterfield, Goshen, Huntington, Pelham, Williamsburg and Worthington in Hampshire County.

State House, Room 238

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-2380 or (413) 665-7200

Fax: 617-722-2847 or (413) 665-7101

Email: Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov or info@stevekulik.org

Website: http://www.stevekulik.org/

Find more information about Rep. Kulik at: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Stephen_Kulik

 

Rep. Viriato Manuel deMacedo

R-Plymouth

Ranking Minority Member, House Ways and Means Committee

First Plymouth District,

Consisting of precincts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14, of the town of Plymouth, in the county of Plymouth.

State House, Room 124

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-2100 or 508-224-7572 (District)

Fax: 617-722-2390

Email: Vinny.deMacedo@mahouse.gov or vinny@demacedo.org

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/State-Representative-Vinny-deMacedo/301987913324

Website:  http://www.demacedo.org/

Find more information about Rep. deMacedo at: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Viriato_deMacedo


Sen. Stephen M. Brewer

D-Barre

Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee

Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Senate District,

Consisting of the towns of Ashburnham, Athol, Barre, Brookfield, Charlton, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Hubbardston, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Oakham, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Rutland, Spencer, Sturbridge, Templeton, Warren, West Brookfield, and Winchendon, in Worcester County; Brimfield, Holland, Monson, Palmer and Wales, in Hampden County; Ware, in Hampshire County; and Orange and Warwick in Franklin County.

State House, Room 212

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-1540

Fax: 617-722-1078

Email: Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov

Website: http://www.stevebrewer.org/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SenatorBrewer

Find more information about Senator Brewer at:  http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=Stephen_Brewer

 

Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan

D-Leominster

Vice Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee

Worcester and Middlesex Senate District,

Consisting of Bolton, Precincts 1 and 2 of Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenberg, Sterling and Westminster, in Worcester County; and Ashby and Townsend, in Middlesex County. 

State House, Room 410

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-1230 or 978-466-8605

Fax: 617-722-1130

Email: Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov or info@jenflanagan.com

Website: http://www.jenflanagan.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SenJenFlanagan

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/intent/follow?source=followbutton&variant=1.0&screen_name=JenFlanaganMA

Find more information about Senator Flanagan at: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Jennifer_Flanagan

 

Sen. Michael R. Knapik

R-Westfield

Ranking Minority Member, Senate Ways and Means Committee

Second Hampden & Hampshire Senate District,

Consisting of Blandford, Chester, Wards 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 9 in the City of Chicopee, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland and Westfield, in Hampden County; and Easthampton and Southampton, in Hampshire County.

State House, Room 419

Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-1415 or 413-562-6454

Fax: 413-572-9720

Email: Michael.Knapik@masenate.gov or senatorknapik@gmail.com

Website: http://www.mikeknapik.com/

Find more information about Senator Knapik at: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Michael_Knapik




Conference Committee Members Named, Less Than Four Weeks To Determine Outcome

posted Jun 4, 2012, 5:34 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg   [ updated Jun 4, 2012, 5:35 PM ]

Today, the State House News Service made the much awaited announcement of Conference Committee members who will be responsible for deciding the fate of Amendment #548.  As anticipated, the committee will include:

Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre)

Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)

Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill)
Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Rep. Viriato DeMacedo (R-Plymouth)

If #548 survives, it will require a full ban on the shocks used at the Judge Rotenberg Center.  However, this committee is only one person different (Sen. Steven Baddour was in place of Flanagan) than the committee that failed to pass essentially the same amendment last year.  With the new fiscal year beginning on July 1, the committee has less than four weeks to settle a variety of policy and spending differences between the House and Senate budget bills with this issue only one amongst the many.


Stay tuned for recommendations on who to contact and what to say to support this amendment's survival!


Committee soon to be formed to consider Amendment #548 that would require full ban on shocks

posted Jun 3, 2012, 2:07 PM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg

Just last month, Senator Brian A. Joyce introduced Amendment #548 to the Senate.  This amendment would require a full ban on the shocks used at the Judge Rotenberg Center.  The Amendment was successful and is now on its way to Conference Committee.  The Committee (which will include three individuals from the Senate and three from the House of Representatives) was supposed to be named this past week, but was not.  However, there has been much speculation on who will be on the committee based on the requisite formula concerning its make-up which requires two Chairs of Ways and Means, two Vice Chairs and the ranking minority members (GOP) on each committee.  Speculation leads to the following best guess:

Chair of Senate Ways and Means:  Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre)
Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Means:  Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Ranking Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means:  Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)

Chair of House Ways and Means:  Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill)
Vice Chair of House Ways and Means:  Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Ranking Minority Member of House Ways and Means:  Rep. Viriato Manuel deMacedo (R-Plymouth)

Concerns with this potential make-up are substantial, as it is almost identical to the Conference Committee that rejected the same proposal last year.  Additionally, most individuals in this group are geographically distant from Canton and the center's strongest advocate is in the House.  However, working strongly in its favor is the increasing amount of attention and outcry from the press and the general public.

For the full text of the amendment click here.

We will post more as soon as we know the actual make-up of the committee, including suggested ways to support the passing of the Amendment! 
 

Canton Patch Hosts Live Chat with Senator Joyce on JRC on June 1st. Click here for details!

posted May 26, 2012, 6:53 AM by OcuppyJudge Rotenberg

Senator Brian A. Joyce will be answering questions on Friday, June 1, from 11:30am to 12:30pm during a live chat with the Canton Patch at canton.patch.com.  To get involved, submit your questions in advance to margaret.caroll-bergman@patch.com or go to canton.patch.com on Friday, June 1 during the chat to submit your questions live.

Senator Joyce has been an outspoken critic of the Judge Rotenberg Center and its use of aversives, including painful skin shocks.  He has repeatedly referred to the center as a 'house of horrors,' and has lead initiatives to end the abusive 'treatment,' (including the current proposal of Amendment #548 banning all shock treatment at JRC).  Senator Joyce will also be speaking at the Occupy JRC event on June 2nd.  Click here for event details.




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