Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Moment of Praise

As I said in the intro to this blog, Jones and company are bound to be right once in a while. And it's only fair that I give a nod to that fact from time to time. Today, I was very pleased to see this story about the Judge Rotenberg Education Center posted at Infowars. This is the kind of story that I'd like to see Infowars and Prison Planet display more often: It's based mostly on fact rather than speculation.

The Judge Rotenberg Education Center (JRC) is a private residential facility for children, teens, and young adults with mental and/or behavioral problems, located in Canton, Massachusetts. Until recent years JRC accepted only youth considered to be "hopeless cases" (those with severe autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and various forms of emotional disturbance). Today, children with relatively minor disorders like ADHD and OCD are housed there as well.
Established as the Behaviour Research Institute in 1971 by Harvard-educated psychologist Dr. Matthew Israel, the "school" relies solely on aversion therapy and rewards to train its "students" out of unwanted behaviours. Psychotherapy and psychiatric meds are unavailable to residents; the JRC doesn't even have a psychiatrist on staff. Israel experimented with numerous aversive techniques (spanking, white noise, pinching and muscle squeezing, ammonia) before settling on electric shock as the best way to deal with target behaviours. JRC has used it ever since, in addition to the other techniques. At first, residents were given mild .2-second shocks from a commercially available device called the Self-Injurious Behavior Inhibiting System, produced by Human Technologies. But when one 12-year-old boy was given 5000 of these shocks in a single day, Israel requested a more powerful device from Human Technologies. The company refused. So Israel designed his own devices, one which administers a strong 2-second shock and a device that is three times more powerful, capable of delivering shocks up to 91 milliamperes (stun guns go up to 20 milliamperes, maximum). Both models of this Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED) are in use at JRC. Nearly half of JRC's 200-plus residents are wired for electric shock, including children as young as 9.

Israel argues that shock is a consistent and effective means of behaviour modification, with no side effects. But while most JRC parents are relieved that their children's behaviour is under control, there don't seem to be any longterm benefits for the children themselves. Five of the six residents featured in Israel's promotional film Before and After are still at JRC, despite the almost miraculous "after" effects of aversive conditioning depicted in the film. One of the film's two autistic women, now in her forties, still wears a helmet. The other woman has been wired for electric shock half her life.

In 2006 The New York State Education Department issued a regulation stating that schoolchildren can't be given electric shocks for minor infractions. Parents of New York Rotenberg residents promptly filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the regulation from being instituted, even though JRC is a "school" only in the most tortured sense of the word. Schooling is limited to self-instruction on computers; there is no hands-on work, no discussion, and certainly no field trips.
The same year, a parent's lawsuit sparked public hearings on JRC's use of electric shock. No policy changes resulted.
Parents have twice banded together to protest proposed shutdowns of JRC, once in the '80s and once in the '90s.

A sister school now called Tobinworld was opened in California in 1977, and is still run by Israel's wife, Judy Weber. Tobinworld stopped using physical punishments in 1982, after 14-year-old Danny Aswad died while strapped facedown on his bed and a Social Services report complained of welts, cuts, and bruises on other residents.

The death of Danny Aswad was not an isolated incident. To date, there have been six deaths at JRC, two of them preventable:
  • 1985: 22-year-old autistic man Vincent Milletich asphyxiated while in restraints and helmeted.
  • 1990: 19-year-old Linda Cornelison was physically punished over a 4-hour period for refusing to eat. As it turned out, she had a perforated stomach and died hours later. Cornelison had the mental capacity of a toddler and was unable to speak.
Despite government investigations, negative media coverage, numerous allegations of abuse, and vocal opposition from human rights organizations and members of the psychiatric community, JRC remains open for business. When reporter Jennifer Gonnerman visited the facility in 2007, one 15-year-old resident held up a sign: "HELP US". Later that year, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care concluded that residents had been abused, compelling JRC to institute a few reforms. However, electric shock and the other aversive conditioning methods are still in use. In 2008, JRC staff member Elliston Livingstone was charged with raping a student under the age of 14.

22 comments:

Russell said...

AJ and his people aren't stupid, and they're capable of solid writing. There are more than a few political issues on which I agree with him (privacy rights, economics, etc). I just wish he'd focus more on serious things like this and less on irrelevant stuff.

Anonymous said...

"Irrelevant stuff" like this?
http://www.infowars.com/u-s-army-trains-to-take-on-tea-party/

Paul said...

I think you've said previously on this blog that the world would be a better place if Alex Jones were smarter. I think I agree with that.

As for the army training to take on Tea Partiers.... smells like MIAC type nonsense. I remember when I finally sat down to read the MIAC report and found that the thing was basically an encyclopedia article on the militia movement in America. Not real compelling stuff.

Anonymous said...

Read the Memos at the bottom of the article.
"Debunker Code: Don't read, Dismiss out of Hand"

S.M. Elliott said...

Paul, I share your opinion of MIAC. I would have been upset if it had contained false info, but it really didn't. It was full of common knowledge.

Anonymous said...

The MIAC report implied that people who had Ron Paul bumper stickers were probably linked to violent militias, that many third party voters were somehow seditious and were likely domestic terrorists and needed to be watched (when its the entrenched political/financier class that needs to be watched, and jailed)....After the MIAC report was leaked, the controversy resulted in MIAC being condemned by the Missouri legislator, their funding was cut, and the director re-assigned.

I'm personally offended that Fusion centers (and Infraguard) even exist.

Anonymous said...

Trying to lump Ron Paul supporters in with militias who were busted for their violent plotting.... this is what got the MIAC-er's in trouble.

Similarly, the entire Tea Party movement has often been lumped in with the domestic terror impulse. Outlets like msnbc and CNN often characterize the Tea Party as being fringe and ready for violence.... the Tea Party has been peaceful, they are the ones who have endured attacks- one partier got a finger bit off, union goons busted up one meeting, a vendor was roughed up, and counter demonstrators attacked them on the street once...

Contrast this with the pro illegal alien 'lobby'- once the Arizona law was passed, these people showered police with plastic bottle missiles, they sent the governor a white powder filled letter, on Mayday they rioted and trashed 15 businesses in Santa Cruz, and one promised that the aliens would cut gringos into pieces with farm implements....illegal alien supporters attacked counter protesters in san francisco too.

So clearly, the Tea Party is peaceful....while the pro illegal alien lobby isnt.

Are La Raza or MECHa on Fusion center reports? How about SPLC reports? hmm.

Paul said...

Sorry for helping derail the comments here with my mention of the MIAC report.

I do have to say though I have my doubts the two Anonymous posters even read the MIAC report and are actually outraged at the interpretations offered by Alex Jones, Jesse Woodrow and the other paranoids.

Militia members tend to favor candidates like Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin. Its not an earthshaking revelation. Get over it. You also may need to accept the fact that Ron Paul is in fact a kook.

All of that said. Alex needs to focus on stuff that's actually important.. not the MIAC report and tap water.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul- YOU read the MIAC report and stop spouting nonsense. Start coming up with details, and maybe you can salvage the microscopic amount of credibility you may or may not have.

Repeat: the MIAC report lists several criminal plots said to originate with militia people, among other things......then a few pages later the report lists supporters of Ron Paul and certain items- gadsen flag, upside down flag....the implication being that a Ron Paul supporter, or Chuck Baldwin ,etc. is prone to violent criminal plotting. Watch'em.

the leak was considered so embarrassing that the MIAC was rebuked by the Missouri legislature, their budget was cut, and the director re-assigned.

When you say ..."Ron Paul is in fact a kook" you should list the ways how this is so....blanket statements are the hallmark of the amatuer debater.

Anonymous said...

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2009/mar/25/kinder-public-safety-john-britt-leave-MIAC/

Anonymous said...

list Ron Paul voters who have been involved with violent criminal militia plots, please

Anonymous said...

Paul what about this; I was suprised that the pigs did not start like crazy. They love to do that you know.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yheWR_aHetA&playnext_from=TL&videos=0PITGZL0BN4&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_stronger_r2-2r-1-HM

Anonymous said...

Like they did here!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwvUaRqc&feature=topvideos
Every time I see one I am just ready for them to start shooting people. They think it is fun to kill people; it is what they do.

SME said...

Generally cops are OK. You get some psychos, of course, but the average officer is just an ordinary guy trying to do a difficult job. Part of my problem with Jones's anti-police rhetoric is that he inculcates fear and hatred of ALL law enforcement at ALL times.

To be the devil's advocate for a moment: What happens if/when some of these peaceful Tea Partiers go the same way as the "peaceful" abortion clinic protesters and start taking out politicians with sniper rifles or bombs? I'm not saying that WILL happen...but what if it does? Then what will we say about the police presence at Tea Party demonstrations?

Paul said...

list Ron Paul voters who have been involved with violent criminal militia plots, please

David Brian Stone. Leader of the Hutaree Militia. He was described as a fanatical supporter of Dr. Paul.

That would be someone involved with a violent criminal militia plot which.. umm.. kinda validates the MIAC report.

The whole thing really wasn't too sensational.

Anonymous said...

The Hutaree case is shaky, you know that. And stone has democrat ties.

Anonymous said...

er, I got Stone and Joe Stack/Amy Bishop mixed up. Stack/Bishop were democrats.

Paul said...

We'll see how shaky the Hutaree case is when it goes to trial.

And would you look at that? The Hutaree were mentioned in the MIAC report....

Anonymous said...

CNN and the New York Times cheered the 2003 Iraq attack, plus Clinton's murder of a million Iraqi children....now, they cheer the soon to come destruction of Iran....the midstream is a psychopathic kill zone

S.M. Elliott said...

Well, yeah, shame on them. But I got ya the first time - you don't have to try to post that well-known info four times, dude.

Anonymous said...

I did some digging on the website of JRC, and at the bottom is his response to the Amnesty international complaint. It reminded me of a Law and Order espisode where parents would dump off their autistic kids to be shocked, sometimes to death. The testimonials are horrendous! "I used to hit my mom and now I'm married, 3 kids, a house and a fantastic career! All this by being skin shocked and self taught at a computer terminal. PUH-lease! Sickening, just sickening.

S.M. Elliott said...

Sounds like a bit of Stockholm syndrome, there. :(

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