The JRC is an educational facility that uses aversives to prevent self-injurious and aggressive behaviours in students with disabilities. That’s how they put it, at least.

What this actually translates to is electric shocks (45.5 milliamps, more than 10 times more powerful than the average stun gun, and more than 15 times as powerful as the stun belts designed to incapacitate violent adult prisoners) being used on children and young adults with disabilities at the discretion of the centre’s staff.

Let’s look at that for the moment. Dig up average police TASER amperage and you’ll get figures like 2.1 milliamps.

I had a quick Google for what amperages do to the human body:

  • 1-2 mA – Barely perceptible, no harmful effects
  • 2.1 mA – Police TASER
  • 3-4 mA – Stun belts used for violent prisoners
  • 5-10 mA – “Throw off”, painful sensation.
  • 10-15 mA – Muscular contraction, e.g. can’t let go if holding the source of electricity.
  • 20-30 mA – Impaired breathing
  • 45.5 mA – GED used at Judge Rotenberg Centre
  • 50+ mA – Ventricular fibrillation and death.

So the amperage of the electric shocks administered to students at the JRC is 45.5mA. It is literally just below the point where it can kill you. They’ve gone as high and as painful as they can without actually causing death. That’s inconsistent with the “doesn’t really hurt” and “just like a bee sting” narrative being sold by those in favour of the treatments.

Students at the facility wear backpacks containing a power source, from which electrodes extend and are attached to the student’s skin. When the student does something the staff think needs to be “corrected”, the pack is activated via remote control, and a series of painful electric shocks are delivered.

Former staff members have reported that the students at the JRC wear the backpacks constantly, even to bed.

Reasons for shocks reported by students and former students of the JRC, and by an investigative team:

  • Self-injurious or attempted self-injurious behaviour
  • Hand movements
  • Covering eyes with hands
  • Covering ears with hands
  • Saying “no”
  • Getting out of seat without permission
  • Slouching in seat
  • Wrapping leg around chair leg for comfort
  • Verbal stimming
  • Talking to self
  • Physical tics
  • Not answering staff quickly enough
  • Shaking head
  • Tightening grip or making a fist for more than 2 seconds
  • Waving hands
  • Crying
  • Bizarre speech
  • Tensing up when being shocked
  • Refusing to remove a jacket
  • Being startled by something
  • Stopping work for more than 20 seconds
  • Closing eyes for more than 5 seconds
  • Swearing
  • Failing to maintain a neat appearance

There are also reports of staff engaging in sexually abusive behaviours:

Two female staff members would bring me to the upstairs bathroom and lock me on the restraint board, face up. Then they stripped my clothes off and bathed me like a sponge bath. They touched my private areas against my will. I was completely helpless. This is a whole other kind of abuse, and it happened to me and other students.

Before I was on the GED, they made me bathe like that every day. And after I was on GED, they used it as a punishment, if I was on LOP. Although that part is very hard to talk about, I feel it is so important that people know the truth. If I screamed while they were touching me, I got shocked. And there were monitor staff also watching the whole thing on camera.

Reports of staff engaging in acts that appear to be designed to trigger violent behaviour so that it can be punished. If no violent behaviour is triggered, the student was punished anyway:

While I was sitting in a restraint chair, a staff [member] would burst into my conference room — I was one-on-one alone with staff — and screamed at me to hurt him, holding a knife. Even though I did absolutely nothing and sat there in shock, not having any idea what was going on, I would receive a shock from the GED device. This happened a couple of times a week, at first, and left me in a constant state of fear, never knowing when I’d be hurt for no reason.

This isn’t treatment, this is torture.

A current petition to close the JRC, and another petition against JRC please sign.