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Judge Rotenberg Center is a behavior modification center located around Canton in Massachusetts

The main facility is located on 240-250 Turnpike Street in Canton, Massachusetts.


Program Structure

The program use a reward / punishment system with five levels:

  • 1) Intake Residences
  • 2) Intermediate Residences
  • 3) High Privileges Residences
  • 4) High Privileges Apartments
  • 5) Transitional Apartments/Residences.

The teenagers have to demonstrate improvement in their behavior in order to gain access to a higher level. Bad behavior can get them demoted to a lower level [1][2][3].

Living conditions

Intake Residences: There are five of them. Each can detain 8 to 12 children. There are very little access to community and they are not allowed use of bathroom unsupervised. As part of the reward system they can have computers, televisions, DVD players, game systems, stereo systems, etc in their rooms depending on their preferences and current capabilities.

Intermediate Residences: There are seven of them with a capacity to detain 8 to 16 children. They have access to the community during weekends. They can be approved to use the bathroom themselves depending of their behavior. As part of the reward system they can have computers, televisions, DVD players, game systems, stereo systems, etc in their rooms depending on their preferences and current capabilities.

High Privileges Residences: There are nine of them with a capacity to detain 4 to 6 children. They can attend outside classes. They can be allowed to work. As part of the reward system they can have computers, televisions, DVD players, game systems, stereo systems, etc in their rooms depending on their preferences and current capabilities. Privileges like private use of bathroom can be granted or taken away depending of behavior.

High Privileges Apartments:

Transitional Apartments/Residences:

Consequences

A majority of the children are fitted with electrical devices once they enter the facility. If they do not behave the staff can activate a remote control, which give the child a powerful shock. A single child have devices attacted on several parts of the body so they will receive multiple shocks.

The use of electrical shocks are not limited to the devices the teenagers are forced to wear. Some are told to sit on a special chair and if they choose to stand up the chair is wired so they receive a shock by choosing to disobey.

Other children are forced to keep their hands in waist holsters. If they try to pull their hands out of the holsters, they will receive a shock.

The use of the shock devices have brought forward critism. A report has been published [5].

International recognition

The use of aversion therapy has found widespread use based on the methods used by JRC. Facilities in Norway and Australia has recently begun to use such methods.

In the news

The state of Massachusetts has started an investigation into an incident where three persons received electrical shock in order to reveal, who was responsible for a prank-phonecall made from the facility. The state are especially careful after they lost in court and have to pay $580,000 in relationship with the 1985 death of a 22-year-old man, who suffered a seizure while restrained and forced to listen to static noise [6].

In 2007 an unknown person called in the middle of the night and claimed that two of the detained teenagers had to be punished due to their actions the evening before. Two teenagers were given 77 and 29 shocks. One were treated for first degree burns. The state investigated and gave permission to continued treatment [9].

References

External Links