Calls for Accountability Regarding the Use of Electroshock Torture at Judge Rotenberg Center
As organizations around the world continue to contemplate writing position statements against the use of electroshock torture as corporal punishment as used at Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), we have questions for Glenda Crookes, executive director, and Nathan Blenkush, director of clinical services at JRC.
Content notice: this article contains descriptions of abuse and death. Reader discretion advised.
Judge Rotenberg Center tries to distance itself from the abuses of the past, but many of the same people who previously witnessed, performed research on, professionally presented on, participated in, and defended in court the abuses at JRC remain in leadership roles to this day.
We call on Glenda Crookes and Nathan Blenkush to answer the questions below.
As Association for Behavior Analysis International®, the BACB – Behavior Analyst Certification Board, The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and American Occupational Therapy Association – AOTA consider position statements, we urge them to ensure these questions are answered.
We urge the BACB to enforce its ethics code and strip of their credentials any behavior analyst complicit with engaging in and defending shock torture. An ethics code that neglects to prevent torture and that empowers people to engage in this type of abuse against disabled people is willfully negligent.
We ask everyone in the world who cares about the rights, safety, and dignity of disabled people to continue engaging in the efforts to end this practice. One effective way to advocate is to use the hashtag #StopTheShock on social media to create posts and engage with posts others have created.
This issue is fundamentally about respecting rights. JRC as a matter of policy strips people of their rights, and the primary one is the right to be heard.
While it is stark at JRC— people are de-voiced and disempowered by the courts so they can legally be tortured— the impact echoes in every single classroom, therapy center, group home, and day program across the country and broader world.
Disabled people and their loved ones are terrorized by the knowledge that the professional associations and credentialing bodies responsible for the care of disabled people are unwilling to intervene.
In their legal threat against NeuroClastic, JRC’s lawyer made the claim that JRC has never harmed a client. This bold statement reflects a terrifying attitude towards disabled people and an arrogant and reckless disregard for accountability.
The questions below were written by Jeff Newman, autistic social worker and abuse investigator.
Image descriptions: below are ten square images with black backgrounds and white text. You can access a text-based version of these questions with sources by clicking here.
- Questions for Glenda Crookes and Nathan Blenkush from Judge Rotenberg Center Regarding Electroshock Torture - July 14, 2022
- Press Release: Judge Rotenberg Center Threatens NeuroClastic with Defamation Suit - May 10, 2022
- Understanding Autism through the Actually Autistic Lens: Resource List - October 21, 2021