Press Release – ADAPT Pushes Legislative Answer to Contingent Shock Torture


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WHO: National ADAPT
WHAT: Disability Rights Activists Visit Capitol Hill to Talk to Energy and Commerce Committee and Key House Members About Smith Bill
WHERE: Capitol Hill
WHEN: Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ADAPT Pushes Legislative Answer to Contingent Shock Torture

03/20/2018 – Washington, D.C. Disability rights activists from the national organization ADAPT returned to Capitol Hill today to push for legislation that would end the use of aversive electric shock as a way to control disabled people. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced on Friday that he would author a bill to ban the shock devices, which he described as “torture – plain and simple,” built and used at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts. The practice, which has been widely condemned by survivors, disability advocates, the Food and Drug Administration, the Depart of Justice and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, has been abandoned by all other institutions as both ineffective and an ethics violation.

“Institutions are horrible places,” said Dawn Russell, an ADAPT organizer. “You lose all control of your life, and they are full of abuse. But the JRC stands out because of this shock.”

“The entire reason this device exists is to cause pain and fear. It’s been repeatedly modified to hurt more and more,” said Anita Cameron, from the Rochester, NY, chapter. “That’s not treatment. That’s torture.” The group has maintained a vigil outside FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s home at Pennsylvania Ave. and L St. NW, where they have been since March 9, calling on Gottlieb to release the regulations. The FDA announced these regulations almost 2 years ago when they had written it to ban the devices after concluding there was “an unreasonable and substantial risk to public health.”

For decades ADAPT has worked to secure for disabled Americans the same rights and liberties enjoyed by their nondisabled neighbors. Learn more about ADAPT’s history and activities at, on social media with the NationalADAPT Facebook page and on the @NationalADAPT Twitter, and under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST. You can also follow the fight against the JRC shock device at and #StopTheShock.