Albany Bill Aims to Ban Shock Therapy at New York State Cost


May 15, 2023 | 5:19 PM

Albany – A proposed state bill would prevent government agencies from sending people with disabilities out of state for “harmful conditioning,” which was banned in New York nearly two decades ago.

“Andre’s Law” is named after Andre McCollins, who as a teenager in 2002 received 31 electric shocks over a period of seven hours after refusing to remove his jacket at the Lautenberg Judges Center outside Boston. was taken. The center is the only facility known to still offer such treatment. .

“It is unfair for the Rothenberg Judges Center to get permission to torture children with special needs. How has this been going on for years?” said in the Houses of Parliament.

The bill bans taxpayer spending on “reverse conditioning” in Massachusetts institutions, despite New York’s 2004 ban on the use of electroshocks as behavioral therapy within the Empire State. It is the content to do.

City authorities, including the New York City Department of Child Services and the Department of Education, paid at least $7.6 million to the Rothenberg Judges Center for child welfare services this year, according to records.

Undesirable behavior during “reverse conditioning” causes a person to receive an electric shock.

State Senator Jabari Brisport on Monday expressed confidence that the bill could be passed by the June 8 2023 legislative session in Albany.
Zach Williams/New York Post

State Departments of Education and Offices of Developmental Disabilities typically deal with centers on behalf of local governments seeking state reimbursement.

A SED spokesperson stressed that the funds would not be paid for “adverse conditioning” given the state ban.

There are currently 78 school-age New Yorkers at the center, according to SED.

Proponents of the bill said New York state taxpayers’ taxes would support the center’s use of electric shocks, regardless of whether people were specifically receiving the so-called treatments that officials claim. claims to be

“Let’s be clear, when we’re sending students over there, we’re funding the practice,” said state senator Jabari, who is sponsoring the bill on the floor. Blissport, Democrat, Brooklyn, told reporters Monday at the Capitol.

“Harmful conditioning” aims to control behavior by having someone wear a fanny pack device with wires attached to electrodes that shock each time an unwanted behavior occurs.

Rep. Harvey Epstein (D-Manhattan) is sponsoring the bill in the House.
Zach Williams/New York Post

Proponents claim it helps people deal with conditions such as autism.

But critics say the FDA is already trying to ban the therapy, even though it ultimately decided that states have final authority over the matter.

The continued use of this treatment by New York agencies for children and adolescents in Massachusetts means the time has come to close what the state legislature calls a loophole in the current law.

Sherrill McCollin spoke at the Reichstag on Monday about her son André’s experience of being shocked 31 times in 2002 by refusing to remove his jacket at the Rothenberg Judges Centre.
Zach Williams/New York Post

An ACS spokesperson said the Department of Child Welfare oversees the DOE’s referral fee payments to the center, and the department told the Post that students are sent to the center at the “discretion” of parents. rice field. A DOE spokesperson added that electric shocks were not envisioned as part of the treatment of children sent by the city.

“The problem is that our tax dollars are being put into places like the Rothenberg Center to ensure that people are shocked, hurt or harmed.” , Rep. Harvey Epstein (D., Manhattan), the bill’s proponent, said Monday.

“All we are saying is New York State needs to stop. I have.”

The Judge Lautenberg Center outside Boston, Massachusetts, is the only known facility in the country that still uses the much-criticized electric shock for behavioral therapy.
Rothenberg Judge Education Center

Briport expressed confidence that the bill could be passed through the state legislature within four weeks before the 2023 legislative session ends on June 8.

But lobbying records show that the Rothenberg Judge Center hasn’t bowed to the fight even after signing a $68,000 contract with the lobbyist.

“Parents and guardians of Rothenberg Judges Education Center clients will continue to strive to ensure that people for whom all other treatment options have been tried and failed receive life-saving electrostimulator treatment. Allowing the use of ESD as part of a patient’s treatment plan is a matter of life and death,” the center said in a statement.

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