JRC Wins Court Battle to Use Electric Shock on Disabled Students


From NBC News: “A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., overturned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on the use of electric shock devices on people with mental disabilities by a Massachusetts residential school.

The judges’ 2-1 decision this week will allow the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Mass., to continue using shock devices on its residents. The center, which serves a mix of children and adults with severe developmental and emotional disabilities, has been one of the most controversial institutions for people with disabilities in the country for half a century. NBC News covered the FDA’s years-long effort to stop the school’s use of the devices.

In early March last year, the FDA took the rare step of banning the device, finding that the significant risk of harm outweighed any medical benefit it could bring. It is only the third such ban in the agency’s history.

. . . The center decried the ban and petitioned a federal court to review it. The judges’ majority opinion in the case Tuesday overturned that ban, stating that the FDA cannot ban the use of electric shock on intellectually disabled people because federal law restricts the agency from interfering with the practice of medicine, which is regulated by states.”

Article →


Back to Around the Web

Support MIA

MIA relies on the support of its readers to exist. Please consider a donation to help us provide news, essays, podcasts and continuing education courses that explore alternatives to the current paradigm of psychiatric care. Your tax-deductible donation will help build a community devoted to creating such change.

Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Billing Details

Donation Total: $20 One Time


  1. “…FDA cannot ban the use of electric shock on intellectually disabled people because federal law restricts the agency from interfering with the practice of medicine, which is regulated by states.”

    Does the court really see use of the shock device as “the practice of medicine”? This is terrifying, especially considering that the FDA banned the device…the same FDA that sees no need to regulate ECT machines.

  2. In spending time leaving comments, tapping the keys of this technology to send small pulses of coded language, can anyone explain how the FDA as a regulatory body, through their attorney’s agains the Association’s attorney’s can declare a “win”, if the rules become blanket rules to use electric shock for the whole of those deemed by law to a “shocked” existence. Our language of justice, merciful at best can be worse, though even when people hear the word “disabled” that can be heard differently. From having collorated to form the Metro DisAbilities Coalition, the time would be spent on capitalizing the D or the A.

    To advocate, as the expresson of civil rights by race has meant, was knowing social space of the dominate attitudes risked explosive behavior, just by occupying the space. In contrast, to advocate by disability, the history shows the struggle to realzie the ADA, along with the lack of financial backing to advance the issue of design, design, design as to how we travel through space. And find ourselves being repulsed by any efforts to raise the questions for, by and with the people.

  3. “There are no US national laws on ECT leaving individual state governments to regulate treatment. Whereas some states have detailed restrictions on use, other states have no regulation at all. This variation applies to multiple areas of ECT practice, including who can receive ECT, who can provide informed consent, who can prescribe or perform ECT, and what administrative requirements (eg, fees, reporting) must be met by ECT practitioners. Knowledge of these state laws will help providers not only to be aware of their own state’s regulations, but also to have a general awareness of what other states mandate for better patient care and utilization of ECT. ” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28991068/