CPR Submits Written Testimony on Massachusetts Bill Banning Aversive Interventions

November 17, 2023

On November 17, 2023, CPR submitted written testimony in support of legislation that would ban the use of aversive interventions in Massachusetts, including contingent electric shock, and urged the legislature to expand the bill’s protections to all people with disabilities.  

The majority of U.S. States have severely limited or banned the use of aversive interventions. State and federal agencies, disability professionals, provider associations, family groups, consumer run organizations, and even the United Nations have unequivocally disavowed the use of aversive interventions like contingent electric shock.  These interventions violate legal, ethical, and professional standards for the care and treatment of people with disabilities.  Contingent electric shock is not supported by modern treatment theories and, as determined by the FDA, there is no reliable evidence of its long-term efficacy. 

CPR also opposes pending legislation to expand licensure of contingent electric shock in Massachusetts.  Licensure alone cannot resolve the serious health and safety risks attendant to use of the Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED).  Nor can it adequately protect individuals with disabilities from the substantial risk of harm associated with use of the device.

CPR’s testimony was submitted jointly with the Disability Law Center, who also co-authored a 2023 amicus brief with the Center and on behalf of amici supporting termination of a 35-year-old consent decree governing the use of contingent electric shock at the Judge Rotenberg Center.