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Parole Boards Treat Adolescents Who Grow Up in Prison Like Adults — and That’s Wrong

We know little about the discretionary release decisions of parole board decision-making, especially for juvenile offenders who have been sentenced as if they were adults to long terms of imprisonment, including life. The possibility of parole for juvenile lifers does not mean they will eventually be released. The formal and informal rules governing a juvenile offender’s eligibility for parole are either no different from adults or too vague.

First, we need to recognize that parole boards are at the tail end of the criminal justice system. Unlike criminal court they are an administrative body, often confidential in their deliberations. There is too often no requirement to be transparent. In this sense, parole boards would be considered a “black box” — one that can not only create a profound sense of injustice among offenders, making their rehabilitation less likely, but produce costly appeals.

Yet I believe that the administrative decision-making of parole boards can be improved upon in the case of juvenile offenders: first by recognizing the business of parole boards, which is not only to make judgments about the suitability of an offender’s release, but also to enable offenders to succeed by becoming law-abiding members of society. To enable appropriate assessments at the front and back end of the correctional process, it is important that parole boards recognize adolescence in all its complex developmental forms. I add the word complex, because a standard text on developmental adolescence is not appropriate for incarcerated adolescents subject to long-term adult imprisonment.

For instance, sensitivity to the adolescents who are juvenile offenders would modify state statutory requirements to consider the offender’s reoffending risk and offense seriousness. Offense seriousness and reoffending risk cannot easily be separated from one another, and often fall under the general rubric of offender dangerousness. Despite an offender’s excellent to good prison record (few infractions and having programmed well), offense seriousness (as indicative of offender dangerousness) is often presented as the defining reason for rejecting parole. But offense seriousness should be defined not only in terms of the harm committed, but also in terms of culpability. And in regards to culpability, the jurisprudence is clear: A youth’s culpability should be discounted based on the well-known facts of adolescence.

Still, before the parole board is not an adolescent but a middle-aged adult offender who looks no different from other middle-aged offenders who committed their offenses while adults. Parole boards need help in seeing beyond their cases of middle-aged offenders. They need to look beyond a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that has recognized the adolescence of juvenile lifers — at least in terms of those who were legislatively denied the possibility of parole.

Although the Supreme Court in its Graham (2010) and Miller (2012) decisions cited the developmental literature as reason for recognizing the jurisprudence of adolescence, it did not provide states with the standards for guiding parole board decisions, essentially leaving it to states to decide how they wish to implement the court’s decisions. Some states have created lengthy minimums, and others like California a specific part of their parole boards that explicitly acknowledges their juvenile lifers’ adolescence. Yet the acknowledgment where it exists appears vague and largely symbolic — an extension of merely stating for the record the juvenile’s age at time offense.

A step in the right direction would be to recognize the criminological reasons for juvenile violence, which include childhood trauma, neighborhood violence and familial abuse. The criminological reasons for gang membership as protection against neighborhood victimization would similarly explain why a juvenile or young inmate just entering prison would again join a gang , and again for protection. A capital offense and a life sentence are traumatic in themselves, and may lead to self-destructive behavior that produces a prison record that would not be looked upon kindly by parole boards many years later.

We should expect that over time the stated rules of engagement for parole boards have changed. This is the case in Massachusetts, where the state’s supreme judicial court not only recognized Miller, but also said that it is retroactive. The state’s supreme judicial court also indicated that parole-eligible juvenile lifers should have the benefit of legal representation — a right that is not provided to adults. Moreover, they recommended minimum periods that would provide adolescents with the possibility of returning to society as middle-aged adults.

Still, there is parole board resistance to dwelling on the adolescence of the offender at the time of the offense and to drawing on the developmental literature to explain early prison infractions. That resistance stems from alternative concerns that are raised by the victim, prosecutor and other members of the community, especially in serious cases of violence. The focus becomes on the offense; its sensational qualities, the victim(s) and then how the offense could be considered an indication that a “just” amount of time has not yet been served given the gravity of the crime.

My statements on parole are based on personally observing numerous parole board hearings and viewing nearly 300 videoed recordings, along with transcripts. I’ve not only observed hearings, but also examined in close detail records of decisions for juvenile lifers and compared them with young adult offenders. With Ed Mulvey (University of Pittsburgh) we found virtually no difference between adult lifers and juvenile lifers in their probability of parole, controlling for the severity of their offense and prison infractions. In fact, age was not a predictor of parole. Rather prison infractions, programming and offense seriousness were the only significant predictors after statistically controlling for a range of personal factors.

So where do we go from here? First, we need to understand parole board decision-making in cases of juveniles sentenced in criminal court to long terms of imprisonment—not just life. Many more thousands of juveniles beside those serving life are coming up for parole each year after serving long-term minimums. They are in the adult system from start to finish, and although a considerable amount of research on juvenile offenders has been conducted at the front end of the criminal justice system, there is little that is known about back-end decision-making, as exemplified by discretionary release decisions.

Secondly, states can do more to prepare their juvenile offenders for discretionary release by taking into account the facts of adolescence. They should not assume that just because the juvenile has been sentenced as an adult, they can be treated as an adult offender. A juvenile lifer’s problematic adolescence should not only be recognized first in a juvenile facility (usually the first stop for a juvenile lifer), but also in their subsequent adult prisons. Recognizing their problematic adolescence requires correctional officials to also recognize that the experiences of juvenile lifers are limited to prison life.

At the tail end of the correctional system is the parole board, and here the facts of a juvenile lifer’s adolescence must be explicitly recognized. The facts at this stage of discretionary release should not only acknowledge the adolescent’s limited socialization to life outside their prison. Those facts should also enable a set of treatments, reentry plans that specifically enables a juvenile lifer to succeed while on parole. In this way the upstream as well as downstream considerations that go into making parole decisions can do a better job in fulfilling the Supreme Court’s mandate for a meaningful review — one that takes into account the adolescence of juveniles, especially when imposing long-term maximum adult sentences.

To ignore the black box of parole board decision-making invites costly appeals, extending the cost of incarceration beyond the jurisprudential logic of a modern-day criminal justice system. Eventually states will do well by explicitly recognizing the adolescence of their juveniles and by developing the research tools, programs, procedures and administrative processes that can produce the meaningful review called for by the Supreme Court. My colleague Ed Mulvey and I have been working in this direction. However, we need more states than the few that have been willing to collaborate with us. If you would like to assist us in our research, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Simon I. Singer is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University. His current book project is titled “Adolescence Denied: Juvenile Lifers in America.” He has received awards from the American Sociological Association (Albert Reiss Book Award, 1999, for “Recriminalizing Delinquency: Violent Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice Reform”), and from the American Society of Criminology (Hindelang Book Award, 2014, for “America’s Safest City: Delinquency and Modernity in Suburbia”). He can be emailed at s.singer@northeastern.edu.

Young Bostonians Pleased With Counter-protester Turnout Against ‘Free Speech’ Rally

BOSTON — With her 2-year-old son perched on her shoulders, Tomiqua Williams, 30, carefully guided her 5-year-old daughter’s wheelchair to the edge of the sidewalk, making sure she had a good view as thousands of marchers carrying signs denouncing hate and promoting tolerance poured through her Lower Roxbury neighborhood.

New York Bureau“I live down the street and it’s very monumental to see all the people who’s coming out to counter-protest what’s going to happen at the Boston Common today,” Williams said. She wants her children to know how important it is to stand up against hatred and racism.

“I want them to see and enjoy this moment,” she added.

Bayou Cugma, 9, who lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, said he would normally spend the last few days of summer playing soccer or basketball but that he was happy to give up an afternoon of play to help stop hate.

“It makes me feel strong and I hope it makes people stop all the madness,” said Cugma, referring to recent police killings of black men and other acts of racial hatred. He starts fourth grade in a few weeks.

Nine-year-old Bayou Cugma relishes a moment in the sun at a march against white supremacy and hate in Boston on Aug. 19, 2017.

Officials estimate more than 40,000 counter-protesters descended on the Boston Common Saturday to denounce white supremacy and hate speech and to oppose a protest described by organizers as a “free speech” rally. Counter-protesters, as well as city officials, were alarmed by possible connections between organizers of the “free speech” rally and a demonstration held last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, when white supremacists and neo-Nazis carrying torches and rifles spread messages of hate. One woman was killed, two state troopers in a helicopter died in a crash and numerous others were injured during the protest.

Organizers of the Boston rally denied being affiliated with the Charlottesville protestors, but counter-protester organizers and marchers were not convinced.

"If this was really about free speech, we would have been invited from day one to speak and have a platform," said Angelina Camacho, who is the Black Lives Matter co-organizer for the Boston area, at a Friday morning press conference.

“People are using freedom of speech for the gathering on the Common but we all know what is behind it and we’re against it,” said Boston resident Nancy Huang, 22, who was marching with friends from Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood.

Boston resident Nancy Huang (on right of three people in red), 22, marches from the Reggie Lewis Center to the Boston Common on Aug. 19, 2017.

Most counter-protesters rallied at the Reggie Lewis Center in the city’s historically black, but rapidly gentrifying, Roxbury neighborhood, then marched through Lower Roxbury and the South End on their way to the Boston Common.

Many said the march gave them an outlet to express their opposition to white supremacy and the political atmosphere that surrounds President Donald Trump, who is under fire for not immediately denouncing events in Charlottesville.

“I don’t think we should be staying silent while something this wrong is happening,” said Jocelyn Antonio, 27, as she marched with a group of young people down Tremont Street toward the Boston Common.

“It’s not like white supremacy hasn’t been happening all along,” Antonio said. “But when it’s so overt and in your face, you have to do something about it and if you don’t you’re just encouraging people and letting them know that it’s OK — and it’s not.”

The Boston organizers may have gotten that message.

Only about three dozen showed up, and the event ended after only about an hour. Those in attendance were escorted out by police shortly before the main group of counter-protesters reached the Common.

Counter-protesters put their hands up as they clash with police, who appear to be protecting “free speech” rally-goers on Aug. 19, 2017.

Initially, small groups of counter-protesters and police clashed when officers appeared to protect the small group of "free speech" rally-goers and counter-protesters were pushed back by a line of police in riot gear. Later in the afternoon, large crowds pushed their way across Tremont Street toward the city's downtown area as a small number of Trump supporters confronted counter-protesters.

But in spite of the clashes, the event was overwhelmingly peaceful. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh thanked counter-protesters at a late afternoon press conference.

“I want to thank all the people that came out to share ... that message of love, not hate, to fight back on racism, to fight back on anti-Semitism, to fight back on the white supremacists that are coming to our city — on the Nazis that were coming to our city,” he said.

Although 33 people were arrested when scuffles broke out between small groups of counter-protesters and the police, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans also praised attendees.

“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the people here were here for the right reason, and that is to fight bigotry and hate,” said Evans at the press conference.

As the last of the marchers passed her corner, Willams prepared to walk the few blocks back to her apartment. She said she was inspired by the overwhelming number of counter-protesters, but wonders if her kids will still be marching against racism and white supremacy when they have their own children.

“I hope that we don’t have to continue to keep marching,” she said. “We keep having to demonstrate for the same reasons that our grandparents did and we have to show we’re tired of this and move forward.”


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Solitary Confinement of Youth Used Frequently, Unfairly, New Report Says

Solitary confinement in juvenile facilities remains too widespread, is unnecessary and counterproductive, is unfairly applied and is harmful, a new report says.

In addition, experts lament the fact that there’s “a desperate need for better data on disparate treatment within facilities,” said Jessica Feierman, associate director of the Juvenile Law Center and one of the report’s authors.

In the report, which aims to bridge the information gap, the center presents raw testimony from people who have experienced solitary, data on frequency and length of confinement, and solution-oriented litigation and policy strategies.

Karen U. Lindell, staff attorney at the center and another co-author, hopes that individual defenders, parents and people who run correctional institutions will find concrete tools and tactics, recent case law and policy examples in the report to help them limit and eliminate solitary confinement.

Litigation strategies include arguing for child-specific constitutional standards and challenging the failure to provide a meaningful education while ensuring post-disposition representation. Visiting local facilities and working with advocates and parents is also recommended to broaden the potential for outreach and education. The report will be the center of a congressional briefing this afternoon.

“This is a problem that can be solved,” Feierman said.

Almost half of juvenile facilities report that they isolate youth for more than four hours to control behavior. That time ranges from hours to months on end. Basic necessities such as mattresses, sheets, showers and utensils for eating plus mental health treatment are not guaranteed in solitary, let alone niceties such as outdoor time, books or writing materials.

“This is something that if I did it to my own children it would be called child abuse,” she said.

Reasons reported for use of solitary confinement range from understaffing and administrative convenience to discipline and self-harm prevention. Some subsets of the population are more likely to get put into isolation. Youth identifying as LGBTQ are at “heightened risk” of being put into solitary, as are youth of color and youth with disabilities, the report said.

Youth can be detained from 22 to 23 hours a day, with their only human contact the glimpse of a hand pushing meals through the door slat or the guard escorting you to the shower. For young people with ever-developing minds, this can have perverse effects on their mental health and neurological development.  

“Solitary has affected me in ways I have never known,” said Eddie Ellis, founder of One by 1. He was put into solitary confinement at 15. His time there, combined, was 10 years.

“I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and I’ve had doctors help me out,” he said. “But again, I had an anxiety attack just the other day.”

His memories and those of other youth about their time in solitary support the report’s medical findings: Studies link solitary confinement with suicidal thoughts, severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, paranoia and psychosis.

The report paints a grim picture of a widespread yet under-researched practice that not only differs by facility and region, but is also extremely covert — many things behind those isolation chamber walls never escape them.

“It’s very secretive, and they don’t talk to parents about the conditions their kids are under,” said the mother of a young man held in solitary, quoted in the report. Even lawyers are left out of the loop — two-thirds of survey respondents indicated that youth never receive a hearing before being placed in solitary.

The report suggests solitary in youth facilities could be put to an end, should litigators, policymakers and communities continue to unite following the lead of former President Barack Obama, who banned the use of solitary confinement for youth in federal prisons in 2016.

“It was a huge thing for President Barack Obama to come out and target juvenile solitary confinement like that,” Lindell said. “The number of children in federal prison is very small, but it sends a very powerful message to states — this isn't something that's necessary, this is something people are moving away from.”

Lindell pointed to Ohio and Massachusetts as states that have reduced their use of solitary confinement. Between 2014 and 2015 Ohio lessened its use by 88.6 percent, resulting in rates of violence dropping by 20 percent in the same timeframe. Its Department of Youth Services made major shifts in visitation hours and added chats with family via webcam calls, and programming such as sports, life skills classes, and movie nights in order to “decrease reliance on solitary confinement.”

Massachusetts' average confinement time is less than an hour. They have worked to educate their staff on de-escalation tactics and adolescent development training. Like Ohio, Massachusetts has employed evidence-based therapeutic models to shift their culture from a punitive to rehabilitative.

“Any time you can get states to understand that solitary is hurting people, it’s a win,” Ellis said.

The report closes with recommendations for reform to end this practice nationally. It encourages reformists not to settle for “altering” or “ameliorating” solitary conditions “for any reason other than to prevent immediate harm, with clear limits on its use even under emergency circumstances.”


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Massachusetts High Court Upholds Restriction on Gun Permits

judge hand with gavel

On Tuesday, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts shot down a petitioner’s claim that a state law -- forbidding the issuance of firearm carry permits to individuals who, as juveniles, committed felonies -- was unconstitutional.

Mirko Chardin, now 33, was adjudicated as a delinquent for carrying an unlicensed pistol when he was 14. Because of that charge, he was denied a permit in 2010. Later that year, Chardin filed a judicial review complaint in the Boston Municipal Court, with a judge ordering a dismissal in favor of the Police Commissioner in March 2011. Chardin was eventually granted a full court hearing in April 2012.

“Chardin’s challenge to the statute is unavailing, and Massachusetts may continue to enforce its provisions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens,” the opinion stated.

The opinion, penned by Justice Francis X. Spina, states that the legal statute falls within the “presumptive lawful regulatory measures” spelled out by recent United States Supreme Court cases, such as 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller and 2010’s McDonald v. Chicago.

“We conclude that [the state law] does not burden conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment,” the opinion of Chardin vs. Police Commissioner of Boston reads. “To the contrary, the statue embodies a long-standing and well-recognized prohibition on the possession of firearms by a particular group of individuals -- those who have committed a felony.”

Youth Crime Declining in Massachusetts, Says New Report

A new Data Points report from the organization Citizens for Juvenile Justice indicates that juvenile arrests in Massachusetts are on the decline, with the number of young people being arrested in 2011 dropping by more than 20 percent compared to 2010 findings.

The report also finds violent and property offenses committed by juveniles in the state to be decreasing, with 2009 data indicating an 8 percent decrease and 4 percent decrease, respectively, from juvenile violent crime and property crime rates in 2008. Compared to 1998 data, researchers say that property crimes and violent crimes committed by juveniles have decreased dramatically, with the rates in Massachusetts for violent crime plummeting by 36 percent and property crime dropping by 45 percent over the 11-year study window.

Researchers have also observed a decline in Massachusetts juvenile court charges. For the FY 2012, the total number of “youthful offender” and delinquency proceedings brought before state juvenile courts dropped 13 percent from FY 2011 data, representing nearly a 44 percent decline in total proceedings since 2008. In 2011, 274 Massachusetts juveniles received “youthful offender” indictments, representing a 15 percent decrease from 2010 and a reduction of almost 30 percent compared to 2007 data.

The report indicates that young people of color are being disproportionately represented in Massachusetts’ juvenile courts, with Hispanic and African-American juveniles representing 53 percent of total filed charges in 2011. Researchers also say that African-Americans, representing 38 percent of charges, and Hispanics, representing 25 percent of charges, are similarly disproportionately represented in the state’s 2011 “youthful offender” cases.

The authors of the report say the data strongly suggests that many of the young people that come into contact with the state’s juvenile justice system have “inadequately addressed educational, physical and behavioral health needs,” noting that in the total 2011 “risk/need” probation population, almost three-quarters of juveniles were determined to require “counseling needs,” while almost 85 percent were identified as having “educational needs.”

The study also describes Department of Youth Services (DYS) data as “disturbing,” finding that last year, almost two-fifths of young people held in pre-trial detention had open Department of Children and Families (DCF) cases, with more than 60 percent of Hispanic girls in Massachusetts having open DCF cases while being detained in 2011.

Massachusetts Leans toward Juvenile Hall for 17-year-olds

Massachusetts looks likely to raise the age of criminal jurisdiction to 18 next year, and may make more changes as nearly simultaneous new rules from the federal government, a U.S. Supreme Court decision and a report from the state’s Child Advocate nudge Boston lawmakers toward more reforms.

“I think there’s a lot of support” to raise the age, said state Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton), chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, as well as House sponsor of an age-raising bill that passed House and Senate committees this year.

Right now, Massachusetts reserves juvenile proceedings for those under 17. Khan’s House Bill 450 simply replaced the word “seventeen” with “eighteen.”

“I’ll be working on that pretty steadily and heavily. It just doesn’t make any sense not to do that,” said Khan.

That work comes as the U.S. Supreme Court and judges in state courts are more often echoing advocates for more flexibility in youth sentencing, on an argument that youths are still developing mentally and more capable of reformation than adults.

Lael Chester, executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, a Boston nonprofit, supports raising the age, pointing out to start with that it is inconsistent. “Seventeen-year-old kids are considered adults for criminal purposes and basically nothing else. They can’t sign a contract, can’t vote, can’t serve on a jury,” she said.

“You throw PREA in the mix and it’s going to be interesting,” she commented, referring to the new federal Prison Rape Elimination Act regulations. Those regulations require under-18s to be detained separately from adults without resorting to separate isolation in grown-up lockups.

“One of the easiest ways for us to fix it is just to include 17-year-olds in our juvenile justice system,” argued Chester.

Raising the age is one of the recommendations that came out of Massachusetts state Child Advocate Gail Garinger’s annual report, published earlier this month.

Garinger also recommended a statute to limit the indefinite detention of youths found incompetent to stand trial, writing that it “is needed to satisfy constitutional due process requirements.”

Additionally, the report recommends different oversight of whether and when a child in state custody should take psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants. Right now, judges decide on a child’s treatment plan. Writes Garinger, “this practice has been in place for almost 25 years and has not been evaluated to determine its efficacy.”

Khan said next year, she thinks she will resubmit her House Bill 1421, part of which directs the Department of Youth Services and the Department of Public Health to better identify and meet mental health needs of youth in custody.

“I feel it’s very important, I don’t think we’re really addressing mental health issues of juveniles who come into the system, who come into the courts. I think there’s more that we could be doing,” Khan explained.

Grainger made one more key juvenile justice point: Massachusetts must also change a law that mandates life without the chance of parole for people as young as 14 who commit murder I. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declared such mandatory, one-size-fits-all sentences unconstitutional. About half of the states, such as Massachusetts, need to set some other minimum sentence.

“I think there needs to be (sentencing) discretion at both ends,” said Chester, both at a youth’s first sentencing hearing, and at a review after serving some time.

She’s not the only one uncomfortable with juvenile life without parole. At the high-profile 2010 murder trial of John Odgren, a young man who had mental health issues and was 16 at the time he murdered James Alenson, Middlesex Superior Court Judge S. Jane Haggerty handed down the only sentence she could: life without a chance of parole.

But the judge also said, “I have some concern with the statute that mandates that the defendant and other juveniles 14 or older be sentenced as adults for first-degree murder.”

She said Odgren’s guilty verdict was just, but the sentence had tragedy in it.

There are about 60 Massachusetts individuals serving time like Odgren, for murders committed when they weren’t yet 18 years old.

The Massachusetts state legislature begins its next formal session in January.

“Got Rights Project” Seeks to Inform LGBT Students of Legal Rights

lgbt student rightsThis month, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) have partnered to launch the “Got Rights Project,” to inform Massachusetts youth about their legal rights as students.

Following the passage of the state’s 2010 anti-bullying law, representatives of GLAD and BAGLY united to create and distribute materials for students, including brochures and a video package, providing youth with access to legal assistance and information.

According to BAGLY Director of Programs Jessica Flaherty, the “Got Rights Projects” provides several opportunities for LGBT students to gain knowledge of their legal rights as students, as well as speak to legal service representatives of GLAD.

“Systemic homo/bi/transphobia blocks access to much needed accurate legal information and support,” she is quoted in a recent article. “LGBTQ youth disproportionately experience discrimination, harassment and violence in and out of school settings.”

The “Got Rights Project” workshops will feature representatives from BAGLY as well as a lawyer from GLAD. A video package - produced by GLAD and the youth theater group True Colors - will be screened at the events.

Five workshops are scheduled for May, with the first event at a SWAGLY (Supporters of Worcester Area Gay and Lesbian Youth) meeting on May 16. Subsequent events are planned in Pittsfield, Salem, Hyannis and Holyoke.

Petition to Ban Shock Treatment at Mass. School Delivered to State Lawmakers

judge rotenberg centerA petition to ban the use of electric shock treatment in a notorious Massachusetts “special needs school” was delivered to state legislators Wednesday. Created by Cheryl McCollins, the mother of a boy who was given electric shocks in 2002 at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, and Gregory Miller, a former teacher assistant who once delivered shock treatments to students, the petition has received more than 215,000 signatures.

On April 24, a settlement was announced in a lawsuit brought against the school alleging malpractice by McCollins on behalf of her son, who was 18 at the time of the incident. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed, according to CBS Boston.

After delivering the petition, McCollins and Miller met with four Massachusetts state lawmakers Wednesday, including Speaker Robert DeLeo, Rep. Kay Khan, Sens. Brian Joyce and Michael Rodrigues.

"We came to the State House in Boston today armed with 215,000 signatures from my Change.org petition to give a voice to the students being shocked at the JRC," Miller said in a press release. "We will continue reaching out to lawmakers until they stop what the UN calls torture from taking place in Massachusetts."

The Judge Rotenberg Center has faced criticism in the past. The school works with autistic, developmentally disabled and emotionally disturbed children from eight states who live at the facility, according to a lengthy investigative story by Mother Jones published in 2007.

Photo via The Judge Rotenberg Center