For decades, people with disabilities have been subjected to aversive shock devices for behavior modification. The only institution that uses such devices is the Massachusetts Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC).
All behavior is communication. The medical community broadly recognizes that interventions that seek to get to the root cause of behavior–such as positive behavior support–avoid the risk of harm from the use of electric stimulation devices, and can achieve durable, long-term results.
The FDA proposed the rule to ban the device in 2016. The rule was finalized in 2020. However, the rule was overturned on an appeal not because the courts thought the device should be used, but because of a technicality regarding statutory authority. The court argued that the FDA has the authority to ban a device but cannot ban a device for only one use while permitting another use.
The House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 7667 ("Food and Drug Amendments of 2022"). The Senate HELP Committee then passed a companion bill (S. 4348) that included an amendment (offered by Sen. Murphy (D-CT)) that bans the use of electrical stimulation devices. However, the Food and Drug Administration bill ultimately was passed without any amendments, including the electric stimulation device ban. Advocates continue to be hopeful that a ban on these devices will be included in legislation that passes before the end of the Congressional session.
Contact your members of Congress either by phone (202-224-3121) or using the sample letter in the Action Center. Urge them to include a ban on electronic shock devices in an end-of-year package.