The government of the United States began with a mindset which strictly divided classes of people and made extreme demands of the lower class. Governing and ruling meant demanding obedience at the expense of trust and no one cared to be creative about how to motivate people beyond the use of punishment.
Unfortunately, people who are driven by ego in a place where the laws favor only those who have power often use what gets labeled as punishment for nothing more than the self gratification and the delusion that they are in control. This pathological need to believe that you are in control will continue to be the driving force of people in positions of power, until or, unless there are regulations to stop them, or they choose to find a more productive and fair means to motivate others.
The first corporations which used U.S.labor were slave owners who used punishment as a means of humiliation and control rather than any type of quest for justice. Today we continue to abuse our legal system and discourage citizen's from taking pride in where they live in very similar ways.
When people take the time to be creative and inspiring they will naturally want to understand others and will find gratification in their success.
Since punishment is unimaginative and ultimately unproductive purposed initiatives within such an environment will only lead to more punishment than reward, unless the entire mindset changes. It is the presumption that everyone is inspired in the same way that allows for and even encourages punishment as a convenient alternative to creative thinking.
Applied behaviorism became a popular treatment for autistic people in the US when many parents were offered no hope by the government and were therefore, willing to institutionalize their autistic children. As the institutionalization in America has continued to increase over the years' institutions that were originally considered to offer some sort of therapy and those which are simply punitive have become less distinguishable.
Recently, as reported by ABC news, the United Nations has declared the adversives being used at the Judge Rotenberg Center as torture and have asked our government to investigate. Now that behaviorists are attempting to present a more friendly image by renaming Applied Behavioral Analysis as Positive Behavioral Support and have all schoolteachers trained by that model the Judge Rotenberg Center may be a political hot potato that behaviorist want to disassociate from.
The problem is that the Judge Rotenberg Center is a symptom of a much bigger problem. While it absolutely should be used as an example of what the public will not tolerate in terms of abuse, and it should be shut down, the political environment that continues to encourage the thinking that has allowed for the abuses at JRC for so long needs to be investigated.
Statewide Positive Behavioral Support is part of an effort to more clearly define the merging of the school system and the judicial system. The agency that certifies people who are trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis have worked for many years to have ABA used to train teachers and students in all schools.
The DSM does not distinguish between behaviors that are done in private at no risk to another's safety and those that are done in public that do risk someone's safety. Furthermore, the police and the courts are allowed to use a formal diagnosis from the DSM to help or to hurt the accused.
The nicer sounding form of Applied Behavioral Analysis known as Positive Behavioral Support was recently falsely advertised as the answer to harmful restraints and seclusion in order to pass the bill HR 4247. I have even seen where people are describing Statewide Positive Behavioral Support as the solution to problems such as those which have been exposed at JRC. These claims are very misleading.
It's typical of such policies as incorporating statewide PBS in all schools that those who are worst affected are the most disenfranchised, so they will question it the least. The school systems are mainly exclusive so the vocal voting public (which is the minority of the population) will have their way. However, if the object of the school systems is to make the schools safer for those children who are valued (which is the minority who doesn't complain) the majority who is meant to be excluded will sacrifice their safety in order to provide it for them.
In order to present ABA in a better more appealing way(which the name Positive Behavioral Support so obviously is trying to accomplish), those who wouldn't have protested JRC in the past will now. It would serve their agenda of creating a new image to abandon those who have received a bad reputation.
James A. Mulick (supporter of JRC) and Erik M. Butter from The Ohio State University and the Columbus Children's Hospital wrote this paper called Positive Behavioral Support: A Paternalistic Utopian Delusion.
One of the points they make is that the popularity of PBS has grown partially due to the misrepresentation of the civil rights group known as TASH. If PBS had been held to scientific standards rather than resting on its political appeal the views held by PBS advocates as well as the program itself would be continually altering due to the ongoing questions which would naturally occur. It not being that way makes it anti-scientific, which is in total contrast of how it is advertised.
Whether or not the Judge Rotenberg Center is in keeping with the more prevalent standards of behaviorists or not isn't as important as whether or not the more prevalent standards are also allowed to be questioned.
In this post 9/11 age, the psychiatric industry is growing much faster than the questions about their practices can be addressed. Freedoms are being taken away at an alarming rate and our tradition of placing the burden on the weakest and the most vulnerable part of the population is naturally repeating since such little effort has been made to change our system of government.
The United States relies more on institutionalization than ever and the jails, mental institutions, and schools are creating more standards, which are interchangeable. Therefore, the people who fill these institutions are being recognized by government officials in more similar ways.
The Judge Rotenberg Center uses an uncommon form of punishment but the thinking behind it will encourage more of the same if not worse, unless more people are questioning the standards of behavioral authorities.
Allowing for a standardized method of behavior control/modification is not an area that any community should vote in solidarity for, unless or until it has been thoroughly scrutinized. Even then it must continue to be questioned and reviewed to prevent the kind of corruption that is traditional in our society.