Press Release

Amnesty Group 22 Addresses Stun Belts in Surveys
and the 1999 Doo-Dah Parade
November 18, 1999


Pasadena's Amnesty International Group 22 recently conducted a poll on public awareness of stunbelts. The stunbelt is a new
technology that has come into use in the US prison and judicial system, which delivers an intense electric shock. A major problem with these devices is the lack of accountability in their use. There have been documented cases where these items have been activated accidentally or frivolously.

The Pasadena and Caltech-based chapter conducted the survey over the internet and received 120 responses, about half of which were from the Caltech community. The results showed that:

         1.   42% of the respondents had never heard of stunbelts.
         2.   Of those who had heard of them, 49% were not aware that they were used in the US
         3.   66% agreed with the position of Amnesty International, that the use of stunbelts constitutes cruel and inhumane punishment.

The members of AI Group 22 believe that it is of vital importance that public awareness of this issue be increased.
In order to dramaticize the effects of stun weapons, the group is planning to march in the Doo-Dah parade on November 21, 1999. Dressed in paper mache masks and fuzzy tails, the activists will transform into Amnesty Group 22's alter ego, ``Animals for the Ethical Treatment of People.'' As they march through Pasadena's Old Town, human characters will shock each other while the animals show their amazement at the people's like of respect for ``human'' rights. Behind this buffoonery lies a serious message. Abuse of stun weapons can and does occur. Accountability on the part of our agents of law enforcement and judicial must be improved.

For more information please contact:
Lucas Kamp, (626)795-1785,
Larry Romans, (626)683-4977,
Emily Brodsky, (626)585-1412,
Follow this link to see Animals for the Ethical Treatment of People in their last performance.

Electroshock Weapon Survey

Background information:

The "stun belt" is a new technology, that has come into use in the US prison and judicial system about 5 years ago. It is worn by a person under detention and can be activated remotely by a guard to deliver an intense and incapacitating electric shock, in order to control perceived misbehavior. There have been cases where stun weapons have been activated accidentally or frivolously on innocent victims, and stun guns (which deliver a similar charge from close range) have even caused death.

Survey Questions:

1. Had you heard of this device before?

                   Yes                  No
1a. If you replied "yes" to question 1, were you aware that it was in use in US courts and prisons, even on defendants who have not yet been found guilty of any crime?
                   Yes                  No
2. Do you agree with Amnesty International that the use of this technology constitutes cruel and inhumane punishment?
                   Yes                  No
3. Would you support with your signature an Amnesty International campaign to have this electroshock weaponry banned?
                   Yes                  No
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