Law enforcement and personal defenceElectroshock weapons are incapacitant weapons used for subduing a person by administering electric shock to disrupt superficial muscle functions. One type is a conductive energy device (CED), an electroshock gun popularly known by the brand name "Taser", which fires projectiles that administer the shock through a thin, flexible wire. Although they are illegal for personal use in many jurisdictions, Tasers have been marketed to the general public. Other electroshock weapons such as stun guns, stun batons ("cattle prods"), and electroshock belts administer an electric shock by direct contact.
TortureElectric shocks have been used as a method of torture, since the received voltage and current can be controlled with precision and used to cause pain while avoiding obvious evidence on the victim's body. Such torture usually uses electrodes attached to parts of the victim's body: most typically, while wires are wound around the fingers, toes, and/or tongue to provide a return circuit, the voltage source (typically a cattle prod) of precisely controllable pressure is applied to the testicles.
Electrical torture has been used in war and by repressive regimes since the 1930s: The US Army is known to have used electrical torture during World War II; Amnesty International published an official statement that Russian military forces in Chechnya tortured local women with electric shocks by connecting electric wires to their bra straps; Japanese serial killer Futoshi Matsunaga used electric shocks for controlling his victims.
Advocates for the mentally ill and some psychiatrists such as Thomas Szasz have asserted that electroconvulsive therapy is torture when used without a bona fide medical benefit against recalcitrant or non-responsive patients. See above for ECT as medical therapy. These same arguments and oppositions apply to the use of extremely painful shocks as punishment for behavior modification, a practice that is openly used only at the Judge Rotenberg Institute