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  1. #1
    Do I dare to eat a peach?
    palbert's Avatar
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    Involuntary Commitment: A Panacea or Possibility?

    This thread is about finding solutions which might not be PC.

    There is no doubt that mental health issues frame part of the discussion around gun violence in the US. Involuntay commitent of those believed to be prone to violence is one way to handle the situation.

    Just today 3 police officers were shot in their station; a second person was pushed to his death on the NYC subway tracks.

    You will find what we can do is seriously circumscribed.

    Involuntary commitment is governed by state law and procedures vary from state to state. In some jurisdictions, laws regarding the commitment of juveniles may vary, with what is the de facto involuntary commitment of a juvenile perhaps de jure defined as "voluntary" if his parents agree, though he may still have a right to protest and attempt to get released. However, there is a body of case law governing the civil commitment of individuals under the Fourteenth Amendment through U.S. Supreme Court rulings beginning with Addington v. Texas in 1979 which set the bar for involuntary commitment for treatment by raising the burden of proof required to commit persons from the usual civil burden of proof of "preponderance of the evidence" to the higher standard of "clear and convincing" evidence.[21]

    In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that involuntary hospitalization and/or treatment violates an individual's civil rights in O'Connor v. Donaldson. This ruling forced individual states to change their statutes. For example, the individual must be exhibiting behavior that is a danger to himself or others in order to be held, the hold must be for evaluation only and a court order must be received for more than very short term treatment or hospitalization (typically no longer than 72 hours). This ruling has severely limited involuntary treatment and hospitalization in the U.S.[22] In the U.S. the specifics of the relevant statutes vary from state to state.[23]
    ....

    An example of involuntary commitment procedures is the Baker Act used in Florida. Under this law, a person may be committed only if they present a danger to themselves or others. A police officer, doctor, nurse or licensed mental health professional may initiate an involuntary examination that lasts for up to 72 hours. Within this time, two psychiatrists may ask a judge to extend the commitment and order involuntary treatment. The Baker Act also requires that all commitment orders be reviewed every six months in addition to ensuring certain rights to the committed including the right to contact outsiders. Also, a person under an involuntary commitment order has a right to counsel and a right to have the state provide a public defender if they cannot afford a lawyer. While the Florida law allows police to initiate the examination, it is the recommendations of two psychiatrists that guide the decisions of the court.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involuntary_commitment

    So, even if we are convinced the subject may possibly commit harm to himself or others -- how to meet the burden of proof for that -- how to get around Donaldson?

    Short of a Supreme Court retreat from the Donaldson holding (and its progeny) we are left with a Constitutional Amendment, a long and time-consuming process.

    I would say "discuss" but we need positive solutions.

  2. #2
    Do I dare to eat a peach?
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    Re: Involuntary Commitment: A Panacea or Possibility?

    In the news today:

    CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago has logged its 500th homicide of 2012.
    http://news.yahoo.com/chicago-reache...145951769.html

    In one year of what I will call "minor" gun or other violence this one city has surpassed the "massacre by gun" violence going back some time.

    Your thoughts on what we do.

  3. #3
    JUB Addict maxpowr9's Avatar
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    Re: Involuntary Commitment: A Panacea or Possibility?

    Long-stay involuntary commitment [over 1 month] is now considered a relic, especially for non-violent people. In fact, one could argue that it would cost more to commit someone "mentally ill" than it would for a convict. My friend's mom is paying about $300/day for his son in rehab now (addicted to pain killers).

    Most states do have the 5 day commitment schedule for those deemed they are a harm to oneself or others. The problem is, after said five days, what is to stop them from having a relapse, which is very likely?

    There needs to be an open discussion about mental health in this country but it would never happen.

  4. #4
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    Re: Involuntary Commitment: A Panacea or Possibility?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxpowr9 View Post
    My friend's mom is paying about $300/day for his son in rehab now
    That is more than $100,000 per year!!

    That's one of the points of discussion in this whole thing. Competent mental health care is available ONLY to people who are ridiculously wealthy.

    I'd like to see people from outside the USA tell us how mental healthcare works in their countries. Is it even somewhat as inaccessible as it is in the United States? I doubt it.

    I would have no doubt that, for somebody without great monetary resources, even places such as Mongolia and Panama may have more accessibility than here.

    Ronald Reagan was initially the one who made sure that there was as little mental healthcare as possible, and the policy has been continued. I have never forgiven him, or Republicans, since. During a time long long ago, abailable mental health care undoubtedly saved my life.
    Last edited by frankfrank; December 28th, 2012 at 03:30 PM.
    "All legal U. S. residents who are 18 years or older, shall have an unconditional right to vote." - We need a 28th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution which resembles this...NOW!

    VOTING: Just remember: "Be careful of what you DON'T wish for. You might just get it." GET OUT AND VOTE for what you DO wish for.

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  5. #5
    Do I dare to eat a peach?
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    Re: Involuntary Commitment: A Panacea or Possibility?

    Quote Originally Posted by frankfrank View Post
    .... That's one of the points of discussion in this whole thing. Competent mental health care is available ONLY to people who are ridiculously wealthy. ....
    Okay, frankfrank, voluntary treatment or even commitment is not the issue. I doubt such voluntary patients who complete therapy (and maintaining proper medication) generally go on to murder, much less mass murder.

    Our problem is the involuntary commitee. How do we identify them? What is the treatment that can be accomplished under Donaldson? What do we do after they are released back into society? Do we set up an involuntary-commitee website similar to that for sex offenders?
    Last edited by palbert; December 28th, 2012 at 03:46 PM.

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