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Psychiatr Serv. 2008 Jan;59(1):21-3. doi: 10.1176/

Florida's outpatient commitment law: a lesson in failed reform?

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  • 1Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida, MHC 2738, Tampa, FL 33617, USA.


An involuntary outpatient commitment law became effective in Florida in January 2005. However, only 71 orders for outpatient commitment have been issued in three years, even though during that period 41,997 adults had two or more 72-hour involuntary emergency examinations under Florida's civil commitment law. This column describes the criteria for outpatient commitment in the Florida statute and discusses possible reasons for its low rate of use, including additional statutory criteria that make filing a petition for outpatient commitment difficult, lack of community treatment resources, and lack of enforcement mechanisms.

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