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Psychol Public Policy Law. 2003 Mar-Jun;9(1-2):209-32.

Exposing the myths surrounding preventive outpatient commitment for individuals with chronic mental illness.

Author information

  • 1Seton Hall Law School, One Newark Center, Newark, NJ 07102, USA. cornweki@shu.edu

Abstract

Using New York's "Kendra's Law" as an illustrative vehicle, this article addresses the principal criticisms lodged by opponents of preventive outpatient commitment. The authors argue that preventive outpatient commitment is a useful adjunct to conditional release or placement in the least restrictive alternative that has neither produced revolutionary change in psychiatric commitment standards nor will be used inappropriately to assert governmental control over mentally ill citizens. The authors contend additionally that preventive outpatient commitment does not violate federal constitutional norms or represent bad policy making. The authors acknowledge, however, that the coercion inherent in outpatient commitment schemes may produce certain undesirable side effects. Thus, they explore an alternative approach currently in development in Australia that promotes community-based treatment for chronically mentally ill persons without judicial intervention.

PMID:
16700142
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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