Article

Investigators' and judges' opinions about civil commitment.

Western Mental Health Research Center, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.
The Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 02/1989; 17(1):15-24.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As part of our work with the Oregon Task Force on Civil Commitment, we surveyed the judges and commitment investigators involved in the state's involuntary treatment program. In Oregon the investigators recommend whether or not a commitment hearing should be held. These mental health professionals indicated that current confidentiality laws restrict their access to important information. The investigators also expressed concern about the lack of resources with which to divert clients out of the commitment system. Judges too felt that relaxing the rules of evidence would improve the quality of commitment hearings. Regarding changes in the system, investigators and judges indicated that outpatient treatment (including compliance with medications) should be required of committed patients. These professionals noted that involuntary outpatient treatment could only be enforced if the system included a mechanism for hospitalizing patients who were noncompliant. Although the investigators believed commitment criteria should be broadened so that their clients could receive treatment before becoming dangerous, judges did not generally endorse this view. We discuss the implications of these findings for new civil commitment legislation.

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    ABSTRACT: A typology for classifying state involuntary commitment statutes is described. The basis for classifying the statutes was the severity of the state criteria, the number of possible alternatives available for commitment purposes and, the need for evidence. Based on the classification system, an empirical analysis examined the relationship between the stringency levels of the commitment statutes and rates of admission to state and county hospitals. A log linear regression model was specified using admission rates as the dependent variable and a host of sociodemographic and other supply factors as independent variables. The results of the analysis support the hypothesis that states with stringent involuntary commitment statutes have fewer admissions to state and county hospitals. The typology used in this analysis has numerous public policy applications and can be updated easily as states change their statute criteria.
    Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research 02/1996; 23(4):341-356. DOI:10.1007/BF02106812 · 3.44 Impact Factor

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