Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Challenges of Involuntary Commitment

The Washington Post (November 28, 2007) features an informative article about the challenges related to involuntary commitment procedures for people with mental illness. Most states require those exhibiting symptoms of mental illness to pose an "imminent threat" to themselves or others before they are committed to a mental health facility against their will.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"The imminent danger standard arose in several states in response to the previous governmental practice of building large asylums and then dumping the mentally ill there without due process or adequate resources. As squalid conditions and sordid practices were uncovered in the 1950s, the pendulum swung toward patients' rights: Hundreds of thousands were "deinstitutionalized," or released from the asylums, and new legal standards -- "imminent danger" in many states -- were installed.

In 1955, 558,239 patients were in public psychiatric hospitals. By the mid-1990s, the number had dropped to fewer than 72,000. By 2002, the total had fallen below 50,000.

But the same states that implemented the imminent danger standards rejected them over the past decade, most often because of incidents that involved the mentally ill. "

Read the full article.

1 comment:

DSADP said...

Fellow Abolitionist:

DePaul Students Against the Death Penalty is an organization dedicated towards bringing awareness to the community through education and activism. DSADP began in the spring of 2006 and has since remained a viable resource for the abolition movement in Illinois. All of our events can be found on our website Other portions of our website include media coverage from past protests, letters from death row inmates, summaries of ongoing campaigns, and much more.

Due to the increase in website activity we have decided to launch our own blog titled “Abolition is Inevitable” The blog is solely dedicated towards the issue of capital punishment. However, it is unique from all others regarding the penalty of death. Within the blog, we have a weekly pod cast that profiles interviews with death row inmates, their families, victim’s families, former governors, and many others within the abolition movement. This is being used as a precursor for our upcoming campaign in which we will interview a death row exonerate every week for an entire year. All of these interviews will be uploaded in the form of a pod cast and can be played on our blog.

The first interview has already been uploaded. It contains an interview with the family of a death row inmate in North Carolina. The next interview will be uploaded this upcoming Saturday. This pod cast will be comprised of an interview with former Illinois Governor and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, George H. Ryan.

I hope that you will be willing to not only come, read, listen, and subscribe to our blog / pod casts. But, I hope that you will also be willing to add us to your blogroll and/or links sections.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

Elliot Slosar (DSADP Founder)