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NCJ Number: 181917 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding the Role of the Police and Parens Patriae Powers in Involuntary Civil Commitment Before and After Hendricks
Journal: Psychology, Public Policy, and Law  Volume:4  Issue:1/2  Dated:March/June 1998  Pages:377-413
Author(s): John Kip Cornwell
Date Published: March 1998
Page Count: 37
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explores the impacts of the United States Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Kansas v. Hendricks on States’ efforts to obtain involuntary psychiatric commitments under their police powers and parens patriae powers.
Abstract: The analysis focuses on two issues: (1) the nature of the mental impairment necessary for civil commitment; and (2) the role of treatment in justifying ongoing psychiatric confinement. The author argues that even after the Hendricks decision, diagnoses of impulse-control disorders may prove inadequate for detaining individuals who neither pose a threat to physical safety nor are unable to provide for their basic needs. The analysis of treatment issues criticizes the proposition in Hendricks that constitutional minima are satisfied by the provision of whatever is currently available to those who may benefit from it. Instead, a more appropriate standard would require States to focus in good faith on the needs of individuals and to work toward the development of appropriate and effective treatment programs for all those who are involuntarily committed, regardless of their current susceptibility to treatment. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Civil commitment; Medicolegal considerations; Parens patriae; Police responsibilities; Psychological evaluation; Sex offender treatment; Sex offenders; US Supreme Court decisions
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