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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 65058 Find in a Library
Title: INCOMPETENCY AND THE NONDANGEROUS MENTALLY ILL CLIENT
Journal: CRIMINAL LAW BULLETIN  Volume:16  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1980)  Pages:22-40
Author(s): W DICKEY
Corporate Author: Warren, Gorham and Lamont, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Warren, Gorham and Lamont, Inc
Boston, MA 02111
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AVOIDING CIVIL COMMITMENT OF THE NONDANGEROUS MENTALLY ILL AND FAILING TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE COMMUNITY TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES HAVE RESULTED IN PRESSURE ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.
Abstract: THIS PHENOMENON IS EXPLORED IN AN ARTICLE WHICH EXAMINES THE CHANGES IN THE MENTAL HEALTH LAW OF WISCONSIN--CHANGES SIMILAR TO THOSE IN MANY STATES--WHICH MAKE IT PROCEDURALLY AND SUBSTANTIVELY DIFFICULT TO CIVILLY COMMIT PERSONS BELIEVED TO BE MENTALLY ILL. IN WISCONSIN, THE PRINCIPAL PURPOSE OF THE STANDARD COMMITMENT PROCEDURE WAS TO DEINSTITUTIONALIZE THE NONDANGEROUS MENTALLY ILL. YET THIS EFFORT TO AVOID INSTITUTIONALIZATION HAS RESULTED IN IMPROVISED GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE THAT NEITHER SERVES THE OBJECTIVE OF DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION NOR THE INTERESTS OF THE NONDANGEROUS MENTALLY ILL PERSON. IN WISCONSIN, THIS FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE COMMUNITY TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES HAS RESULTED IN PRESSURE ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO DEAL WITH NONDANGEROUS DEVIANT BEHAVIOR WITH IMPROVISED PROGRAMS OF ARREST, FREQUENTLY FOLLOWED BY COMMITMENT TO JAIL OR A MENTAL INSTITUTION. SUCH COMMITMENT IS CONTRARY TO THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE INDIVIDUALS. CONFINEMENT REMOVES DEFENDANTS FROM THE COMMUNITY LONG ENOUGH TO SEVER OR DISRUPT CONSTRUCTIVE TIES. AMBIGUOUS LAW, ORIENTATION TOWARD LONG-TERM PATIENTS AND SCARCE RESOURCES ALSO LIMIT THE INSTITUTIONS' RESPONSE AND MAKE INCOMPETENCY COMMITMENT INEFFECTIVE. EXPERIMENTATION HAS BEEN DONE WITH COMPLEX ALTERNATIVES, BUT IT IS TOO EARLY TO ASSESS THEIR EFFECTIVENESS. IF THE OBJECTIVE OF DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION IS TO KEEP THE NONDANGEROUS MENTALLY ILL IN THE COMMUNITY IN CIRCUMSTANCES ACCEPTABLE TO THE COMMUNITY, THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY TO GO TO ACHIEVE THIS OBJECTIVE. SPECIFIC CASES ILLUSTRATE THE ARGUMENT. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Civil commitment; Community involvement; Competency to stand trial; Mental health services; Mentally ill offenders; Persons with cognitive disabilities
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65058

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