Evaluation Of A Psychiatric Placement Without Legal Intervention

2265 Words May 26th, 2016 10 Pages
In relatively recent American history one could be civilly committed to a psychiatric placement without legal intervention. Prior to the 1970s persons with mental illness were often subject to gross negligence when they were committed to a psychiatric placement. Furthermore, individuals who were committed to these institutions lost their civil rights. Before the 1950s persons in the United States of America could be held without legal jurisdiction in psychiatric asylums. The 1950s had some changes to these laws. However, the practices at these institutions were often abusive. Overcrowding, lack of funding, and theory all contributed to the inhumane treatment of the mentally ill. However, since the 1970s those persons who require a civil commitment have not only gained additional rights, but they have also been given the ability to challenge their committal. Further, those who have been institutionalized are offered treatment. Finally, the emphasis in the United States has been on deinstitutionalization which requires that a commitment occurs at the least restrictive level of care. In the United States of America, the changes to the mental health system have provided persons with mental illness not only a chance at restoration but also dignity.
The primary legal justification for civilly committing a person to a psychiatric institution in the United States of America is for their safety of the safety of society. For example, according to Meyer and Weaver,
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