University of Southern California

Is California Committed?: Why California Should Take Action to Address the Shortcomings of its Assisted Outpatient Commitment Statute

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Note by Andrea Reynoso
From Volume 88, Number 4 (May, 2015)

88 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1021

The history of the treatment of mental illness in the United States is anything but simple. While both social and scientific understanding of mental illness have developed tremendously in recent decades,1 there remain significant barriers to implementing effective treatment and rehabilitation programs for people with mental illness. Inherent in this intersection of law and mental health is the delicate balance between preserving liberty and autonomy interests on the one hand, and providing for individual and societal safety on the other.2 This balance is not easily achieved and remains the core debate surrounding much of today’s mental health legislation.

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