Psychiatric Annals

ADDENDUM

Abstract

This issue was ready to go to press when further information about the status of mental patients was made public. On June 26, 1975, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that "statecommitted mental patients who are not dangerous and can live safely outside an institution cannot be confined without treatment.

"The court left undecided whether such persons can be held against their will if treatment is provided. It also left undecided whether mentally ill persons dangerous to themselves or others have a right to treatment when confined against their will."

" 'Specifically, there is no reason now to decide whether mentally ill persons dangerous to themselves or to others have a right to treatment upon compulsory confinement by the state, or whether the state may compulsorily confine a nondangerous, mentally ill individual for the purpose of treatment,' Justice Potter Stewart said for the court."*

A spokesman for the Mental Health Project of the American Qvil liberties Union commented on the decision. "Attorney Brace Ennis said 95 percent of patients in state and county mental hospitals throughout the nation are dangerous neither to themselves nor others. ? think most states will opt to deinstitutionalize these thousands or hundreds of thousands of patients and then improve treatment for the others/ Ennis said."

Psychiatrists may justifiably wonder, where will these hundreds of thousands of deinstitutionalized patients go?…

This issue was ready to go to press when further information about the status of mental patients was made public. On June 26, 1975, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that "statecommitted mental patients who are not dangerous and can live safely outside an institution cannot be confined without treatment.

"The court left undecided whether such persons can be held against their will if treatment is provided. It also left undecided whether mentally ill persons dangerous to themselves or others have a right to treatment when confined against their will."

" 'Specifically, there is no reason now to decide whether mentally ill persons dangerous to themselves or to others have a right to treatment upon compulsory confinement by the state, or whether the state may compulsorily confine a nondangerous, mentally ill individual for the purpose of treatment,' Justice Potter Stewart said for the court."*

A spokesman for the Mental Health Project of the American Qvil liberties Union commented on the decision. "Attorney Brace Ennis said 95 percent of patients in state and county mental hospitals throughout the nation are dangerous neither to themselves nor others. ? think most states will opt to deinstitutionalize these thousands or hundreds of thousands of patients and then improve treatment for the others/ Ennis said."

Psychiatrists may justifiably wonder, where will these hundreds of thousands of deinstitutionalized patients go?

10.3928/0048-5713-19750901-04

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