Interesting article from the Chronicle of Higher Education delves into the question of involuntary commitment, particularly with reference to homeless woman Joyce Brown. A decade-plus ago, Brown was briefly a cause celebre after she was picked up under a newly passed NYC law that mandated taking in street people under certain weather conditions.
One thing the various experts in the story never really grapple with is how who pays for treatment affects policy. For instance, one academic "would like to see many more public resources devoted to treatment. Care for mentally ill people and the legal standard for detaining them should be separate issues, she says. 'If a homeless person wants treatment, she shouldn't have to show that she's 'dangerous,' just that she's very ill and wants help.'"
Maybe. But clearly once the state is paying, it's going to be calling the tune in a very significant way--and ways that will always leave large numbers of people unhappy with any given policy. [Link courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily]