PBS published an interview about a law in the state of California that promotes involuntary treatment for mental illness.
In this interview, a range of opinions are expressed, and I find it to be more palatable than the New York Times article that I read yesterday. Even so, I would like to add some comments in response to a judge’s statements praising the effectiveness of the law. In his first statement, the judge says that besides the other benefits that he has witnessed, the law saves time and money; in the second statement, he says that one of the goals of the program is to “allow” patients “to get back into a more normal lifestyle”. If the goal is to prevent deviant behavior in society, then why not simply charge citizens with disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace? Accusing people of mental illness seems to be a roundabout method of temporarily or permanently removing people from mainstream society without saying that that is the goal. Amendments V and XIV of the Constitution of the United States protect a citizen’s right to due process, and Amendment VI protects a citizen’s right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him”, but this confrontation right currently applies only to criminal proceedings, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confrontation_Clause.