Back to the Asylum: The Future of Mental Health Law and Policy in the United States

Hardcover | April 1, 1984

byJohn Q. LaFond, Mary L. Durham

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Today, American mental health law and policy promote the restoring of "law and order" in the community rather than protecting civil liberties for the individual. This compelling book recounts how and why mental health law is being reshaped to safeguard society rather than mentally illcitizens. The authors, both experts in the field, convincingly demonstrate how rapidly changing American values ignited two very different visions of justice for the mentally ill. They argue that during the "Liberal era"-- from 1960 to 1980-- Americans staunchly supported civil liberties for all,particularly for disadvantaged citizens like the mentally ill. Also, criminal law provided ample opportunities for mentally ill offenders to avoid criminal punishment for their crimes, and restrictive civil commitment laws made it difficult to hospitalize the mentally disabled against their will.During the "Neoconservative era"--from 1980 on-- however, the public demanded new laws as a result of the rise in crime and the increasing number of homeless in communities. These changes make it much more difficult for mentally ill offenders to escape criminal blame and far easier to put disturbedcitizens into hospitals against their will. Back to the Asylum accurately describes how this abrupt shift in from protecting individual rights to protecting the community has had a major impact on the mentally ill. It examines these legal changes in their broader social context and offers aprovocative analysis of these law reforms. Finally, this timely work forecasts the future of mental health law and policy as America enters the twenty-first century.

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From Our Editors

Today, American mental health law and policy promote the restoring of "law and order" in the community rather than protecting civil liberties for the individual. This compelling book recounts how and why mental health law is being reshaped to safeguard society rather than mentally ill citizens. The authors, both experts in the field, c...

From the Publisher

Today, American mental health law and policy promote the restoring of "law and order" in the community rather than protecting civil liberties for the individual. This compelling book recounts how and why mental health law is being reshaped to safeguard society rather than mentally illcitizens. The authors, both experts in the field, co...

John Q. LaFond, Professor of Law, University of Puget Sound School of Law. Mary L. Durham, Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.57 × 6.5 × 1.06 inPublished:April 1, 1984Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195055209

ISBN - 13:9780195055207

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Madness and Responsibility1. The Pendulum of Social Movement2. Mental Illness and Criminal Responsibility3. Rethinking the Insanity Defense in the Neoconservative Era4. The Fate of the Insane Offender in the Neoconservative Era5. The Liberal Era of Involuntary Commitment6. The Neoconservative Era of Civil Commitment7. The Road Back8. Does Legal Reform Make a Difference?9. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Future of Mental Health Law and PolicyReferencesIndex

From Our Editors

Today, American mental health law and policy promote the restoring of "law and order" in the community rather than protecting civil liberties for the individual. This compelling book recounts how and why mental health law is being reshaped to safeguard society rather than mentally ill citizens. The authors, both experts in the field, convincingly demonstrate how rapidly changing American values ignited two very different visions of justice for the mentally ill. They argue that during the "Liberal era"--from 1960 to 1980--Americans staunchly supported civil liberties for all, particularly for disadvantaged citizens like the mentally ill. Also, criminal law provided ample opportunities for mentally ill offenders to avoid criminal punishment for their crimes, and restrictive civil commitment laws made it difficult to hospitalize the mentally disabled against their will. During the "Neoconservative era"--from 1980 on--however, the public demanded new laws as a result of the rise in crime and the increasing number of homeless in communities. These changes make it much

Editorial Reviews

"Provides a thorough analysis of the broad social attitudes and political trends, as well as a comprehensive review and synthesis of the emperical literature of the past half century....Its coverage of broader trends in mental disability law and policy provides an important historical contextfor understanding current and future policy decisions....A very informative and extremely well-written book....Extremely readable....Exceptionally valuable resource."--Journal of Mental Health and Aging