Civil Commitment

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  • The legal process by which persons can be involuntarily committed to a mental or psychiatric institution. Commitment procedures vary from state to state, but in general, a person has to fit two criteria to be admitted against his or her will: (1) the person is mentally ill and (2) the person poses a danger to self or others. Such danger has to be imminent. Formal commitment is by direct order of the court and can be requested by doctors, family members, guardians, and so forth. A formal hearing, in which the patient has a right to legal representation, will be conducted. Informal commitment can be done at the discretion of medical personnel. Patients can be detained if staff believe that they are too dangerous or ...

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