Civil Commitment

Civil commitment is the legal process under which individuals with mental illness may be subjected to involuntary hospitalization. This entry discusses the impact and consequences of commitment, the justifications for the resulting intrusion on liberty, the statutory criteria for commitment, and the constitutional requirements that underlie them. It examines the requirement that candidates for commitment must be mentally ill or disordered and the psychiatric conditions that will qualify. It then considers the requirement of functional impairment imposed by these statutes and the Constitution, including incompetency in the case of parens patriae criteria and volitional impairment in the case of police power criteria. It also discusses the kinds of danger that may satisfy police power criteria, the degree of imminence of such danger that is ...

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