Right to Less Restrictive Treatments

The right to less restrictive treatments doctrine is guided by the broad legal principle of the least restrictive alternative. This principle refers to the need for treatment to occur in settings that are least likely to impinge on an individual’s fundamental personal liberties and holds that treatment must be accomplished in a way that minimizes any such infringements on a person’s rights. Although not a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, this doctrine is widely regarded to be a “Constitutionally rooted safeguard,” and it has been applied to a variety of treatment issues for persons diagnosed with a mental health disorder, including the justification for involuntary hospitalization, civil commitment procedures, and community housing alternatives. The end goal in all of these applications of the principle ...

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