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Involuntary Commitment

A Crack In The Door Of Constitutional Freedoms

Click here to download and read the full CCHR report Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment — A Crack In The Door Of Constitutional Freedoms.

“The fact that psychiatric imprisonment is called ‘civil commitment’ is, of course, simply part of the linguistic deception characteristic of the mental–health system. Since civil commitment results in the loss of liberty, and subjects the victim to health hazards at the hands of medical criminals whose ostensible healing function is legitimized by the state, it entails far greater deprivation of rights than does incarceration in prison, a penalty carefully circumscribed by constitutional guarantees and judicial safeguards.”
Dr. Thomas Szasz, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus

Can this really happen in America today? Can this happen in a country where even criminals are set free if they are not given their rights, where the strongest Constitution in man’s history guarantees the individual his liberties? It not only can, but it does. The fact is, every 1¼ minutes, someone in the U.S. becomes the next victim of involuntary incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. And there’s nothing they can do about it.

Statutory checks on the abuse of civil commitment laws are scarce, readily sidestepped and widely ignored. Yet the minds and memories of those subjected to this capriciousness have frequently been destroyed after involuntary imprisonment in psychiatric facilities across the nation — be it a small clinic, private hospital or a government–run institution. And commitment laws have been used for every wrong reason: financial, sexual, business advantage, inheritance, political suppression, and even to maintain governmental secrecy.

When any psychiatrist has full legal power to cause your involuntary physical detention by force (kidnapping), subject you to physical pain and mental stress (torture), leave you permanently mentally damaged (cruel and unusual punishment), with or without proving to your peers that you are a danger to yourself or have committed a crime (due process of law, trial by jury) then, by definition, a totalitarian state exists.

Because of their ubiquity and far–reaching powers, involuntary commitment laws lay a truly concrete foundation for totalitarianism. And they are not, it must be stressed, a threat of what might be, but a present danger — representing America’s gaping breach in the otherwise admirable wall of individual Constitutional rights.

With health care eating up vast amounts of our national budget, the first spending cut to make is the cost of “treating” people who prefer not to be mentally treated. Involuntary commitment laws hike federal, state, county, city and private health care costs under the strange circumstance of a patient–recipient who cannot say no.

Involuntary commitment creates an astonishing debt load on our health care system. Given a very conservative daily cost of $940 for hospitalization and treatment, each involuntary commitment costs around $16,700. With up to 1.5 million people committed yearly, and using the conservative individual figure of $16,700, the annual health care drain is almost $25 billion! And this is paying for a service that most would refuse if given the chance.

The Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo) Chapter 632 Section 300, Chapter 660 Section 290, and Chapter 632 Section 305 specify the conditions under which, and by whom, someone can be forcibly incarcerated in a mental health facility.

CCHR recommends that citizens execute a Living Will, or Letter of Protection from Psychiatric Incarceration and/or Treatment, which directs that psychiatric incarceration, hospitalization, treatment or procedures not be imposed on you.

Click here to download and read the full CCHR report Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment — A Crack In The Door Of Constitutional Freedoms.