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Back to the Asylum : The Future of Mental Health Law and Policy in the United States - John Q. LaFond

Back to the Asylum

The Future of Mental Health Law and Policy in the United States

Hardcover

Published: 18th June 1992
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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 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 more difficult for mentally ill offenders to escape criminal blame and far easier to put disturbed citizens into hospitals against their will. Back to the Asylum accurately describes how this abrupt shift from protecting individual civil 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 a provocative 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.

"The authors, both national experts, one in law and the other in public health, offer a stimulating analysis of the history, societal value changes, and law reforms that affect how we view and care for the mentally ill. Very useful section with notes; comprehensive bibliography. . . . clear and insightful style . . . " --Choice "A worthwhile book. . . . extensively annotated and, including notes, bibliography, and an effective index, there are almost a hundred pages for the serious reader to research. This is one of the more interesting books on the subject and is valuable both for its provocative style and for the wealth of data on related issues during the past 30 years. I recommend it." --New England Journal of Medicine "Describe[s] and analyze[s] the shifts in the law concerning commitment, the insanity defense, and criminal responsibility in an interesting and, indeed, provocative manner." --American Journal of Psychiatry "A thoughtful interpretation of our national confusion regarding the severely mentally ill, the criminally insane, the insanity defense, and involuntary commitment. . . . weaves both social science and legal perspectives throughout and should appeal to a broad audience as a result." --Michael S. Pollak, Contemporary Psychology "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 context for 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

Introduction: Madness and Responsibility 1: The Pendulum of Social Movement 2: Mental Illness and Criminal Responsibility 3: Rethinking the Insanity Defense in the Neoconservative Era 4: The Fate of the Insane Offender in the Neoconservative Era 5: The Liberal Era of Involuntary Commitment 6: The Neoconservative Era of Civil Commitment 7: The Road Back 8: Does Legal Reform Make a Difference? 9: Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Future of Mental Health Law and Policy References Index

ISBN: 9780195055207
ISBN-10: 0195055209
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 18th June 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.1  x 3.6
Weight (kg): 0.61