Friday, December 28, 2012

Laura's Law

In case you missed it the PBS News Hour had an interesting piece on court ordered outpatient treatment. California has a new law allowing for court ordered outpatient psychiatric treatment for psychiatric patients thought to be dangerous. The law, which is named for a young woman who was killed by a paranoid patient, hasn't been funded. The state, in its wisdom, is leaving this to localities. So far only one county has done so. The piece gives various people an opportunity to speak for and against the law, but doesn't say anything about those few states that have such a law. From my limited experience working in a state that allows for court ordered outpatient treatment I would say that it is neither as helpful nor as harmful as as the two sides quoted in this story suggest. It would be interesting to know whether there is data on how such laws work.

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