Mental Health Law: Major Issues (Perspectives in Law & by David B. Wexler

By David B. Wexler

THE center OF psychological well-being legislations A musty dossier in Arizona's Greenlee County Courthouse finds that on January 22, 1912, almost immediately ahead of Arizona turned a nation, a 19-year-old Mexican-American girl dwelling in Morenci was once taken into custody and positioned within the county detention center via a deputy sheriff who, that very same day, filed with the Greenlee County Probate courtroom the next devote­ ment petition: Have recognized lady approximately three hundred and sixty five days. final summer-July or Aug. 19- started to behave irrational. Has been lower than remedy of physicians earlier four months. They known as me this A.M. and advised me they have been not able to regard her successfully-that she is loopy and that i needs to arrest her. The proposed sufferer used to be it seems that tested tomorrow through physicians, who duly accomplished the necessary clinical questionnaire. as well as declaring that the patient's actual healthiness used to be solid, that she was once "cleanly" in her own behavior, that she didn't use liquor, tobacco, or medicinal drugs, and that neither she nor any of her kin had ever been mentally in poor health or hospitalized long ago, the medical professionals indexed the persist with­ ing info on these parts of the shape dedicated to psychological ailment and dangerousness: Dangerousness: No threats or makes an attempt to dedicate suicide or homicide. Is of a really chuffed temperament. tends to chuckle and sing. proof indicating madness: She desired to dance. so much of dialog was once particularly rational.

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Apart from the remotely related area of criminal liability of parents for failure to control their children,53 the one exception, present in some of the juvenile court acts, empowers a juvenile court, under certain circumstances, to issue an order regulating a parent or guardian, and requiring him or her to perform, or to refrain from performing, certain acts. 54 Conceivably, such authority could be invoked to encourage or compel a parent to help mold appropriate behavior in his or her child by requiring the parent to dispense certain reinforcers contingent on proper behavior by the juvenile.

The little we do know about the area is interesting indeed. We know, for instance, that former mental patients who present themselves to prospective employers as having been hospitalized because of "problems in living" receive a far better response than those who present themselves as having had "mental problems. "76 The two labels, in fact, yield completely different lines of inquiry on the part of the prospective employers. 77 We know, too, that many individuals strenuously resist therapeutic labels.

The traditional position has been expressed as follows: Addiction itself, then, is not grounds for benevolent commitment. Nor, a fortiori, is an imminent danger of addiction resulting from the repeated use of narcotics. 157 Narcotics Abuse. It is arguable, however, along two related but distinct lines of thought, both of which are admittedly somewhat unconventional, that the parens patriae power could legitimately be extended to reach the earlier stage of narcotics abuse and that paternalistic jurisdiction could more appropriately be exercised then, rather than after addiction has taken hold.

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