While the nation’s fury is focused on the NRA, I recommended that we look at how civil liberties advocates had made it increasingly difficult to commit such patients involuntarily.
I did not know it then, but I know now that Connecticut is one of the few states that do not allow for involuntary commitment. The Counter Contempt blog reported that the issue had been raised in the state this year. Through the work of “civil liberties” groups it failed to win passage.
Here’s a fact you might not know – Connecticut is one of only SIX states in the U.S.that doesn’t have a type of “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) law (sometimes referred to as “involuntary outpatient treatment”). There’s no one standard for these types of laws, but (roughly speaking) these are laws that allow for people with mental illness to be forcibly treated BEFORE they commit a serious crime. Whereas previous legal standards held that the mentally ill cannot be institutionalized or medicated until they harm someone or themselves, or until they express an immediate intent to do so, AOT laws (again, roughly speaking) allow for preventative institutionalization or forced medication (I highly recommend reading the data cited in the link I provided in this paragraph, especially regarding what is known as “first episode psychosis”).
AOT laws vary state-by-state, and often bear the name of a person murdered by an untreated mentally ill person (“Kendra’s Law” in New York, “Laura’s Law” in California, etc.).
Earlier this year, Connecticut considered passing an AOT law (and a weak one, at that), and it failed, due to protests from “civil liberties” groups.
A couple of blogs have picked up the story, but it is unlikely to become an important part of the national conversation.