Tag: Kendra’s Law
When I heard this morning that DJ Jaffe was dead my face went through its own mutation; a moment of surprise and wonderment followed by swift elation, and then, very quickly and now for so many hours afterward, an enraged, frustrated, quick-breathed grimace.
Scapegoating is an ancient human practice that probably dates from the time the first human beings decided to circle their huts -- what we fondly term the dawn of civilization. When things got tense in the compound, penalties got handed out to one or more individuals or families, those usually at the low end of the pole, the politically powerless or vulnerable.
As embodied in the U.S. Constitution, all levels of government have two types of power which enables them to make and enforce laws : police power, which empowers them to protect the individuals who live within their jurisdictions, and what is deemed parental power, formally parens patriae, which allows government to protect those individuals who can’t protect themselves.
This article is about coercion in its various forms – that which is direct, unequivocal, almost thuggish, and that which is more subtle, usually masked as well-meaning, referred to by David Oaks as “velvet gloved.” The Tolstoy quote above, which was sent to me by a friend and colleague, Diana Gonzalez, aptly sums this up. This article is also about the upcoming struggle over New York’s involuntary outpatient commitment law, Kendra’s Law, and which of the principal stakeholders of New York’s public mental health system -- professionals, providers, family members, bureaucrats and politicians, peer/survivors and their advocates – will line up for, and which against.
New York State’s out-patient commitment program, termed Assisted Out-Patient Treatment (AOT), was instituted in 1999 to protect the general public from treatment non-compliant and...