The High Court addressed this issue in Jones v. United States, 463 U.S. 354, 103 S. Ct. 3043, 77 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1983). In Jones, the accused was acquitted of a mentally ill criminal, but was committed to a mental hospital longer than his sentence if convicted. Michael Jones questioned the constitutionality of his obligation.
A 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the commitment. The court argued that punishing an acquittal for insanity was inappropriate and that, therefore, the length of the sentence that would have been imposed if the patient had been found to be mentally sound was irrelevant. Instead, the duration of the obligation must depend on the patient`s recovery. Thus, if the patient`s condition warrants further treatment, the obligation could continue, regardless of the length of the sanction that would otherwise have been imposed. Historically, until the mid-1960s, in most jurisdictions in the United States, all admissions to public psychiatric facilities and most obligations to private facilities were involuntary. Since then, there has been a shift in trends towards the abolition or substantial reduction of involuntary obligations, a trend known as deinstitutionalization. In many streams, individuals may voluntarily enlist in a psychiatric hospital and may have more rights than those who are conscripted against their will.
This practice is called voluntary commitment. The civil obligation is generally maintained if the court agrees that the patient poses a danger to themselves and/or the community, but patients cannot be detained longer than necessary for treatment and may be released after subsequent hearings. The most important book you should read is Madness in the Streets: How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Psychly Ill by Rael Jean Isaac and Virginia Armat (Free Press). It is available on Amazon. This is a necessary reading that explains the problem of involuntary treatment and/or involuntary obligation from a legal/political/social point of view. The following is an extremely basic introduction to some of the concepts you should know. Committing to a psychiatric facility against one`s will, whether to protect the public from danger or to protect the person from self-harm, is called an involuntary obligation. Certain legal procedures must be followed to ensure that the patient`s constitutional rights are not violated. The process of civil engagement in the United States began in colonial times, but it took more than 200 years for these laws and procedures to finally recognize the rights of patients (and the public). In a subsequent decision, Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S.
113, 110 pp. Ct. 975, 108 L. Ed. 2d 100 (1990), the Court also dealt with dangerousness as a justification for civil law obligations. He noted that involuntary duty procedures „protect against the detention of a person who, although mentally ill, is harmless and can safely live outside an institution.“ The placement of such a person would be unconstitutional, the court found. The obligation may also refer to an act or order issued by a court to lock a person up in a prison, prison or treatment facility. Specifically, a judge orders law enforcement officers to take an offender or patient to such places. The usual reasons for being sent to prison or a prison sentence are crime, contempt or contumacy, while the reasons for admission to other types of treatment facilities are for mental illness, developmental disabilities and/or addiction treatment.
See: Involuntary civil law obligation. Involuntary duty, civil obligation, involuntary hospitalisation or involuntary hospitalisation (Commonwealth English; see spelling differences) (also informally referred to as sectioning or sectioning in some jurisdictions such as the UK) is a legal proceeding in which a person identified as symptomatic by a qualified representative has symptoms of a serious mental disorder, is detained in a hospital psychiatric (hospitalization), where she can be treated against her will. This treatment may involve the administration of psychoactive drugs, including involuntary administration. In many jurisdictions, people diagnosed with mental disorders may also be forced to undergo treatment in the community. This is sometimes referred to as ambulatory engagement and shares legal processes with engagement. The Youngest Kendricks v. The Kansas decision allows for the unintentional involvement of some people with „mental abnormalities,“ a class that didn`t exist before the decision. Duty: An arrest warrant or order by which a court or judge orders a ministry official to place a person in prison. The commitment relates either to a new hearing or to a final commitment.
Most jurisdictions have at least one test based on how dangerous a person is to themselves or others. Some States require that other criteria closely related to dangerousness be met, such as the presence of a severe disability or inability to provide for basic human needs, or that medical or psychological treatment be essential to the well-being of the person. Since the 1980s, some States have moved considerably away from a strict standard of dangerousness for involuntary obligations. In Arizona, for example, a person who is „permanently or acutely disabled“ due to mental illness may be subject to an obligation (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-540(A) ), and in Delaware, a person who cannot make „responsible decisions“ regarding hospital care and treatment may be hired (Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 5001 ). An even broader standard has been adopted in Iowa, where the law provides that a person may be committed if he or she is likely to cause serious emotional harm to the family or others who have „no reasonable opportunity“ to avoid contact with that person (Iowa Code Ann.
§ 229.1 [West 1995]). This concern has been expressed in the norms of involuntary obligation in each U.S. state and other countries as a danger to oneself or to other standards, sometimes supplemented by the requirement that danger is imminent. In some jurisdictions, the standard of danger to oneself or others has been expanded in recent years to include criteria for requiring treatment such as „severely disabled“.  In a 5-4 decision by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court rejected arguments that a person could only be committed to a psychiatric facility if he or she had been diagnosed with a mental illness.