Chapter

Civil Commitment and Involuntary Hospitalization of the Mentally Ill

Forensic Psychology

II. FORENSIC EVALUATIONS IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

  1. Craig R. Lareau JD, PhD, ABPP

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop211014

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Lareau, C. R. 2012. Civil Commitment and Involuntary Hospitalization of the Mentally Ill. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 11:II:14.

Author Information

  1. Patton State Hospital, Department of Psychology, Patton, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

Abstract

The involuntary confinement of persons with mental illnesses involves balancing the rights of the individual hospitalized with that person's well-being and the safety of society. This chapter reviews the historical development of civil commitment and other types of involuntary hospitalization, and highlights the forensic evaluation issues that arise in these contexts. First, the background and legal developments that have shaped civil commitment are discussed, highlighting the increased constitutional protections provided individuals in the latter third of the 20th century. Then, the legal foundations for involuntary hospitalization in the criminal justice system are discussed, focusing on persons adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity, prison inmates and parolees, and defendants adjudicated incompetent to stand trial. After reviewing the legal developments in civil commitment and involuntary hospitalization, this chapter reviews the evaluative issues most common to the mental health professionals who practice in these contexts.

Keywords:

  • civil commitment;
  • involuntary hospitalization;
  • civil rights;
  • mental illness;
  • dangerousness