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PSY 624 1_2 Short Paper_Civil Commitment.docx- Snhu

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PSY 624 1_2 Short Paper_Civil Commitment.docx- Snhu

Civil commitment laws have been modified over time to better address a patient’s autonomy regarding involuntary psychiatric treatment. Forensic psychologists face ethical conflict as involuntary psychiatric treatment warrants two ethical principles into dispute: beneficence and autonomy (Arneson, 2004). Autonomy focuses on the right of making independent decisions,while beneficence refers to the moral obligation of acting in other’s benefit, preventing or removing possible harms (Arneson, 2004). Constitutional law, in relation to mental health, states that “a state cannot constitutionally confine without more, a non-dangerous individual adjudged to be mentally ill (Fields, 1975).” The case of O’ Connor v. Donaldson was the first case to reach the Supreme Court regarding right to treatment (Fields, 1975).

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PSY 624 1_2 Short Paper_Civil Commitment.docx- Snhu

Civil commitment laws have been modified over time to better address a patient’s autonomy regarding involuntary psychiatric treatment. Forensic psychologists face ethical conflict as involuntary psychiatric treatment warrants two ethical principles into dispute: beneficence and autonomy (Arneson, 2004). Autonomy focuses on the right of making independent decisions,while beneficence refers to the moral obligation of acting in other’s benefit, preventing or removing possible harms (Arneson, 2004). Constitutional law, in relation to mental health, states that “a state cannot constitutionally confine without more, a non-dangerous individual adjudged to be mentally ill (Fields, 1975).” The case of O’ Connor v. Donaldson was the first case to reach the Supreme Court regarding right to treatment (Fields, 1975). While civil commitment, or involuntary commitment, used to be fairly common decade sago, some landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases have changed this dramatically over the years.

PSY 624 1_2 Short Paper_Civil Commitment.docx- Snhu

These changes were long overdue as large quantities of people with both mental disabilities and mental illnesses were being locked away from society and being denied their basic human rights,even while receiving little to no treatment. A large majority of these people were in fact no harm to themselves or the rest of society. The psychology world has made colossal strides in this department and eliminated several ignorant policies and state laws by incorporating the findings of these major court cases.Arguably one of the most impactful cases for civil commitment was O’Connor v.Donaldson, 1975. In this case, Kenneth Donaldson was involuntary committed to a Florida state hospital after a petition from his father was filed and a short hearing before a local county judge approved it following then Florida statutory provisions. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by staff at Florida State Hospital. Initially, he was under the allusion he would beat the hospital for only a few weeks per the county judge he had previously seen; however,Donaldson ended up being committed for a total of 15 years against his will.

PSY 624 1_2 Short Paper_Civil Commitment.docx- Snhu

 

 

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