[ExI] A Small Request [was Re: Impressive book: Farewell toAlms]

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 7 22:52:41 UTC 2008

On 08/02/2008, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> Ja, but saying it that way makes it sound like a court decision was
> something over which Reagan had influence, analogous to saying the Miami
> Dolphins did well under Nixon (as opposed to Don Shula.)  The courts decided
> that those "let out" were being illegally held in mental institutions
> against their will.  I agree most would have been better off staying, and
> some did.  But assuming they had committed no actual crime, it is their
> choice to make, even if mentally ill.

Deinstitutionalisation of the mentally ill around the world, starting
in the 1960's and 1970's, involved governments deciding to close down
long term psychiatric beds. The stated rationale was that the mentally
ill would be better off being looked after in the community unless
they absolutely had to be in hospital. But in many cases, it was also
a cynical cost-cutting exercise.

I don't know of cases where deinstitutionalisation was to any great
extent driven by the courts deciding that patients were being held
illegally. However, legislation relating to mental illness was changed
to make it harder to detain people for long periods, facilitating the
closing of the institutions.

Stathis Papaioannou

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