Advocate, Vol. 37 No. 2 (Spring/Summer 2003), p. 25

Abstract

Never make predictions, especially about the future. But in civil commitments, courts predict future behavior all the time. Judicial action here has severe results for the individual: deprivation of liberty, potentially unwanted and intrusive treatment, and the stigma of mental illness. Judicial inaction can also do harm: erroneous release can lead to injury of the person or others. Resolving these risks requires courts to find the person poses a danger to him/herself or others because of a mental illness.