Commentary: civil commitment statutes--40 years of circumvention

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type

Response or Comment

Medical Subject Headings

Commitment of Mentally Ill


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


There is a longstanding body of literature that describes how states' civil commitment statutes have been stretched or circumvented to accommodate institutional and systemic needs. The paper by Levitt and colleagues provides yet another example of this phenomenon: Arizona's use of its civil commitment statutes to detain unrestorable, incompetent criminal defendants for whom other provisions have not been developed. This commentary provides a brief overview of other examples of the stretching of commitment laws, providing a broader context for viewing the findings of Levitt and colleagues.

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Citation: J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. 2010;38(3):365-8.

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