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In addition to limiting the circumstances under which a person can be committed, constitutional due process also requires that people who are involuntarily Commitment Laws Violate Rights 35 Under most circumstances, people can only be jailed for past actions, but during World War II many Japanese-Americans were detained because they were thought to be a threat. Today, a person with mental illness can be held in a locked facility if a judge determines that the person poses a threat to others. committed to treatment receive a hearing before a judge.

And that patient’s These restrictions can be especially doctor be allowed to make decisions that significant in psychiatric care. Many affect that patient’s managed care companies, for example, health care? limit the number of visits a person can make to a psychiatrist in a year, limit the length of the visits to 15 minutes rather than the typical hour, and dictate which medications a doctor can or 44 Doctors, Hospitals, and Family Members Need More Control 45 cannot prescribe. Doctors and citizens have both fought for laws that would eliminate these restrictions, but opponents say such restrictions are needed to control skyrocketing health care costs.

Rights on” — implying that laws restricting What special dangers involuntary care cause people who are might there be in unaware that they could benefit from treatsuch violence? ment to die from neglect. One California police officer asked USA Today, “Has the pendulum swung so far that people have the right to die from some disease? ”2 46 MENTAL HEALTH REFORM Like restrictive commitment laws, many other laws that some people view as reforms in mental health rights have caused other people to wonder whether the United States has gone too far in protecting individual rights.

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