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January 18, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

The Rights of the Mentally Ill
Last Featured: 1/7/2008

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

State laws permit the involuntary commitment of people suffering from mental illness if they are a danger to themselves or others. But how do these commitment laws work in practice? Do laws aimed at protecting patients' rights prevent people from getting the help they need? Are they violating their civil liberties? The law and the mentally ill, this week on Justice Talking.

A Father's Story
Journalist Pete Earley joins host Margot Adler to discuss his struggle with his son's mental illness and his investigation into America's mental health system.

Pete Earley is the author of the Pulitizer Prize-nominated book Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness. His other books include "The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison," "Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring," and "Circumstantial Evidence." He is a former reporter for The Washington Post.

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Debate: Involuntary Treatment Laws
Activist and lawyer Jonathan Stanley and civil rights attorney Michael Allen join host Margot Adler to debate involuntary treatment laws.

Jonathan Stanley is assistant director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illnesses. Since the onset of his bipolar disorder, Stanley graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and Quinnippiac College School of Law in Connecticut and has been a practicing attorney. In 2005, he was honored with the Anchor Achievement Award for Leadership and Excellence in Mental Health Advocacy.

Michael Allen is counsel to the civil rights law firm of Relman & Dane, PLLC where his practice focuses on litigation under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. From 1995 to 2006 he was senior staff attorney and director of the fair housing program at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Michael has lobbied, written, lectured and consulted widely on civil rights and mental health issues, including involuntary treatment laws.

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Living with Mental Illness: Part I
Law and behavioral sciences professor Elyn Saks shares her experience with forced treatment.

Elyn Saks is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. She is a research clinical associate at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. Her memoir The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness has just been published.

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Child Custody Relinquishment
Marie, a mother in Ohio, talks about having to give up custody of her son in order to get adequate treatment for his mental illness, and Darcy Gruttadaro of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins host Margot Adler to discuss the practice of child custody relinquishment and recent legislative efforts to help families facing this dilemma.

Darcy E. Gruttadaro is the director of the NAMI National Child & Adolescent Action Center, where she focuses on helping to reform the children’s mental health system. Before joining NAMI, Ms. Gruttadaro worked as an independent legal advisor and policy analyst for the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association and other healthcare and advocacy organizations. She has worked extensively on the issues of state mental health parity laws and mandated minimum mental health benefit laws.

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Living with Mental Illness: Part II
Professor Elyn Saks returns to talk about her experience with schizophrenia and how she has managed to lead a productive life while dealing with her mental illness.

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Listen to an extended interview with Elyn Saks:
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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
Involuntary Treatment Laws - State by State
Kendra's Law
O'Connor v. Donaldson
Mental Health America
National Institute of Mental Health
President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
American Psychiatric Association
Government Accounting Office - Child Custody Relinquishment (Acrobat PDF file)
American Psychological Association
The Keeping Families Together Act
I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help
by Xavier Amador
Refusing Care: Forced Treatment and the Rights of the Mentally Ill
by Elyn R. Sacks
When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness
by Rebecca Woolis
The Law and Infectious Disease
Is There a Right to Health Care?
Have Health Officials Become the Diet Police?