Legislating social control of the mentally ill in California

Am J Psychiatry. 1981 Mar;138(3):334-9. doi: 10.1176/ajp.138.3.334.


The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act in California has been acclaimed for protecting the civil rights of the mentally ill and curbing unnecessary involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. Its passage, however, has not prevented an increase in the rate of involuntary admissions to state hospitals and a marked decrease in the rate of voluntary admissions. This has greatly changed the functions and problems of state hospitals. In local as well as state hospitals large numbers of people continue to become involuntary psychiatric patients. In many cases this results from gaps between the law and its implementation. It appears that professionals, the courts, families, and society generally feel a continuing need for social control of the mentally ill.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Civil Rights / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Community Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Forensic Psychiatry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, State / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mentally Ill Persons*
  • Patient Advocacy