Five More Years Of Kendra’s Law Probable

Five more years of the infamous Kendra’s Law in New York State it appears likely are on the horizon. Kendra’s Law is an involuntary outpatient commitment law some New York legislators are intent on extending. This law would have certain people under court order to follow mental health treatment plans. Almost without exception these treatment plans involve the taking of potentially brain damaging psychiatric drugs. The story behind the legislative battle over this law can be found at, Extension of Kendra’s Law Likely.

As the controversial Kendra’s Law sunsets this June, opponents and proponents of the law alike seem on the brink of a compromise –– extending the law for an additional five years rather than making it permanent now or allowing it to expire altogether.

The situation could be worse. Some people want to make the law permanent.

“I thought it should be extended indefinitely and no more sunset, but at this point I think it’s going to be extended,” [Aileen] Gunther predicted.

That a clinical label should divide citizens from their constitutionally guaranteed rights, in the interests of protecting public safety, is the concern here. ‘Mental illness’ labels, after all, don’t automatically eject people so labeled from the human species. You have to remember that people who have been labeled ‘mentally ill’, whom we would be protecting the general public from, are also members of that same public.

Economics, and the current budgetary crisis, are in part behind the reluctance to make Kendra’s law a permanent part of New York politics.

“Considering the state’s current budget crisis, this is not the time to expand services — and it is also not the time to introduce costly and unproven improvements to a law that is working,” Mental Health Commissioner Michael F. Hogan said.

Medical treatment should never be a punishment imposed by a court of law. Convicting people of the possibility of commiting a crime at some time in the future, suspending the presumption of innocense, constitutes an infringement of these same people’s right to due process.

Hopefully legislators in New York will begin to see the threat to American democracy that such legislation represents for what it actually is, and cease to vote to extend this unconstitutional law at some point in the future.

6 Responses

  1. I agree. This law should be removed. Unfortunately, I think forced outpatient commitment is going only to be extended in many parts of the world, including, unfortunately, my own country.

    • Involuntary outpatient commitment is a mixed bag. In this country, because there is no federal mandate, all a person has to do to get out of a involuntary outpatient commitment order is to skip states. Of course, doing so is the kind of drastic step that some people don’t feel they are in a position to take.

      I feel there is altogether too much involuntary inpatient commitment, and involuntary outpatient commitment has created an obstacle to doing something more about involuntary inpatient commitment. The issue here is not about outpatient versus inpatient, it’s the about fact that this treatment is involuntary, and it is therefore given despite the expressed wishes of the person being so treated.

    • It won’t be much longer that to escape from forced treatment you’d have to live some place where there is no real law and order at all.

  2. Once a jurisdiction has it they’re not going to let it go. Imagine the shrinks in a clinic telling every one of their “patients” that they no longer can be force drugged.

    The shrinks would be out there dressed as “schizos” throwing people under trains.

    • O, I have no problem imagining a state with no forced drugging. I think the state doesn’t know what it’s doing in the first place. These drugs are harmful. Psychiatry, as a profession, is in denial. Remember lobotomies. Psychiatric drugs came along, and no more lobotomy. Psychiatric drugs are just another in a long string of harmful practices. Tolerance is what is needed. Radical surgery, and sedation to oblivion, won’t remove all aberrant behaviors. Some of us are going to be thorns in these bastards sides for many ages to come.

      • I can imagine, nay predict, a million things that would happen if the law was revoked. The shrinks would straight away have to perform massive further embroidery upon their already tangled web of bullshit.

        It would probably eventually lead to the rebuilding of “asylums” where first time diagnosees are kept for life.

        I know exactly what you are saying. Things could be so much better without a Kendra Law, but the shrinks will make damn sure that it never is better, even if the law is revoked. This is the absolute heart of the matter. The reason that you blog at all. If overnight every single psych patient on Earth became as rational as Mr Spock the shrinks would do their utmost to continue business as usual.

        Whether the shrinks know it or not their function is to pander to the bastardry that is considered normal in the herd.

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