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The Right to Treatment - An Enchanting Legal Fiction?, 36 University of Chicago Law Review 755 (1969)


The involuntary confinement of the "mentally ill" creates disquieting tensions for a society which in other ways of life values the liberty of the individual. Opposing wishes to neglect and to care, to protect and to abandon can be identified in involuntary commitment proceedings; therefore, no conflict-free resolution of the problems inherent in such deprivations of liberty is possible. Recently, in order to mitigate the deprivations suffered, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals in Rouse v. Cameron has invoked the principle that individuals so confined have an enforceable "right to treatment." Some of the possible consequences of this "right," however, bring into sharper focus the uneasiness about current practices of involuntary commitment.

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