Title

Humane forensic practice serves social justice

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

12-1-2018

Journal

Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

Volume

46

Issue

4

DOI

10.29158/JAAPL.003796-18

Abstract

© 2018, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. All rights reserved. In response to a call for revision of the current procedures for involuntary treatment in Massachusetts, this commentary explores the ethics basis for such institutional reform. In the decades since the landmark Rogers v. Commissioner decision of 1983, the ethics foundation for forensic psychiatry has evolved from a purist approach that prioritized legal values above therapeutic ones. Building on systemic approaches by Gutheil et al. and Ciccone and Clements, Candilis and Martinez, for example, have argued that a robust professional ethic requires moving beyond the strict role theory of the adversarial system to consider broader approaches that integrate multiple perspectives: the ultimate goal is protection of vulnerable people and ideas. In this commentary, we suggest that the current system for involuntary treatment does not protect the vulnerable people it ought to serve, failing the neglected goal of social justice.

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