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Did NYC Just Allow Medical Kidnap of the Homeless?

Did NYC Just Allow Medical Kidnap of the Homeless?

The mayor of New York City (NYC) has ordered the forced removal of mentally ill homeless people from the streets and hospitalizing them for treatment.

The move has raised criticism for both ethical and legal reasons and is seen by experts in the social sciences as doomed to fail.

On Tuesday (May 29), Mayor Eric Adams announced a “mental health crisis” in the homeless population of NYC and stated that he is directing law enforcement to be more aggressive in removing the mentally ill homeless from the streets and subways – “even if it means involuntarily hospitalizing some people who refuse care,” reported CBN News on Wednesday.

As this directive gives the authorities the right to “immediately hospitalize anyone they deem a danger to themselves or unable to care for themselves,” its implications raise questions about the basic civil rights of homeless people, including their health decisions. How is such removal and institutionalization on the grounds of mental illness not akin to medical kidnap?

C.J. Ciaramella wrote on reason (Wednesday, November 30) that this policy of Mayor Adams is very likely to face legal challenges from civil liberties groups that see such use of authority as an act of transgression on one’s basic constitutional rights.

Ciaramella’s column cites the landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court in the 1975 case O’Connor v. Donaldson that “mental illness alone is not a justification for indefinite custodial confinement.” It’s relevant to mention that New York has certain laws regarding mental health whereby judges can authorize the involuntary administration of medication or supervised psychiatric treatment for people with serious mental illness.

Yet, New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Executive Director Donna Lieberman believes that Mayor Adams’ move will likely violate federal and state laws regarding the involuntary treatment of mentally ill individuals.

The big question remains whether such an approach works in helping the homeless and the people and businesses down the streets?

Experts don’t put much faith in such measures of forced removal and hospitalization.

“Involuntary psychiatric hospitalization is not the answer,” says Jay S. Levy, author of Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness and Pretreatment Guide for Homeless Outreach & Housing First, who has over 30 years of working experience with homeless people. He adds:

“I worked in NYC during the 1980s and this was tried by Mayor Koch. It did not pass legal muster back then and it won’t now.”

Levy’s experience shows that housing the homeless is the actual and only effective treatment of their illness, both social and psychological. Instead of forced removal from the streets, Levy backs the approach of advocacy and trust-building to let the homeless move into a house and start their journey to recovery.

Sociologists Neil Gong and Alex V. Barnard pointed to the grave risks associated with forced hospitalization and treatment of mentally ill people while commenting on California’s approach to handling the homelessness crisis in the state, similar to Mayor Adams’ directive.

In an opinion piece published in Washington Post in May this year, the academicians contended that such a “court-ordered treatment is not only ineffective but can also drive people decisively away from essential services.”

Mayor Adams, on the other hand, has rejected all criticism of his approach and stated that he is willing to step into “unchartered waters” where others have been unwilling to go. He calls his approach “compassionate care” and has ordered training law enforcement and first responders to make it possible.

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  1. Bibfy

    Put them on buses to Floridasantis and Texabbotas.. It’s warmer there and they believe mental health is an important gun control measure so I am sure they can help.

    • Mack ewing

      One of your commiecrats jumped ship. Boo hoo

      • Bibfy

        Wow, it’s not even Jermaine to the thread but you just can’t hold it back, you can’t help yourself, you just gotta let it out.

        You win, we lose. Does it feel good to hurt us? You seem to enjoy it?

        I’m glad you can be happy when you put pain in a stranger.

        • Mack ewing

          It was fun

    • Nathan

      Anyone who advocates gun control should be whipped in public

      • Frank stetson

        Where did that come from Nathan, are you on the wrong website? Certainly are on the wrong page…

        Nonetheless, I do not support physical abuse for someone exercising free speech, even when it’s misplaced and as utterly stupid and devoid of Christian spirt as yours is. I do not support free speech that incites violence to others as yourr post does. I am surprised pbp allows it, seens more like an alex jones thing.

        People should not be whipped for an idea Nathan. Not in America. Try the middle east, they do that shit threre, you may like it. Take your guns, you can use them there too.

        • Nathan

          Bibfy mentioned gun control. On this page. We should stand against that as strongly as we stand against bigotry

          • Frank stetson

            Thanks Nathan, I see your point, but you should better understand what gunnies actually support for gun control measures. It’s an area where both gunnies and anti-Gunnies can basically agree. I would think you would want to agree also.

            Bibfy did mention it earlier in the manner that Republicans who support gun control measures in terms of mental health being the cure to our death by gun issues. In other words, he basically said, mental health is an important gun control. I believe Republicans and gunnies the world throughout support that sentiment. You’re suggesting that we whip people for agreeing with Republicans and Gunnies seems disingenuous to the cause and what it supports.

            But hey, feel free to do what you need to do. But if you whip someone, you should go to jail. And then they will take your guns away for sure.

  2. Antogeny

    What could possibly go wrong with this Lefist BS??? At best, you can legally hold a person deemed a danger to himself or others for 72 hours – then, they are entitled to “due process of law” before they are held longer against their will!!

    • Nathan

      A good start would be to target armed felons. My whipping comment was more humor than reality. But we live in a society where people are beaten for supporting certain politicians. So therefore I need my guns. Also thugs burned and looted and far less than 50% were prosecuted. Therefore I need my guns. Home invasion are real. Therefore I need my guns. Older people are more likely to be attacked. Therefore I need my guns. I hunt and enjoy sports shooting. Therefore I need my guns. Have you gotten it yet? Good. Let’s love each other and bring down the death rate.

      • Frank stetson

        Nathan, it’s legal for you to own guns, you do not have to rationalize it to me as media for your protection about all the terrible things that are happening in your life.

        I am not sure what your 50% number refers to in terms of protesters, however, most arrested or for fairly minor crimes, like breaking curfew, or failure to disperse. Of course, they were not prosecuted. However, thousands were for either violent crimes, burglary, or property damage. Give it a rest. I’m pretty sure these are not neighborhood you frequent.

        And if you need your gun to be protected from a politician beating person, perhaps you should just not attend political events. However, if you need to protect yourself with a gun from a good beating, so be it.

        And if you need a gun because you’re old, what could go wrong with that. I mean you’re young enough to go hunting, go, sport, shooting, whatever. Perhaps you need to have a more controlled environment.

        Nonetheless, all legal and there’s really no reason for you to whine about. Why are you must have them.

        However, suggesting physical violence to another person is really never funny. Trying to spinet, deflecting away from it, or doubling down as you actually did, it’s not funny either. As far as I can see, you said it, you own it, and you refuse to walk it back.

        Not funny.

        • Nathan

          Why should I stay away from anywhere? And what the hell is a good beating? I don’t do anything to deserve a beating, good or bad. I don’t bother people and require the same from them. Treat me good and I’ll treat you better. Treat me badly and I’ll treat you worse.

          • Franks stetson

            Again, it’s legal for you don’t want to gun and that is that. As to all the silly reasons you put up for only the gun, and all the reason that you’re so afraid you must have a gun, that’s on you. I was just reflecting my opinion on your fears.

            I am guessing you have not used it in that manner yet and therefore, based on your long life, it hasn’t been necessary. But again, if it makes you feel good, it’s legal, knock yourself out.

            But you still can’t advocate physically whipping someone just for having an idea. And you can’t deflect from it, joke about it, double down on it, and then tell us it’s OK. It was not OK. Physical threats are not funny. You were not funny. You were wrong. You are wrong..

  3. Frank stetson

    Nathan, one more time: it’s legal, it’s ok. If you feel you need to be armed to get through your day in ever-frightening America that gets more scary as you age, whatever floats you boat. I carry a swiss army knife because I am afraid of needing those little tools to tackle all those things that pop up. We all have oir needs.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Larry kuhn

      You probably carry candy for little kids