Notice they don't give any stats about outcomes, but the primary cited issue is "mental health" which is very vague and a subjective assessment.
We should not create an extra judicial system that has no checks and balances. Otherwise we will head towards medical authoritarianism which could easily be abused by those in power (psychiatrists and others) for their own personal gain.
See https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rosalindadams/intake for an example of what I mean.
The medical authoritarian system you're worried about already exists and frankly I saw no evidence of its abuse. Most psych facilities are over-enrolled and have no interest in keeping people around once they're stable enough to be released - which is a far cry from having healed or become functioning members of society.
Having personally had family members and friends in such places, I can tell you this is false. It has often been the case they are 'magically' healed and capable when the insurance money runs dry.
I don't think either anecdote is compelling, but I do think it is wrong to weigh one as greater than the other.
A single anecdote is an existence proof.
(or a lie or misunderstanding)
My experience dealing with the homeless on the streets of Seattle is they seemed to either stay the same or get worse. I never saw one person get better from a stay in the psych ward, it seems at best a place to keep them locked up for a little bit and then turf them back out on the street.
Notice how psychiatrists and psych hospitals don't really advertise much anything about "cure rates" or percentages cured. You compare that to any other field of medicine which often talks about percentages of outcomes, especially for fields like surgery, infectious diseases, oncology, etc... and you find the primary reason why I personally (and many others) do not find the field of psychiatry to offer much beyond "medicate and manage" while syphoning insurance money and government funding, and while also causing potentially horrible side effects.
But it's not especially relevant to the point I was responding to: this program, where police are replaced by healthcare professionals, primarily deals with people who lack housing or income, which makes the commenter's concern a lot less relevant to this particular discussion.
Merely extending the scope of an anecdote does not change the fact that it is an anecdote and does not provide greater power to convince.
> "Having known several friends who got committed and held against their will in psych wards when there was no good reason to, because their insurance was good, this is an issue."
This is pretty much specific to the US (in developed countries). It would be impossible in Portugal.
Basically, the only advantage of American healthcare is that if pays for innovation better than others. The world benefits from it, Americans suffer due to it. As long as they're happy, good for them.
I have no idea what fraud occurs. In either system. I know enough humans to know that some are honest and some are not. Thus if it is possible to get away with fraud odds are someone is.
It certainly creates its own set of problems, but not that one.
I don't have the numbers for psychiatric hospitalizations, but I would guess the number is higher than 70%.
Because plenty countries have private hospitals who can keep billing the govt as long as they can keep you there.
The incentives may change by country, but it is pretty common to setup wards like prisons, for practical reasons. And that can be abused, as every form of power will eventually be.
I've never heard any of this about a psychiatric ward before and he was definitely not arrested in Russia on a visit.He was also an OSS asset - and there is a more than decent chance that the Russians knew it. I do not see any way this very special case with this very special man can be used to make a statement about broader issues to do with mental health. I walk by a memorial to him near Deák ter on a regular basis and think of him often.
Officially he was arrested by the Russians for espionage in Budapest in 1945, during the war, with later reports suggesting he was actually involved in an espionage effort. He allegedly died in prison a few years later. There were claims that he was sighted in prisons and psychiatric hospitals as late as the '80s but if they're true then this certainly wasn't used as a cover, he was already claimed dead. The psychiatric ward angle doesn't really make sense in these circumstances, there's no need for a cover story when the official story already sounds like a cover, and even presumably legitimate.
The incentives might be slightly different, end results the same.
For example in Finland involuntary commitment is somewhat frequently used as an impossible-to-appeal alternative to investigative detention. You’d have to be crazy to do crimes, right?
Involuntary commitment is just inherently suspectible to abuse, I’m not sure anyone should have that power.
It always reminds to the USSR where critics where put in wardens as well, instead of arresting them.
This often veered into straight-up torture, including electric shocks and drugs that caused pain as a means to "cure" people from not believing in communism.
Meanwhile the FDA recently re-classified ECT as Category 2 "Safe and effective" devices, even though there are hundreds of studies showing they cause long term memory loss.
I'm not even sure why we still haven't reformed the FDA, but it is long overdue.
Before I became a health care worker, I spent some time at the psychiatric ward, and at the detox room (voluntarily). I liked the psychiatric ward, the staff and roommates were nice, and I made some pleasant memories with a girl in there. :)
In any case, you are typically an inconvenience and they do not want you there, especially at the detox room.
There's statistics in there, but it's quite long so I understand if most people won't read it
Of course, when you absolutely need indefinite care, the situation changes and you get our monstrous nursing home ecosystem.
While I'm sure it is in your favor, if those who are harmless are taken off the street in addition to those who are harmful overall it is a loss.
The problem of wrongful involuntary commitment (especially for insurance fraud reasons) is more rampant and widespread than one might initially guess.
Here is a good paper on it: http://wayneramsay.com/unjustified.htm
However, involuntary commitment of children (and subsequent rape too many of the girls who end up there, tragically) is a huge problem. Look up abuses of the "Baker Act" in Florida for example.
I have a friend who was involuntarily committed under the Baker act when she was in 9th grade. She was never suicidal, never threatened anyone, and was held for 2 days to evaluate her. A bully lied and claimed my friend made suicidal statements and thought it would be hilarious to tell the school administration that they were "concerned for another student". Rather than just a call to her parents and a long chat with a guidance counselor the school administration decided that clearly she was just lying and even though she denied everything and never showed any indication to any of them that she was a risk to herself or others they had her committed. The bully that lied to the school administration even went on to brag about doing it.
I think the real travesty here is that misuse is completely unchecked and the timeframe is absurd. If someone is being held against their will, without commiting a crime, why on earth is it considered fine to just hold them for days at a time before even being evaluated by a mental health professional? They already have to transport them to a mental health treatment center so why can't hospitals figure out an on call schedule for psychiatrists?
It's a farce that the standard of proof is so low supposedly in the name of safety and urgency and yet even while the situation is urgent enough to hold someone against their will it's not urgent enough to get a psychiatrist on the phone on a Sunday.
What does this have to do with the police showing up when you call 911 instead of a few social workers (who can't actually commit anyone)?
This program is far far more likely to deal with homeless people than people with insurance that can cover multiple days in a facility.
Penitentiary system is overburdened and has no interest in keeping people around once they're safe enough to be released.
Makes equal amount of sense to me.
In USSR, punitive psychiatry was the tool of choice for the government in the times of wide international information dissemination.
I don't mean to ridicule the American struggle for fixing community policing - I understand that defunding and disbanding the police comes out of a desperate situation, and I admire this kind of courage for radical changes. But it's a mistake to think that one step is a complete solution.
(I’m reading The Gulag Archipelago, and I haven’t gotten far enough yet to find out the exact procedures that were used for dealing with political dissidents via mental health charges.)
> I saw no evidence of its abuse.
Unless your EMT services is responsible for 100% of the patients that enter the psych facility, the set of patients you see is probably affected by survivorship bias. The people you see may be biased towards people with a legitimate problem severe enough for someone to call an EMT.
> Most psych facilities are over-enrolled and have no interest in keeping people around once they're stable enough to be released
About 8 years ago had an experience with a facility (in the SF Bay Area). A psych I had seen once for <5 min had me arrested and sent for a 3 day hold. The justification fabricated; a few sentences of vague nonsense. After finally seeing a doctor on day 2 for about 1 minute, he upgraded the 3 day hold into a 2 week hold at a psych facility (supposedly on the suggestion of the original psych).
The facility was over-enrolled; the staff often complained about having to deny admission due to lack of room. Everyone at the facility that wasn't a doctor thought I obviously should be released immediately. I didn't see a doctor again until day 5 (I explained the situation for q few minutes, meeting over, nothing happened), while the facility was somehow able to justify to Medi-Cal why they should pay several thousand dollars to keep me there for another day. On day 10, I guess Medi-Cal stopped paying. The doctor showed up for a 2nd meeting, insisted I take a shitty SRNI and finally let me leave.
Investing more money into this doesn't solve the societal issues which come from drug addiction, lack of economic opportunity, a failing education system, etc
I would rather see us focus on fixing schools and the economy than spend billions on these programs that have dubious outcomes
Luckily I don't live in the US where there's a high risk of being shot by police if you call for help for mental problems or getting put away because of good insurance, but if I did I would pick the police over the risk of getting medicated by overworked and poorly educated hospital-workers. The police might pass you on but that is still a risk I'd willingly take if I had to pick Police or direct to the social-system in the US. Of course I would rather take a loved one to someone I knew would give them proper care in the first place but most that call the police does not have that option or we wouldn't have this problem in the first place.
In other words, the problem isn't as black and white as you appear to make it. The solution is educated police working with a better social system, not sending social-workers to do a job they aren't educated or prepared for. If you look at much better (but still not perfect) systems you will mostly see that even when mentally sick people that are already in the hospital get violent they still call the police as it isn't their job to pacify dangerous individuals. That is the job of a well educated, not over-worked, police-force.
I'm willing to make a pretty safe bet that there are far more people in the US who have criminal records than have been committed to institutions against their will. I doubt it's even a contest, I'm seeing rough estimations online as high as 1/4 of the entire adult male population in the US.
And I'm also willing to make a pretty safe bet that the proportion of those criminal records that actually get expunged is a lot lower than you're making it sound like.
And lastly, I'm willing to make a bet that overall, the long-term effects of even a short criminal record are roughly comparable to the long-term effects of involuntary commitment. Yes, we can have a conversation about firearm privileges, that's worth talking about. But let's also not forget that the most immediate effects of a criminal record are things like loss of income, housing, and the ability to find employment, which can have an extremely significant effect on your entire future. In comparison, most employers will not ask you questions about your mental history.
And again -- you can still get involuntarily committed to an institution after you're arrested. The only difference is that now you have two problems instead of one, both a mental health record and a criminal record.
There are tens of thousands of serious sex offenders who, after serving their prison terms, are civilly committed to a prison-like treatment facility until the state decides they are safe. Only the most dangerous 2-4% of sex offenders are committed, and in some states it's rare that anyone is fully released. (Minnesota didn't fully release a single person in a two-decade period In Texas, "only one person has been released from the program on a provisional basis since it was created 16 years ago."). It's very expensive because the states do have to provide professional treatment, but apparently the states feel that the cost is worth it. In many cases being convicted of murder would be better than being civilly committed, since one would have a much better chance of eventually seeing freedom.
You're talking about a situation that is almost always going to be accompanied by jail time. Even under this program, the top 2-4% of sex offenders are going to go through the justice system and see jail time. Look at the stuff you're citing (emphasis mine):
> This type of law grants Minnesota courts the ability to deem someone an ongoing threat
> here are tens of thousands of serious sex offenders who, after serving their prison terms, are civilly committed
If anything, this seems to lend credence to the idea that having more police officers is not a deterrent for involuntary commitment. Literally all of these people were committed after being arrested and going through the justice system.
Add to that the fact that you're talking about a relatively tiny proportion of a very specific crime. Doesn't mean that it's not a problem, but as a point of comparison, there are currently ~200,000 people in the US serving lifetime sentences in prison.
So I still don't see how I'm expected to treat those numbers like they're the same. Of course treatment facilities can be problematic, but I'm not seeing numbers that make me think they're a worse problem than our current incarceration system.
And I especially don't see how the current initiative is going to affect the numbers you're talking about. Is Denver planning to stop prosecuting sex offenders? Why does the first responder being a mental health professional or a police officer matter in that instance? I mean, on both sides here it's wild to be talking about the top 2-4% of sex offenders or prison life sentences in regards to a program that is bragging in press releases about how they handled a low-level trespassing case. You're looking at a different category of crime than this program is designed to address.
Not everything is a debate to win, and I'm not your opponent.
You say that like it's a priori a bad thing?
Coming from a county where the populace was never as heavily armed as yours, and in which we did "disarm the populace" fairly severely in response to a mass shooting, your gun violence problem is certainly one of the big big downsides to "living in America" for people I know.
> ... if the government needed to turn dictatorship.
And even this "reason we all need to own guns" seems kinda pointless? Do you honestly think what passes for "a well armed militia" in the United States these days stands _any_ chance of prevailing against the American Military and Law Enforcement? Your _cops_ drive tanks!!!
I totally get that America has a level of gun ownership and a legal marketer and blackmarket for guns that we in Australia don't even comprehend, and that any attempt to change that is not only seemingly politically impossible but that even if the political will to change it existed it'd be a multi generation program to reduce the sheer number of guns in circulation. But I'm nt at all convinced by any of the arguments claiming it would be a bad thing for sociality...
Doesn't seem like it would scale, tbh. You could disarm a few troublesome people, but not "the populace".
Law enforcement doesn't know how to cure criminality, either. And it's much worse when it comes to mental illness.
> At best it knows how to medicate it and alleviate symptoms while causing very serious or deadly side effects.
Law enforcement isn't even that effective, at criminality or mental illness.
> Investing more money into this doesn't solve the societal issues which come from drug addiction, lack of economic opportunity, a failing education system, etc
Shifting resources into this from law enforcement responses to mental health issues does solve the societal issues that come from law enforcement’s egregious mishandling of mental health issues, plus saves money that can be used to deal with those other problems because it's cheaper per call handled. Also, alleviating mental health symptoms does mitigate many of those problems, which are, in many cases, direct consequences of mental health symptoms.
> I would rather see us focus on fixing schools
As if anyone knows how to do that.
> and the economy
Wasting less money on sending police to encounters where police presence is actively harmful is, among other things, fixing the economy.
No but I am sure places with more law enforcement are more lawful than places without it.
I'll also mention that rural places tend to have fewer cops and are seen as having a generally lower crime rate. (I didn't look up the numbers, but this is the stereotype).
I realize this is just a sidenote, but I just want to address this point for anyone who's struggling with problems like depression or other serious mental issues. Getting help can be a lifesaver, and sometimes medication is part of it.
Properly prescribed by a professional who knows what they're doing, medication to treat depression can in some cases literally change your life. It's not the only way to address mental issues, you absolutely should couple it with therapy. It's not for everyone. That's why a professional is involved. But stigmatizing people who take medication to help manage their problems is incredibly harmful.
Most people that get antidepressive medicine isn't heavily depressed and shouldn't get medicine at all:
>Conclusions: The magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo increases with severity of depression symptoms and may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in patients with mild or moderate symptoms. For patients with very severe depression, the benefit of medications over placebo is substantial.
>My guess is that future generations of psychologists will look back at our over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs with incredulity too, amazed at our blind enthusiasm for largely ineffective and damaging treatments, and at how such barbaric methods could become so widespread.
The problem with overmedication is when the drugs don't work, or don't work properly. A competent professional would work with you to find the drugs that work for you, not say “here, take this, not interested in hearing your symptoms”. It's usually possible to know when you've got a bad doctor, and usually possible to seek a second opinion.
Better to seek help than suffer alone.
The problem is that often medication is prescribed very quickly and virtually no supervision happens. This is a very bad combination in general, but especially if the patient is suffering from a mental illness. These drugs literally list things like suicide among their side effects and it is extremely irresponsible to prescribe them to someone and then tell them to check back in 3-6 months or so. But this represents standard practice.
The drug isn't causing suicide. It's just unfortunately taking a patient through a risky period.
Many people do not understand that anti-depressants don't work instantaneously. They take time. That is where the risk comes from.
Really? They should just keep on suffering and do what? Snap out of it by the power of their will?
> Most people that get antidepressive medicine isn't heavily depressed
And let it evolve to chronic "mild" depression and possibly more severe mental illness, instead of treating it with an off the shelf anti-depressant today..
Medication helps lots of people and it's very effective, very quickly. If someone is suffering a lot of the time they don't need to be and this narrative of "only meds when it's severe" is why so many people go undiagnosed, untreated and later develop worse conditions in which they may not have a chance of full recovery.
Treat it when it's early, meds in moderation and with supervision.
In the US in particular it seems bizarre that this discussion has descended into worry over being locked up in mental health facilities given a prison population so large it compares unfavourably to most authoritarian dictatorships.
I couldn't find an exact number in the five minutes of searching I was willing to put in, but the budget seems to be in the single digit millions, a far cry from billions.
Heck, we are still slowly discovering body parts.
The brain is one of those things we still don't know a lot about despite the seemingly broad knowledge we have. Some of the knowledge we have is fairly recent and can be thanked, in part, to modern scanning. I don't know how we can expect folks to have a definite test for this when there is so much we don't know.
Psychiatry doesn't know how to cure mental illness and oncology doesn't know how to cure cancer, but they both work a lot better than the supplement aisle.
The evidence is mounting that vitamins may actually be just as good a treatment for most people with mild depression or other similar ailments vs SSRIs and other psychiatric drugs.
SSRIs don't work better than placebos for mild to moderate depression Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18303940
Low B12 and Folic Acid are associated with Depression Study https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/026988110504889...
Vitamin D can treat seasonal depression Study https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10888476
B-12 levels are associated with ability to recover from depression Study https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/147...
Magnesium helps to handle depression Study https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...
I whole-heartedly agree with this. I was on anti-depressants at some point of my life. At that time I did something very stupid that jeopardized my life. I was lucky enough to get out of it unscathed. Although I am still traumatized by the incident.
Please be very careful taking anti-depressants.
It also depends on the medication as people have different reactions to different medications, even if they're in the same family of drugs (e.g. SSRI, SNRI, etc.). Some people will have the side effect you mentioned (e.g. suicidal ideation), but feel much better than before the medication after a few weeks. Those same people may not feel any difference on a different medication, even on the highest dosage, and never feel any improvements. Then there's a wide range of reactions in between. Unfortunately, it often takes a while to find the right medication for someone and the journey to do so is rarely pleasant.
This is one of the hardest things about psychiatric pharmacology. There's no go-to medication because you're trying to alleviate symptoms for something that you don't know the exact mechanisms involved (i.e. everyone's brain is different and a "chemical imbalance" or the cause of it in one person isn't the same as another's, even if their symptoms are the same).
With all of that said, I'd definitely recommend attempting cognitive-behavioral therapy before going to medication as a supplement or alternative to CBT, especially if the depression is mild/moderate. For those with severe depression (like me), however, they may not have the motivation/drive/confidence to consistently see a therapist. In those cases, medication might alleviate the symptoms enough for them to do so, which is what happened in my case. Although I don't continue CBT, mostly due to time constraints, I still take anti-depressants to maintain what I've climbed out of so far.
None of this even mentions those with severe, treatment-resistant depression in which the only relief they get is maybe from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The former sometimes doesn't work and the latter's effectiveness tends to range from months to weeks and dependent on specific pulse train protocols for those cases.
Since a lot of the benefits of these drugs may be the placebo effect, that would be a pretty odd thing to say since they could undermine their treatment.
Psychiatry is like a science that hasn't been invented yet. If someone is seriously depressed it may be worth a shot to try drugs but the psychiatrist will have no real clue what the drugs will do, just educated guesses based on flawed studies.
Source on this? Keep in mind that psychiatry doesn't only deal with mild to moderate depression, but some really severe disorders.
In my opinion, where you can't definitively diagnose, you are already set for failure in the cure.
Here is some context: http://wayneramsay.com/diagnosis.htm
These are all factors that lead people to poor mental health, to drug abuse, and subsequently to committing crimes (often to feed the addiction or due to poor education/limited opportunities).
These problems aren't necessarily just problems minorities experience, white communities in poverty-stricken areas of the US have exactly the same issues (See Detroit for instance). It's just that there's more poor minority communities than there are white communities.
We need to fix it for everyone, regardless of race.
So I guess that would change once the majority of minorities are Asian.
I think your focus should be socioeconomic status, not race.
tl;dr police were 25 times less likely to shoot an unarmed suspect in a simulation, if that suspect was black instead of white.
A little bit of common sense explains why. It would simply be inconceivable that the officer who shot Daniel Shaver to death would have been acquitted had Shaver been black instead of white. The kind of social backlash that an acquittal in such a case would elicit would ensure the political and judicial system punish the officer.
With that said, there's a massive caveat here: This is based on simulations
For it to be generally applicable you also need to then demonstrate that this matched real-world observed behaviour. On its own it is not at all obvious whether or not this accurately reflects anything at all.
There are many possible confounding issues here. E.g. for starters a typical excuse in shootings is that the officers claim to have feared for their safety. You then need to account for whether or not the simulation accurate trigger the same fear, otherwise someone with a racial bias in what makes them scared in "real life" could be expected to act differently in a simulation where they know they're safe.
I don't know whether that is the case or not, but there are many enough possible issues like this that a simulation only allow us to draw very limited conclusions here without a far more complicated experiment. Without understanding why.
Still, a 25 times lower likelihood of shooting a suspect if they are black in the simulation-based experiment..
That is entirely corroborated by what common sense would predict given the backlash a typical police officer would expect in the event that they shoot and kill a black suspect versus a white one.
Putting common sense aside, a 25X lower likelihood of shooting unarmed black suspects in the experiment suggests massive bias in favor of black suspects.
All it tells us in isolation is that this is how a set of people in current society acts in a simulation of that kind. It does not tell us why, and trying to draw conclusions about why without further experiments is irresponsible.
Even multiple minor/medium sized flaws in the experimental design that produce black favoritism not reflected in real world behavior wouldn't in the aggregate account for producing a 25 times exaggeration of bias.
The bias is undoubtedly there.
Why is that inconceivable? The officers in the Breonna Taylor shooting weren't even charged. At least this officer went to trial and was found not guilty by a jury of his peers.
I cannot even imagine the kind of nation-wide riots that scenario would generate as the video of the shooting, which would be attributed to racial bias, circulated on social media.
County hospitals are rife with abuse. Unjust detainments get billed to Medicaid for $$$.
Sounds like you have a story that needs to be told.
Perhaps they’re over-full because...
Seems you didn't read the linked buzzfeednews article.
If you read it you'll notice that many hospitals work fine -- but there's one particular psych facility company that abuses the system, Universal Health Services, or UHS.
Anyway yes I think / agree with you that the buzzfeednews article is ... off topic? Maybe it'd been better in its own discussion.
And sounds like a really good thing they're doing, sending health care workers instead of police
I'm not able to evaluate either side of it, but one side has a phd in the area.
It sounds like they're saying that if someone is committed to a mental institution, rehabilitation could be a bad idea because it's just as likely that they're not fit for society.
note: not agreeing with the above points, simply trying to interpret them.
I'm saying if we make unexamined assumptions about who's "fit for society" it's easy to sacrifice non-normative people on the alter of social harmony.
What is viewed as requiring rehabilitation can reflect neuroses endemic to the broader cultural context, not merely or necessarily the dysfunction of the institutionalized individual. It's a two-way mirror.
Of course this concern runs exactly contra to the "medical authoritarian" one further up. Frankly, which is it that means a successful program as the article notes shouldn't be continued?
When certain behaviors are thought worthy of institutionalization, it may reflect a narrowness of heart and mind in the majority rather than a social danger.
Increasing cop presence won't fix that problem. In multiple jurisdictions, cops can also refer you to be involuntarily committed.
So we're not creating an extra judicial system that has no checks and balances, that system already exists and cops are a part of it. We're talking about the potential benefits of removing one harmful part of the equation. If you want to also talk about the negatives of involuntary commitment and make progress in that area, that's totally worth examining as well, but it's not an argument for flooding the streets with more cops.
Getting arrested doesn't mean you can't be involuntarily committed afterwards.
Also note that in some cases, getting arrested and thrown in a holding cell can on its own be just as traumatic of an event as being held for an involuntary mental evaluation -- particularly if someone is genuinely suffering from a mental attack. And arrests don't require trials either. A sizable portion of the people in our jails have never been convicted of crimes, they're just stuck there because they can't pay cash bail.
Can you even say that with a straight face? Do you really think if these guys got sent to a robbery, they'd be all "the thief obviously needs Xanax!" instead of saying "This ain't one of ours, send a cop here please".
Cops have, for whatever reason, ended top being sent not just to criminal justice related incidents, but everything else as well, including mental health related incidents which they're manifestly untrained for and incapable of dealing with. But they "deal" in those situations anyway, in ways we're all tired of seeing from body cam footage and in the live crosses of news stories about police violence protests.
> One of these has a long history of strong checks and balances and improving itself over time
And yet "Some of those who work forces, are the same who burn crosses" is just as heavily quoted and relevant to 2021/01/06 as it was when it was written over 20 years ago... I do not agree with your claims about the relative track records of the two groups involved here.
That means they need to know enough first aid to deal with a heart attack until the EMTs get there. Likewise they should have enough psychology training to deal with the mentally ill until the experts can take over.
Just let cops figure out how to do their regular jobs right, rather than making them the first responders to an embarrassingly terrible social safety net.
The police have more complete first aid kits than the average person, including such things as an AED. They also get a bit more than your standard firstly aid course.
Sorry, it's hard to take you seriously if you make such a statement. It betrays serious ignorance of the background for why they started sending health care professionals over officers.
Seems this program has a hammer and a screw driver for nails and screws.
> Can you guess which one is now being touted as the "new solution for all our societal ills" despite having no track record of actually being able to fix any of these ills?
Hyperbolic, no? One can certainly find people shouting from the halls on any issue. Doesn’t every startup need time and opportunity to create a track record.
> primarily fueled by giant corporate lobbies who spend a lot on every single political campaign (read: Big Pharma).
I wouldn’t be surprised if police unions and big pharma are within the same order of magnitude in political lobbying.
1. You have a pretty high opinion of our police if you think that police unions, donations, and endorsements don't have effects on political campaigns, that towns don't use both police fines and public prisons as a revenue source, and that the criminal justice system can't have comparably (or even greater) negative effects as involuntary mental health interventions.
2. You have a pretty low opinion of our current medical industry if you think that it hasn't improved itself over time. Our country used to lobotomize people and commit them for being gay. Things can and do get better over time. That doesn't mean there aren't still problems, there definitely are, but even in just my lifetime, the way the medical profession approaches mental illness has gotten much, much better. Absent some kind of better data, I am skeptical of the claim that our medical industry's problems are being solved significantly slower than our (also numerous) criminal justice problems.
3. It's possible that this will lead to more medical involvement, but I would be cautious about making strong claims about how much that will be the case and what changes that will have in people's outcomes. It's important to remember that prison is really bad. As just one example, being convicted of a felony removes 13th amendment protections, which is regularly exploited for both private and state revenue -- even in public prisons! What data do we have that indicates that mental interventions will increase at a drastic rate because of this, and what data do we have that says that involuntary incarceration is worse than our current prison system?
4. Denver hasn't gotten rid of its police, it's merely changed how it's using them and how quickly they respond to problems. So it's not that the only tool is a hammer, police officers can still respond to situations. I think it's early to jump to the conclusion that the city is going to start thinking that involuntary mental interventions are the only tool at its disposal. I don't see strong data that backs that conclusion up; in fact 35% of the calls to the STAR program came from police officers. Another way of looking at the data might just as plausibly be that the city was treating police officers as its only tool, and now it's striking a better balance and realizing that arrests weren't the only way to deal with every problem. That's the kind of thing that'll get revealed one way or another as we get more data.
> despite having no track record of actually being able to fix any of these ills?
Finally, again, just an unrelated side note, but I know people who are extremely grateful to both psychological therapy and psychiatric help in managing conditions. If you're struggling with this, you don't need to do it alone. Professionals can help. The idea that the only thing a psychiatrist is ever going to do is turn you into a zombie with drugs is bullcrap. And it also ignores that non-psychiatrist interventions don't always need to involve drugs. Cognitive behavioral therapy can have amazing outcomes.
I get that you don't have a high opinion of psychologists or psychiatrists, but they do help people. I just want to make that point very clear.
I don't know about the US, but I highly doubt that these people would have the authority to involuntarily commit someone. Apart from the fact that you have yet to demonstrate that increased health workers lead to increase involuntary commitment, as if that's the only thing psychiatrists etc do.
It's also ironic that you somehow think that sending someone whose only tool is a gun (I know this is somewhat over the top, but much less so then saying involuntary commitment is the only tool of mental health professionals) is the better solution.
1. Suicide rate doesn’t “measure death from mental illness.”
2. The suicide rate isn’t “the death rate from mental illness.” (See #1)
3. What do you even mean by “we are doing a bad job”? Who is “we” there? Also, this “conclusion” you’re drawing is supported only by nonsense predicates (see #1 & #2).
4. The “mental health profession” isn’t responsible for moderating the suicide rate. Also literally every mention you make of “mental health profession” is fallacious because the suicide rate is not an actual metric for evaluating the efficacy of the “mental health profession”, so even addressing anything you’re saying about “measuring how good of a job the mental health profession is doing” would be legitimizing a nonsensical claim. This one covers how pretty much everything else you wrote here is wrong.
It seems, by failing to provide any alternative, that you're saying that it is impossible to measure the effectiveness of the mental health profession as a whole? This decline is similar to how the economics profession has concluded that it is impossible to measure the success of any economic policy vs. any other because of all the confounding factors as Paul Romer has commented on extensively. This leads to methodological poverty. You can make up whatever policy or treatment you want. It's as good as any other whether it causes people to kill themselves at a higher rate or not or leads to lower or higher economic performance. It's all the same without metrics.
I would argue that the problem is in recognizing mental illness and connecting those affected to the appropriate mental health professionals.
Shooting people. Choking them to death. Pinning them down till they freeze. I'll take my chances with mental health professionals, thanks.
But this article is about US doctors vs US cops. And US doctors murder at a far lower rate. The argument isn't that doctors are perfect. The argument is that they are better than cops.
> If you send a cop, their solutions will involve the criminal justice system (citation, fines, arrest, jail time, etc...).
The fact you list both of these out then say policing is the one with a "long history of strong checks and balances" (what does this even mean?) is appalling. It reads like authoritarian propaganda.
You're taking the classist and racist position, that force employed by agents of the state should be deployed against the poor & otherwise marginalized to prevent them from being a "burden to society." Also that employing people who are tasked with _helping_ instead of _enforcing laws_ should NOT be allowed to do that.
To be clear, you're not really making any falsifiable claims. It's just an endless appeal to emotion. "a long history of strong checks and balances and improving itself over time" is a bold claim about municipal agencies with their own regulations, city, and state laws to adhere to. Not to mention different missions, run by different organizations with different lines of reporting. Totally different cultures, etc. It's so vague but that's the beauty of it: you can make it mean whatever you want under scrutiny.
There's nothing in the article about creating a shadow mental health justice system. What they have is a van containing blankets and food, driven by two social workers.
No disrespect intended to parent posters (i appreciate them sharing their anecdotal experience), but def sobering to see that at the top, and realize "oh, this is the common view of hivemind i'm participating in"
"How are stories ranked?
The basic algorithm divides points by a power of the time since a story was submitted. Comments in threads are ranked the same way.
Other factors affecting rank include user flags, anti-abuse software, software which demotes overheated discussions, account or site weighting, and moderator action."
(I don't. This whole subthread can be dismissed by recalling that "the plural of anecdote is not data.")
Here's the actual report:
"[T]he STAR van provided transportation to 41% of its calls for service where an individual's information was recorded. Of those incidents (107), the most common locations were a shelter or homeless services (30), the walk-in crisis center (24), or a hospital (18)."
It's unclear how many of these would involve an involuntary commit, and similarly unclear how the outcome would compare to a police encounter, which often comes with its own special brand of involuntary commit. One of the report recommendations is to create a longitudinal study to assess outcomes.
We've had a program like this for years here in Eugene Oregon. It's called CAHOOTS.
One of the cornerstones of the program is it's all voluntary. There is no use of force, no dragging people off anywhere. People show up with a van and some basic medical supplies and help people. If the people don't want help and the only alternative is some form of restraint, they call the police.
They almost never end up calling the police because most people just want a little help and a patient person talking to them gets it done.
The fact that these people never themselves do anything against people's will is what makes this work so well.
I did a google search for "can a police officer commit someone to a mental ward" and this is the first result, from harvard:
This says that a police officer is also able to commit someone in most jurisdictions. Why didn't you also mention this fact?
Why is the risk of being involuntarily committed so much greater than having a cop do the same. Or a cop just throwing you in jail? The anecdotes of peoples loved ones being 'committed and only getting released when the money runs dry', seems far more preferable than their loved ones being thrown in jail and released when they can pay the bond. Or sit in jail and wait for a judge.
Or shot to death on site because the cop doesn't have (enough?) training to deal with a mental health episode without resorting to violence.
Also that we got rid of most asylums so the risk of being committed is quite low by the pigeonhole principle?
When you piss off a cop, get arrested, and are released a few days later, without any charges, you also have exactly zero recourse through those checks and balances.
When you piss off a cop, and he brutalizes you, you may get some recourse (through a lawsuit, unlikely as your case may be), but it does not serve as a deterrent to subsequent police misbehaviour. (As we have seen over the past summer.)
As an upper-middle-class office worker with flexible hours and cash to spare, even pursuing a small-claims case was a major PITA for me. Took a ton of time, effort, and money.
For those who do go to trial, the right to a lawyer is often pretty weak support. Public defenders are grossly underfunded and overworked, and there is no guarantee that they will be competent or committed to the case.
A jury of ones 'peers' is rarely the case either. Yes, they are citizens, but they are rarely of the same background, ethnicity, or social status. They are hand selected by lawyers to remove people that might be sympathetic to your plight.
I've never heard that jurors are the best and brightest among us. Often the highly educated and analytical are removed from jury pool.
Police suspects you have committed a crime, holds you in jail until trial or until you pay bail and may never end up releasing you even if you are innocent.
I've recently had an issue with an incompetent trooper (1 successful complaint and one pending) and incompetent magistrate (complaint pending). It will cost between $100 (win) and $650 (lose) to go through the legal process and defend our innocence. It's been more than 6 months too. All this is over "leash law" violation. But it's great to see both the trooper and magistrate commit civil rights violations, and have the civil rights lawyer tell you that they are violations but that the system doesn't care unless you suffer serious financial damages. So much for a justice system.
But that's a far cry from a cop being violent against someone or killing someone wrongfully. The justice system also acknowledges it cannot right every wrong, but hopefully when there's a major wrong it should be able to right it every time.
If you have a trooper lying to a judge or continuing to hold a charge against you they know is false, they should be fired.
If a magistrate doesn't know the basics of the law (like due process and dismissing with prejudice), then how can they be qualified to rule on it?
If you want to be in law enforcement, don't commit civil rights violations. Period. You might not be able to right every wrong, but once a wrong comes to light, you can very well do something about it.
> In nearly 11% of the nation’s 349 DNA exoneration cases, innocent people entered guilty pleas.
Obviously a small and biased sample group, but guilty plea ≠ guilty.
 https://innocenceproject.org/guilty-plea-campaign-announceme... (2017)
Police can arrest you and hold you against your will with no trial, for a limited period of time (e.g., 48 hours excluding Sundays and holidays is a common tule, IIRC), on the premise that it is pending charges for criminal behavior (which may or may not be filed.)
Mental health professionals (and, in many jurisdictions, law enforcement officers and others, too, can initiate this) can hold you against your will and with no trial, on the premise that it is for emergency psychiatric evaluation, for a limited time (72 hours is common.)
Further involuntary detention, in either case, requires judicial process.
I'm not seeing a particular additional danger here.
In California, this doesn't seem to be true. I got to see this in action from the sidelines. Within 24 hours of being committed, the patient will have an advocate appointed for them and within 72 hours the patient will be released unless the health team can put up justifications that pass the advocate AND then judicial scrutiny. The doctors can kick up a fuss, but 7 days is the limit before it MUST pass a judge.
I got to watch this in action, and the advocate was MUCH more aggressive on behalf of the patient than if the same person had been arrested and was relying on a public defender.
Those people will know how this all needs to work in order to do the healthy, hard, very human work required.
They know stuff, hard earned, rough miles type stuff, that is both necessary and not taught effectively in any school other than when the bell rings at the fine school of hard knocks.
In CA if you do somehow manage to maliciously commit someone, they’re held for up to 24 hours, and an independent doctor assesses them. Also, there can be civil penalties (as in the article you cite, where the victim successfully sued the hospital).
If I had to choose between the two ridiculous extremes, I’d choose the Texas model.
(just enumerating, not particularly comparing)
It’s an odd (broken?) process if the judge would ascertain the person’s mental health. Hopefully, most judges would call in professionals.
Typically a social worker is helping the petitioner figure it out.
It's horrible for everyone in the city--most of all for the homeless.
These people suffer from mental health or drug issues and need help. The status quo of "leave them to fend for themselves" is simply an unacceptable outcome.
The system launched by the DPD may not be perfect, but it's a whole lot better than what existed before. It's a huge step in the right direction.
Yeah I'm getting real sick of the stance that if something only fixes 80% of a problem and doesn't perfectly resolve every issue every person might ever encounter, it is a failure and should never be implemented.
If it is not causing more harm, and especially if there is a way to address unforeseen harm that might arise, awesome! Let's give it a go.
Because sending armed officers out to deal with any little thing that happens is demonstrably not working well right now.
I really want this phenomenon explained.
Slippery slope fallacies, concern trolling, whataboutism, pearl clutching, feinting spells, Copenhagen Effect (blame anyone who tries to help for the original problem), Alistair Cockburn's wisdom about organizational change (tldr: people really, really hate change, of any kind, for any reason).
The Copenhagen Interpretation of Ethics
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”
We’re way out of balance. Lot’s of courage, less wisdom, no serenity.
The biggest actual expense is the massive medical bills from exposure and neglect. Police and ambulance services are likely a close second, chasing around town and dealing with random mentally ill people in dire straits.
The other costs are less obvious. As homeless clutter your public spaces, your city starts to rot. Parks become open areas of blight as the homeless overwhelm them and destroy the services they offer. This means much of the money your city invests in parks and public spaces ends up going to waste. Unless you spend more money on police.
The final big expense is clean up and sanitation... unless your city doesn't clean up after homeless people in which case you just end up with actual shit in alleys on big piles of garbage on street corners.
Putting up housing isn't a perfect solution, but it certainly eliminates some significant parts of that.
Policy wise, proactive beats reactive, prevention beats treatment.
PS- I just cleaned up after an encampment. After the city cleaned. 20 used needles (mostly insulin) and dozens of other sharps, human waste, soiled diapers, everything else you can imagine. I'm just so pissed off. No one should have to live like that. Just put people in homes. Safe, clean, access to services. Even triage with microhouses along with honeybuckets and potable water would be better.
I read about that program and it sounds amazing.
Decent public housing is pretty common in Europe as well.
I forgot to mention one major cost savings for a city. It is much easier for someone housed to get a job and recover financially than a homeless person.
Have you worked with the homeless? Yes there is a lot of mental illness, but there is a large number of people who choose to live this way.
Having been homeless myself many years ago, I can tell you from experience that not having money to pay rent or anyone to take you in is the reason people "choose" to be homeless.
And once you are homeless, it's very difficult to work yourself out of it, for many reasons.
I assume you haven't considered that it's very hard to keep (or even get) a job if you have no place to bathe or store your stuff while you're working.
I grant you many are not like this and perhaps you're more knowledgable with your first hand experience. I know I personally, also from trying to offer people shelters or even free room-and-board, they don't take it. I don't know why in all cases, but many wanted to do things "their own way". I find it commendable and I respect those who choose to refuse handouts.
That's my point, they may not choose to be in that situation. However, forcefully detaining them for "mental illness" for not wanting "assistance" is a different discussion.
Horrible, as in: you can't stay here if you are a male with children. A female with children will have a curfew and need special permission if they happen to have part-time work that keeps them out after curfew. The children's father can't visit because it is technically for abused women. You can't make sure your medications are safe and you might not keep your belongings. You might be forced to go to AA meetings, church services, or to work in the thrift store. You might be turned away if you are trans or gay - I'm not sure that is supposed to happen legally, but it does nonetheless.
We should house folks, period. In actual housing. Shelters should always be a very, very temporary solution.
If you still get folks that insist on living on the street even though they have basically free housing, then surely, we can do better and create spaces for folks to live. You know, with showers and toilets available for use.
Who suggested that anyone was doing that?
In some limited sense, they may "choose" homelessness over poor shelter conditions or unaffordable housing, but that can hardly be considered a choice.
Well, if they aren't mentally ill and thus able to act rationally and it's a mass phenomenon then doesn't that point towards an underlying cause that makes it rational for a large number of people to choose homelessness?
Source: working on the streets of Seattle a couple years ago every weekend.
Nearly all of those are political issues though. Technology can help with better communications and tools for debunking falsehoods in those communications.
It might also eventually help with strong AI that's smarter and better than humans at offering a set of solutions and then letting people debate the ones that we agree are also emotionally the correct answers.
The difference here is taking away the addition of police to the incidents. No handcuffs or jail holdings, no being roughed up or killed.
Hopefully the mental health person knows how to de-escalate the situation - I think this is huge. I think the friend I mentioned above could have avoided impatient treatment if he had a qualified mental health person respond instead of the police, due to the situation around his incident/arrest.
This just isn't a good faith argument.
If the worst a health professional can do is commit you to a mental institution, it's still likely to be an improvement over being shot to death.
And nobody in the country should have the right to detain you without trial. If you really believe this I'm afraid that is quite short sighted.
I dunno, that sounds pretty high to me, regardless of how high other things are. https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793
Pretty extreme protection measures are already in place for much less common causes, e.g. fire, drowning: https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-mortalit... (though there are obvious opposites as well, e.g. opioids)
"Among men of all races, ages 25 to 29, police killings are the sixth-leading cause of death, according to a study led by Frank Edwards of Rutgers University, with a total annual mortality risk of 1.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Accidental death, a category that includes automotive accidents and drug overdoses, was the biggest cause at 76.6 deaths per 100,000, and followed by suicide (26.7), other homicides (22.0), heart disease (7.0), and cancer (6.3)."
† fun == sickening
Another way of phrasing this is, "even among the gender and age group most likely to be killed by police, people are an order of magnitude more likely to die of accidents, at the hands of non-police, or by their own hand than at the hands of a police officer."
"Police killings" by definition includes shootouts, when they were fired at fist, seriously threatened with firearms etc.
Sure, police interaction can and should be strongly looked-at and there have been much too much unwarranted deaths by police but just attributing some cause-of-death ranking to police killings without justified/unjustified contextualization is downright misleading.
> Our results show that people of color face a higher likelihood of being killed by police than do white men and women, that risk peaks in young adulthood, and that men of color face a nontrivial lifetime risk of being killed by police.
This is a problem. Whether you believe it is due to racial discrimination, societal pressures, or something else, the fact that BIPOC are being killed by police at a higher rate is a problem worth solving.
Why do you think the statistics look like this? You must have some reason for bringing it up.
>it's really not actually that big a problem, compared to say... Murders or violent crime.
It seems big enough to be "a big problem".
Im not here to go deep down the rabbit hole with you on philosophy. Im just giving you the context on the numbers.
Given the source of that data (which is law enforcement agency reports), “are blamed by law enforcement for committing” would be more accurate.
TL;DR: looking at numbers killed by police in absolute is meaningless. You also need to consider how many of these deaths occurred while the person who was killed by cops was also armed with a gun or deadly weapon. Hint: most of the people who get shot and killed by cops were trying to harm those same cops.
Qualified immunity -- qualified meaning limited. Yes it is easy to abuse and has been abused, but rest assured cops have gone to jail for murder and involuntary manslaughter.
(Also for a longer history of counter examples, see what happens to people who are criminal finaceers. Spoiler alert: nothing.)
What people fail to realize time and time again is so many of our contemporary issues come down to power struggles. It all has to do with power dynamics and how one set of grifters is vying to keep it over another set.
My answer has always been limitations. Limited powers, limited government, limited terms. But happy to hear of other realistic solutions that don't resemble an anarcharist approach.
It’s painfully obvious to me, now, after everything, that pursuing a “limited government” requires making it harder for certain groups to vote and gerrymandering. Can’t have the rabble voting in their own welfare; that means higher tax rates on top earners —- aka “getting in the way of the fReE mArKeT” —- to pay for it.
It’s the inevitable conclusion, as we are seeing in the United States.
This is not just about enforcement of laws, it's about which laws are allowed to exist in the first place, and about government procedures adhering to those laws.
To give you concrete examples:
* I don't think "the government" (broadly defined) should have the power to stick some poor kid in Riker's Island for a few years while they think about getting around to trying them on a trumped-up charge.
* I feel like there is significant value in a number of protections enshrined in the US constitution (starting with the prohibition on ex post facto laws, as a pretty major one).
* I feel that asset forfeiture is a complete travesty and should never have been allowed under any sort of "limited government" approach.
That sort of thing. Of course then we have to have some debate about which powers governments should or should not have. And revisit that every so often as the situation (society, world power balance, technology) changes. But we should revisit it in a reasonable way, where everyone is clear that we are revisiting it, instead of the government just grabbing more power for itself unilaterally, whether it's through abuse of executive orders, pretending like everything is "interstate commerce", setting up secret courts, doing parallel construction, passing unconstitutional legislation and hoping no one notices, or whatever other things various governments in the US have tried over the last century or two.
> It’s painfully obvious to me, now, after everything, that pursuing a “limited government” requires making it harder for certain groups to vote and gerrymandering.
You have been reading way too much propaganda. First of all, Gerrymandering is enjoyed by each side of our ruling class. So that invalidates the rest of your nonsensical point.
one "certain political ideology" stormed the capitol and murdered a police officer. maybe you saw it, it was led by a centaur furry right through them beating a cop to death on the steps of the capitol building. But sure, yeah, absolutely, it's the libs who are destroying america. Give me a break.
You're not a serious person. Go back to qanon or whatever new conspiracy theories you "liberatarians" are on to next.
edit: But since you're obviously struggling with a social life, I'll give you some help.
> I can't get people I am close with to even consider engaging in conversations about firmly held beliefs they have if I even remotely present myself as possibly holding a different opinion.
Yeah because you're an annoying asshole my guy. All you do is cast yourself as the victim. Gee whiz I wonder if you're a mediocre white-passing guy in tech, it's really a whole mystery. Have fun responding, I'll see you in 6 months when I check this account again.
Get your head out of your own ass.
Case in point, San Francisco, where severely mentally ill homeless people abound, many of whom who cannot look after themselves, and are left to suffer and die in the street out of respect for their civil liberties. Or those who terrorize neighborhoods for years on end, and everyone looks the other way out of respect for their civil liberties.
Civil liberties are important, but prioritizing civil liberties to an extreme, above all else, is often harmful for the individuals they’re supposedly serving.
Do you have a citation for this being a real side effect of the type of program listed here? The program as described in this piece seems novel and this article certainly makes it sound like a success.
I know engineers and programmers like to poke holes and look for edge cases that might break any potential solution, but hopefully we can allow ourselves to celebrate the victories when we see them without letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.
There's no mention of the mental health clinician and EMT in the van grabbing people, throwing them in the van, and hauling them off to be committed.
Instead they seem to be sympathetic listeners who can help with problems. Not solve, probably, and probably not permanently but anything that helps keep people from getting shot or locked up in jail is good.
You have a very "Hollywood" idea of how this stuff happens. Reality is a lot more insidious.
The service works much much better that way because when the van rolls up, there is no fight or flee reaction.
- Take into custody (Which could mean being committed)
I'll take my chances with trained health/mental health professionals who can understand "I took too much", or I'm having a mental health crisis and while I might seem "out of control" I'm really harmless. Frankly if those health professionals think I need to be committed I probably should be committed.
The police can take you into custody and commit you as well, but if you are having a mental health crisis, and can't really follow the rigid police directions more than likely it's going to end poorly, because the police will do what's necessary to take you into custody, including killing you.
When my ex attempted suicide, he'd have succeeded if he lived alone. Few people would notice my own absence for some time if I lived alone, honestly.
You should be way more concerned about police brutality then.
Now, whether that power is something that should be more regulated is a different question entirely. I believe there is an appeal process for being committed and it can go to trial, so it's not like it's entirely authoritarian. If signs of abusing this power are found, then of course, something should be done about it, but again, who was the first respondent really doesn't matter in that discussion.
EDIT: I read the linked article and holy shit, the US health system really is fucked. Honestly, when the incentives are that misaligned, I can see why you were worried (I was looking at this from a 1st world perspective; mild offense at the US intended). Maybe it would be smart to add an additional sanity check to the STAR system, but of course, until your healthcare mess is sorted, that's like putting a bandaid over a stab wound.
I work in Canada, so perhaps it's different in your country, but to be commited to a mental health facility here, a trained physician needs to "form" you, basically sign forms stating that you are a danger to society if not treated. There are strict laws surrounding this, it's not just some random decision.
Lastly, you say this will lead to some "medical authoritarianism". Programs like these, as well as the ability to commit people to mental health facilities has been around forever, yet I see no evidence of this medical authoritarianism you speak of.
"Mollath's forensic incarceration for seven years and the surrounding legal judgments became the basis of a public controversy in Bavaria and the whole of Germany when at least some underlying elements of his supposedly fabricated paranoid story about money-laundering activities at a major bank turned out to be true after all. Mollath himself had consistently claimed there was a conspiracy to have him locked up in a psychiatric care ward because of his incriminating knowledge; evidence that turned up in 2012 made his claims appear plausible."
Those people may, or may not deserve it.
E.g. California has a statute for 'mandatory relinquishment' of firearm, based on a mental health professionals findings  .
 - https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySectio...
The example given was a mentally ill woman who had issues buying food with her debit card.
If anything, it looks more like a crew of people handling nuisances committed by "regulars" as they pop up. The danger is probably they DON'T commit as much as they could, and put out fires rather than secure help. That is, they just keep enabling the nuisance calls.
I'd be worried too about overreliance on this. If the guy suddenly pulls a gun or a knife on what was just being a public nuisance, you are having more or less medical workers in danger of their lives.
Second, is there data here? I mean, the article lists 748 tracked incidents. Did any even lead to an involuntary hospital admission? Shouldn't we figure this out first?
Inventing terms like "medical authoritarianism" seems like more noise than signal, basically. Surely the fourth amendment as it stands can speak to the needs of mental health cases just as it can accused criminals.
It's a common trend in covertly authoritarian governments, but not only, to be able to remove people from the public without a fair trial: just question their sanity and have a doctor sign them in. Sometimes it isn't even the government, but someone well connected who needs someone else removed.
I've spent a total of 12 days in the US in my life, and I was pointed a gun by the police once. That's infinity percent more than in any other country I've lived visited or lived in, and I've traveled my fair share off the beaten path.
When they saw their mistake, they spouted the generic excuse that I matched a description, something that wouldn't fly in any other first world country, but is somehow accepted in the US.
Anyway, I'm white and I did nothing wrong, so I guess that officer just pointed that gun as joke with no intention to kill, right?
US police kills citizens at a rate seen only in developing countries. According to the wiki, US police kills 10 times as often per capita as the worst European offender of significant population (France), and ranks higher than places like Angola, Colombia or Rwanda, that have insanely higher crime rates. Let that sink in, and think whether the problem is race based or not.
But don't worry, Biden won, the rates will remain the same but it will no longer be an issue worth being reported in the media ;)
Not at all, demographic doesn't relate only to race but other factors, like where do you live, etc.
I don't have data to back this up, but in every country, people living in middle/high class areas have to worry much less about being stopped on the streets by the police than others.
For the rest of your comment, I totally agree with you. I don't think Biden is going to change anything significantly here, considering both his and Harris history.
My bad, too many arguments in that direction lately :)
> people living in middle/high class areas have to worry much less about being stopped on the streets by the police than others
Indeed. Another correlation I see interesting is, regardless of income, the urban/rural/suburban breakdown, with rural populations getting the short end of the stick here.
Now, in that program they could hold you for 72 hours tops. No criminal record, no arrest, just a record private to that program for maintaining patient history. No attorneys, no bail, nothing. Outreach staff were deputies well trained in deescalation and conflict resolution as well as EMT and other related first responder skills. They do not perform law enforcement and need their status to execute the program tasks only.
We used to do that with law enforcement. We don't today. Some say we should. Some say we can't. No judgement from me. That is just the current lay of the land we all live with today.
These programs offer a strong, effective, humane option and they save a lot of money.
It saw a lot of use dealing with the following:
Drugs and alcohol inebriation, violence and general inability to do self care.
Temporary mental distress.
Say one ends up there flat out hammered. Ok, you stay, until you aren't. Same for most drug scenarios.
The primary criteria for release? Not being hammered and or not being an asshole. This was the right thing to do almost every time too.
Worked great as a more serious crime prevention, and self harm reduction.
They could escalate to the court system, or a hospital, and or begin treatment at the integrated detox facility. All anyone need do was ask.
For homelessness, it typically required something be going on, like people going to die, or who were otherwise at some grave risk.
Those people could also just reach out. A ride in the van later, they can clean up, sober up, and then tap social services, or get into a shelter, temp housing, depending, or detox.
Police could DEescalate to this program as well and did so frequently.
People served by this program did not get criminal records, nor did they get a mental health record.
What they did get was help, and where it made sense, some tough love, and hard, lucid talk.
A significant percentage of the staff were former street people who had entered the program, got themselves good and then stuck around to help others. These people really matter. They have been there and are highly effective.
At the time, it was nationally recognized as a strong alternative to the typical judicial system grinder chewing lives up rather than lifting them out.
Here is something one of those people told me, and before I write it, I have in depth knowledge of the program via my spouse who worked front line outreach for many years:
Help buys time. Real help is sans judgement too. Time is what people in trouble need. When they get it, they have an opportunity to make different choices, and when they do, they are no longer people in trouble.
They become people getting out of trouble, improving. This is what they, and everyone else really need.
Nobody knows what reaches people. We only know when we continue to try some of them are reached and when we try harder, with genuine concern and zeal, more are reached.
Just reaching someone often is not enough. They fall back, need more time.
This is as good as it all gets.
Being human can really suck. Us lucky ones, who do not currently experience that suckage can count ourselves lucky and also for the help we may one day, ourselves need.
That, at the core, is what these programs and others like them are, or need to be about. When they are, they work.
Simple as that.
If a social worker is able to resolve the situation without getting the cops involved, a cop isn't going to get personally offended that someone in crisis isn't "complying" and feel the need to punish them.
That being said, totally agree. This will be and probably already is being abused.
Extra-judicial threats are something everyone should be on guard against.
I stopped reading right after the patient admits to suicidal thoughts to a therapist.
That can easily get you committed against your will, and for good reason.
What good reasons are those?
I don’t believe you
In the USSR and other 20th century states, committing people against their will to mental health asylums was a very common way of dealing with political and religious dissidents.
To address your point however, it’s still a huge step up from having an arrest record in addition to being committed.
So it's better to be suffocated on the sidewalk for the crime of selling single cigarettes?