Cover image for The rights of people with mental disabilities : the authoritative ACLU guide to the rights of people with mental illness and mental retardation
Title:
The rights of people with mental disabilities : the authoritative ACLU guide to the rights of people with mental illness and mental retardation
Author:
Levy, Robert M. (Robert Morris)
Publication Information:
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, [1996]

©1996
Physical Description:
x, 370 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"A completely revised and updated edition of The rights of mental patients and The rights of mentally retarded persons."
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1520 Lexile.
ISBN:
9780809319893

9780809319909
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In this completely revised and updated ACLU handbook, Levy and Rubenstein use a simple question-and-answer format to clearly and concisely explain the rights of people with mental disabilities.

People with mental disabilities, whether with mental illness or mental retardation, have endured a long history of degradation, stigma, fear, and even hatred. In the 1920s, they were considered a "blight on mankind." Government publications described people with mental retardation, for example, as a "parasitic, predatory class" and a "danger to the race." Writing for the Supreme Court about whether society had the right to sterilize a woman based on the allegation that she was mentally retarded, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes described people with mental retardation as a "menace" who "sap the strength of the state It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind." Holmes concluded, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Massive changes in attitude and in legislation have occurred since that infamous Holmes dictum. The struggle has been arduous and certainly is not over but progress has been made. The movement to establish and protect the rights of people with mental disabilities has entailed an effort to gain fair and equal treatment and to foster the respect and dignity every human being deserves.

Levy and Rubenstein here address the recent development of a self-advocacy movement among mentally disabled persons and the corresponding new concepts in the design and provision of services for them."


Summary

In this completely revised and updated ACLU handbook, Levy and Rubenstein use a simple question-and-answer format to clearly and concisely explain the rights of people with mental disabilities.

People with mental disabilities, whether with mental illness or mental retardation, have endured a long history of degradation, stigma, fear, and even hatred. In the 1920s, they were considered a "blight on mankind." Government publications described people with mental retardation, for example, as a "parasitic, predatory class" and a "danger to the race." Writing for the Supreme Court about whether society had the right to sterilize a woman based on the allegation that she was mentally retarded, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes described people with mental retardation as a "menace" who "sap the strength of the state It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind." Holmes concluded, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Massive changes in attitude and in legislation have occurred since that infamous Holmes dictum. The struggle has been arduous and certainly is not over but progress has been made. The movement to establish and protect the rights of people with mental disabilities has entailed an effort to gain fair and equal treatment and to foster the respect and dignity every human being deserves.

Levy and Rubenstein here address the recent development of a self-advocacy movement among mentally disabled persons and the corresponding new concepts in the design and provision of services for them."


Author Notes

Robert M. Levy is a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York. The former senior staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union, he is an adjunct professor of law at Columbia, New York University, and Brooklyn Law Schools, where he teaches courses in mental disability law.

Leonard S. Rubenstein is the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in the Public Interest Law Scholars Program.


Robert M. Levy is a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District of New York. The former senior staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union, he is an adjunct professor of law at Columbia, New York University, and Brooklyn Law Schools, where he teaches courses in mental disability law.

Leonard S. Rubenstein is the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in the Public Interest Law Scholars Program.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Antecedents and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
I Introductionp. 1
II Standards for Involuntary Commitmentp. 15
III Procedures for Admission and Releasep. 63
IV Personal Autonomy, Informed Consent, and the Right to Refuse Treatmentp. 102
V The Right to Be Free from Discriminationp. 152
VI The Right to Treatment and Servicesp. 205
VII Rights in Everyday Life in Institutions and the Communityp. 284
VIII The Legal Systemp. 332
Appendix A Rights of Institutionalized People Underp. 341
Appendix B Resourcesp. 358