Title

Law & Psychiatry: Florida's Outpatient Commitment Law: A Lesson in Failed Reform?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

An involuntary outpatient commitment law became effective in Florida in January 2005. However, only 71 orders for outpatient commitment have been issued in three years, even though during that period 41,997 adults had two or more 72-hour involuntary emergency examinations under Florida’s civil commitment law. This column describes the criteria for outpatient commitment in the Florida statute and discusses possible reasons for its low rate of use, including additional statutory criteria that make filing a petition for outpatient commitment difficult, lack of community treatment resources, and lack of enforcement mechanisms. (Psychiatric Services 59:21–23, 2008) law became effective in Florida in January 2005. However, only 71 orders for outpatient commitment have been issued in three years, even though during that period 41,997 adults had two or more 72-hour involuntary emergency examinations under Florida’s civil commitment law. This column describes the criteria for outpatient commitment in the Florida statute and discusses possible reasons for its low rate of use, including additional statutory criteria that make filing a petition for outpatient commitment difficult, lack of community treatment resources, and lack of enforcement mechanisms.