ACLU Questions Involuntary Commitment Changes
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers are set to consider whether to change the state procedure for hospitalizing people involuntarily for mental health treatment.
Rep. Keith Gingery is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The Jackson Republican says a bill to address hospitalization of people who could pose a danger to themselves or others is critically important.
Current state law requires people hospitalized involuntarily to be evaluated within 24 hours. If they're held longer, they're entitled to a judicial hearing within 72 hours excluding weekends and holidays.
The Joint Judiciary Committee has endorsed legislation to require faster initial examinations, followed possibly by a later legal hearing on involuntary hospitalization.
Linda Burt is executive director of the ACLU in Wyoming. She says she's concerned the committee's proposal could result in unconstitutionally long detentions.