Mediating the Gap: Thinking about Alternatives to the Current Practice of Civil Commitment

This article briefly reviews the statutes, regulations, and case law governing civil commitment in Massachusetts, considering issues of both substance and procedure. The authors first review the practice of civil commitment in Massachusetts and attempt to analyze some of the chief shortcomings of commitment from the point of view of furthering durable treatment relationships for persons with mental disorders. The process of mediation is then considered as one alternative approach to civil commitment. The authors contend that mediation might better fit the therapeutic objectives that underlie clinical participation in the civil commitment process.

Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement 20(2): 265-289, 1994.