Friday, March 13, 2015

The Degree of "Force"

There's a discussion going on within Hessen (my local German state) over mentally ill people.  It's a discussion that involves the authorities, the political folks, the medical establishment, and the court system.

How much 'force' should the court have in protecting mentally ill individuals....who might bring harm to themselves or to others?

This discussion centers around a bill being studied by the Hessen government, for law purposes.  Hessen absolutely wants some type of regulation for this type of situation.  The push reason?  The German Constitutional Court (their version of the Supreme Court) deemed a 2011 law with two German states on their method of taking control of crazy people with violent tendencies to be wrong and crossing the line.

The chief problem so far in this discussion?  Doctors aren't exactly onboard with the state agenda.  Forced measures are seen by doctors as only for a last resort type situation.  You'd have to step through various points, to reach this forced-point.

A guy could walk around Frankfurt on an average day and find a dozen people who freely walk the streets and are mentally unfit (a danger to themselves or others).  The odds currently of the guy getting picked up and put into a facility?  Zero.  Basically....the guy has to go and hurt someone.....then the authorities act on that episode to try first for regular prison.  Once the medical establishment steps in (they wouldn't do it when he was crazy and had yet to harm anyone)....they will vouch 'yes'.....the guy is crazy and go for a mental institute instead.

How many Germans ought to be in facility?  No one really says.  It might be 20,000 might be 100,000 individuals.  You just don't know.  The primary focus here on this discussion is how much 'force' will be put into the next law and how effective it might be at saving people.  

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