Coercion Not Care: California’s New and Misguided Attempt To Address Mental Illness Through Coerced Treatment

Brian Dimmick

The California CARE Court program makes it easier to institutionalize and put under state control people who are perceived to be mentally ill. Under this new system, a judge can order treatment and medication with the threat of conservatorship and institutionalization to coerce compliance. This session will discuss California’s new CARE Courts and the dangers it presents as precedent. We will review the new law and the problems inherent in its goals, methods and implementation. We will then have a group discussion about the risk that models like CARE courts may spread to other states, and strategies to challenge the assumptions and narratives that support these efforts.