The states have traditionally exercised broad power to commit the mentally ill. Civil commitment of such persons has generally been justified under two premises. First is the concept of parenspatriaewhich justifies the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill for their care and treatment or protection from harm. Second is the state's police power under which it may safeguard the public health, safety, welfare and morals. The substantive and procedural limitations upon this power may vary drastically from state to state. Despite the activity of the states in this area, no constitutional mandate exists requiring a state to provide for the mentally ill.
Constitutional Law- Confinement of Nondangerous Mentally Ill Capable Of Surviving Safely in Freedom Held to Violate Patient's Right to "Liberty",
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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