Even in areas where legal representation has become available to the poor through the efforts of Legal Services programs, there is still one group that is almost universally denied representation: those confined under the various forms of civil commitment and patients in mental health institutions. Almost by definition in need of legal counsel and predictably indigent, they are faced with interpersonal and institutional barriers that further reduce their chances to obtain representation. It is the position of the National Health Law Program that Legal Services programs throughout the country should focus some of their attention towards this portion of their communities, to assess the need for legal services in the field of mental health and to develop a role in providing these services. This article is intended to stimulate an interest in the mental health field and to serve as an introduction to the related law.
Ken Wing and R. Carman,
Mental Commitment Cases of 1971 Supreme Court Term, 6 CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 659