Friday, April 25, 2008

Reform in Idaho Makes State’s Commitment Law Among the Nation’s Best

After sweeping through the legislature without the trace of a single nay vote, S.B. 1426 was signed into law by Governor Otter on April 1! The bill improves Idaho’s commitment process and standard and addresses some of the deficiencies in the current law.

S.B. 1426 provides assisted outpatient treatment as an option at all commitment hearings in the state. Assisted outpatient treatment is a less restrictive, less expensive treatment alternative for people who need intervention but do not require inpatient hospitalization.

The new law substantially broadens the definitions of “likely to injure himself or others,” and “gravely disabled,” which are now the eligibility criteria for court-ordered placement in both inpatient and outpatient treatment. The reform also allows courts the option of ordering individuals in crisis to receive outpatient treatment rather than releasing those in need of treatment into the community to await another crisis.
S.B. 1426 takes effect on July 1, 2008.