A few weeks ago, Indigo Red left the comment below to this thread here at Always On Watch (emphases mine):
The roots of the current problem go all the way back to the Eugenics Movement that spawned the Holocaust and Planned Parenthood.
"It is true Gov Reagan did gut funding for state mental hospitals, but was forced to do so by court decisions ruling that the mental health patients could not be confined without patient consent or due process. Previously, people could be detained and institutionalized for any number of reasons and often for no good reason.
In an attempt to find alternatives to the eugenics movement that contributed so much to the Holocaust, a federal mental health study was begun in 1955 resulting in the 1963 Mental Health Act as part of John Kennedy's New Frontier. From this came multiple court decisions emancipating the mentally ill from the vagaries of the law and the shame of families with mentally ill members. Because the decisions were Federal and states are always trying to save local money, the Federal gov't then became the funding agency of first resort while states cut back on local funding. The Federal budget was not large enough to cover all the new fiscal demands of the new found mental health gold mine limited the resources to the states. (Lesson for ObamaCare.)
While Reagan was governor (1967-75), a Federal court ruled in Jackson v. Indiana (1972) that due process required the commitment for mental health treatment also required adequate and appropriate treatment must be provided - the mentally ill could no longer be warehoused for the safety of themselves and society, they must be treated in preparation for release to the general population and several lower courts recognized the due process right of the mentally ill. In that same year, Gov Reagan signed the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act effectively doing what the O'Connor v. Donaldson ruling would do nationwide in 1975. The LPS bill had bipartisan support and was widely lauded by the left as a civil rights masterpiece. The ACLU argued for the end of forced institutionalization of harmless insane people. Ronald Reagan argued just the opposite, but was compelled by the courts to release the harmless mentally ill without any guidance on what harmless meant after hospitalization and medication. It was, in fact, assumed that the mentally ill, when returned to sanity, lucidity, and reality, would voluntarily continue their treatment and medications never wanting to go back to crazy. Boy, were the experts ever wrong.
As President, Ronald Reagan repealed the Mental Health Systems Act by signing the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 consolidating ADAMHA's treatment and rehabilitation programs into a single block grant enabling each State to administer its own allocated funds. The repeal of the community mental health legislation and the establishment of block grants, the Federal role in mental health services changed once again from funding to providing technical assistance in increasing the local providers capacity for mental health services to a population of growing mental health concerns because of the continued redefining of and addition to mental health disorders.
Once the funding responsibilities of States had been taken up by the Federal government and the States having found other uses for the money formerly used for the mentally ill, States were reluctant and loathe to finding new State funding or dropping other programs to re-fund moribund mental health programs. And now we're stuck with mentally ill people without help, without the wherewithal to request help, and a society so increasingly frightened of the mentally ill they are threatening to disarm in the face of danger and at the same time take to the streets with pitchforks and torches to chase down and slay the monsters among us. What a fine mess good intentions have left us."
AOW, I have a cousin not much younger than myself who has been mentally ill for as long as I can recall. As a child he would beat his head against walls and his family thought it was cute as did schools and doctors. Eventually after many years in and out of prison and mental hospitals, and not being able to find adequate help, he took control of his life the only way he knew how - with a screw driver in his hand, he faced two police officers in an alley who shot him 7 times. He survived, but since that time almost 30 yrs ago, he has been in prison for psychiatric care. It's where he wanted to be -- or dead. He's been diagnosed as autistic and schizophrenic and had been before such diagnoses had been possible.
As the above words by Indigo Red indicate, the law of unintended consequences has reverberating effects that can direly affect society — effects that reap the whirlwind.
Now, how do we remedy this mess? Or CAN we remedy this mess and, at the same time, safeguard individuals' rights?