Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony to today’s hearing on the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. As a sociologist who has been studying LPS for the last four years, I can see the merits of what different sides of this debate will argue today—namely, that the legal framework for involuntary mental health care in the state… Continue reading Written Testimony on LPS Reform
In my previous post, I asked whether involuntary treatment actually helps people, and concluded that the evidence in general is mixed and for long-term conservatorship basically inexistent (both for its harms and its benefits, in fairness). Here, I’m considering a question closer to my own research, which is not whether involuntary treatment “works” but whether… Continue reading On LPS Reform, Fears and Hopes May Be Overstated
Current debates about reforming LPS are mostly based on the aggregation of anecdotes, clinical intuitions, and moral/legal arguments about the ethics of involuntary treatment. As a qualitative researcher, I see all of these as valuable. But it’s also worth asking: what is the evidence that involuntary treatment actually works? What follows is not a comprehensive… Continue reading Does involuntary treatment work?
If there’s one thing that’s treated as certain in debates over California’s mental health system, it’s that the state doesn’t have enough psychiatric beds. The state de-institutionalized people living in (or, perhaps, abandoned into) state hospitals more rapidly—and from a lower baseline—than the national average: Today, California has fewer psychiatric beds per capita than the… Continue reading How many psychiatric beds does(n’t) California have?
In 2018, I heard about a thing called “conservatorship,” checked google scholar and discovered there was virtually nothing scholarly written on it for decades, and launched into a slow-moving, part-time research project on it. Fast forward three years, and Britney Spears’ conservatorship (no, it’s not the same kind) is trending on twitter and a few… Continue reading Misadventures in ‘Public’ Sociology
In 2017, Republicans had a chance to “repeal and replace” Obamacare and quickly realized that they were going to have to replace it with either a) something terrible or b) something that looked a lot like Obamacare. In 2021, some advocates are talking about repealing and replacing the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act—the “Magna Carta” for the mentally… Continue reading Repeal and Replace LPS?
Thanks to a wave of recent publicity, the “Free Britney Spears” movement is creating momentum to free some of the 1.3 million Americans under legal guardianship. Guardianships—or “conservatorships” in California—allow a court to designate a third party to control someone’s finances, make medical decisions on their behalf, and decide where they live; the ACLU calls the “greatest deprivation of… Continue reading Free Britney? Better to Reform Conservatorship for Everyone.
NYU just gave our students 48 hours to clear out of the dorms and head “home” (with a “high bar” for “exceptions”) and I, somehow, decided this was the right time to send out an e-mail laying out my plans for the rest of the semester. Perhaps naively, I told my students that my goal… Continue reading Teaching in the Time of Corona
The debate over SB 1045 could use more research and data beyond a few much-cited statistics (like the number of people leaving PES without a referral or the lack of spots in intensive case management). This brief is based on research conducted over 18 months on long-term care and conservatorship in California. With a group… Continue reading Brief on SB 1045
Thank god for scientology. Or, more specifically, the “Commission des Citoyens pour les Droits de l’Hommes,” a front organization for the church dedicated to denouncing the “human rights violations” of French psychiatry. Their broad-brush condemnation of medication is probably unhelpful. But they are, as far as I can tell, the only group that has put… Continue reading The Shame(lessness) of the States