Involuntary Interventions Policy

Working to end involutary treatment so that people with disabilities are free to make personal decisions about their lives.

Outside the courtroom, CPR is involved in a number of policy initiatives to address civil commitment, outpatient commitment, involuntary psychiatric medication, restraint, seclusion, the use of aversive procedures, and other forms of punishment.  These include:

  • Advocating for reform of hospital emergency rooms’ response to patients with mental illness. Former CPR attorney, Susan Stefan, authored a book on this issue;
  • Drafting legislation and supporting reform of the involuntary commitment system in Massachusetts;
  • Training attorneys who represent clients in civil commitment proceeding, including writing articles and practice manuals;
  • Helping draft and supporting statutory and regulatory reform of the use of restraint and seclusion in Massachusetts and other states;
  • Joining with people with lived experience to oppose involuntary outpatient commitment  legislation in Massachusetts;
  • Publishing law review articles and other materials opposing outpatient commitment;
  • Promoting the use of advanced directives as a way to direct treatment through advocacy, education and training, articles in law journals and the popular press;
  • Joining with other advocates and clients in in an ongoing effort to transfer control of Massachusetts’ Bridgewater State Hospital from the Department of Correction to the Department of Mental Health;
  • Urging  the FDA to ban the use of an electric skin shock device (the GED) used by a program in Massachusetts;
  • Supporting legislation in Massachusetts to prohibit the use of aversive procedures that inflict pain; and,
  • Working with other advocates nation-wide to address the disproportionate use of restraint and seclusion with students of color with disabilities in schools.