Involuntary Interventions Advocacy

People with disabilities should be free to make personal decisions about their own lives, including treatment and recovery, without the threat of coercion or loss of liberty.

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.