While news over Britney Spears’s 13-year conservatorship turned what was a largely unfamiliar term into one most Americans now know, involuntary care over adults with certain types of disabilities or severe mental illness is nothing new in the United States. In fact, the contentious battle between civil rights and health care needs goes back decades. Professor Alex V. Barnard explained the history of conservatorships in the state of California, examined the government’s role in overseeing involuntary care, and proposed ways the conservatorship system can be improved for those it seeks to help.
- Check out Barnard’s recently published book, Conservatorship: Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness.
- Read his OpEd on this topic: California needs new rules as it forces more mentally ill people into treatment.