NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ involuntary hospitalization plan can continue, judge says

A judge has ruled that New York City’s controversial plan to allow first responders to involuntarily hospitalize homeless people with mental illnesses can proceed, according to CNN.

Under Mayor Eric Adams’ plan, which faced backlash and legal challenges soon after it was introduced in November, first responders would have the power to involuntarily evict and hospitalize anyone in the rue who “appears to be mentally ill” or “shows an inability to meet the basic needs of life.” Dismissal would be allowed even if the person does not appear to be a danger to themselves or others.

Mental health advocates, organizations and individuals have alleged the city’s plan is too broad and violates constitutional rights, according to The New York Times. In December, a request was filed as part of a existing lawsuitappealing to the United States District Judge Paul Crotty will issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the plan.

Dirty denied the motion on Monday.

These legal challenges came shortly after Adams’ plan was announced., as part of an effort to address issues related to homelessness, mental health and crime.

According to Coalition for the Homeless, 22,697 single adults were sleeping in the city’s shelters each night in November 2022 – a near record since the Great Depression. In the United States, 20.8% of homeless people have serious mental illness.

The city also faced a wave of attacks – some of which involved the homeless – on subways and streets in recent years. Adams previously claims these attacks were linked to mental illnesses.

During press conference in November, Adams said the city had a “moral obligation” to help homeless people with mental illnesses get treatment.

But the plan immediately raised concerns. Mental health and disability advocates previously told HuffPost that the plan was not the safest option and did not respect the autonomy of homeless people with mental illnesses. They also shared their concerns about how he reflects previous legislation – like the Ugly Laws – which have always targeted people with disabilities and the homeless.

Mental illness, they added, cannot be detected just by looking at someone. New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a civil rights law firm and one of the plaintiffs in the December lawsuit, said in a Press release plan ‘lowers the standard’ for involuntary detentions and hospitalizations to such a level that “almost anyone can be forcibly detained and hospitalized against their will”.

The company sent a statement to CNN who said he was disappointed with the judge’s ruling this week.

“The rights of New Yorkers with mental disabilities, especially those who are unhoused, remain threatened by the city’s new involuntary removal policy. Our litigation challenging the city’s use of New York Police Department officers as first responders when someone is going through a mental health crisis continues,” the statement said, according to CNN.


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