Ohio House Bill 299, known as Jason's Law in memory of Officer Jason West, proposes involuntary outpatient care for treatment resistant mentally ill individuals. Jason's Law should not be enacted as written because it will compel respondents to adhere to outpatient treatment based upon predictions of future danger to self or others rather than findings of imminent danger or incompetence, it will remove treatment flexibility currently guaranteed by Ohio law by extending the duration of treatment and limiting a treatment provider's discretion, it will compel the use of unproven medication over the objections of a presumably competent individual without requiring a finding of incompetence, and it will further financially burden an already overburdened mental health system. Section II will discuss the origins, justification, and models of involuntary outpatient treatment laws and will outline the operation of current Ohio civil commitment law and the changes proposed by Jason's Law. Section III will address the broader criteria of Jason's Law in relation to current Ohio laws. Section IV will critique Jason's Law's interference with the doctor-patient relationship and how the proposed law will impose greater restrictions upon medical decisions than current law does. Section V will address compelled medication and the consequence for refusal to comply. Finally, Section VI will address the fiscal feasibility of Jason's Law.
Note, Violence, Fear, and Jason's Law: The Needless Expansion of Social Control over the Non-Dangerous Mentally Ill in Ohio , 56 Clev. St. L. Rev. 739 (2008)