Thomas P. Bliss


On June 26, 1975, the Supreme Court was confronted with the controversial issue of whether there is a constitutionally guaranteed right to treatment for nondangerous persons who have been involuntarily and civilly committed to mental institutions. The Court avoided this long advocated issue and created the potential for future litigation by holding that a state cannot constitutionally confine a nondangerous individual solely for custodial care if such person can live safely in the outside world, without a finding of more than mere mental illness. This comment will discuss the decision in terms of the most volatile and frequently urged constitutional argument -a right to treatment based on a quid pro quo concept.