Monday, October 10, 2005

The Baker Act

The Baker Act is a 1971 Florida statute, enacted to help protect the rights of the mentally ill along with public safety. It advocated community-based mental health care programs over committing people to institutions. It said that only people found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others can be committed. Involuntary commitment requires that a judge, police officer or doctor must first decide the person is potentially ill enough to require an involuntary medical exam.

Within 72 hours of that exam, the person may be released or voluntarily agree to further inpatient treatment. If not, the facility that conducted the exam must file an involuntary commitment petition that must be heard by a court within five days (see St. Petersburg Times, May 7, 1999 and related articles in that newspaper).

According to Prof. John Petrila of the Mental Health Law & Policy division of the Florida Mental Health Institute [], the act was named for a Florida state representative, Maxine Baker, who had a strong interest in mental health issues and served as chair of a House Committee on mental health. For more information, you may want to contact the Institute at 813-974-4510.

It is two weeks ago today, that I had the last institutionalized crimes commited against me. At random, I was chosen, and then it was decided by unqualified strangers that my individual freedoms and posessions would be taken away, and render me vulnerable to obscene hardships. I work hard two extra precious hours extra hours of my time, for a total of ten hours, for $100.00. In an instant not only is this taken away from me, but also an additional ten hours of my time is taken away, and I dont get paid for it. I supposed the Bakers Act had spared my life from being permanently ruined.

Every once in a while in my life I experience these institutionalized dichotomy crimes. It could be a $100.00 parking ticket in NYC after parking for five minutes. That is one of many reasons I moved out of NYC. It is not NYCE. On 5/22/05, I am unemployed, and paid $250.00 for that month for heath insurance. I have to pay $923.37 because I had a stomach ache! That erased 3.5 weeks of my unemployment insurance!

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