Dr. Birnbaum first noted that the judicial history on the right to adequate care and treatment in public mental hospitals is brief and limited to mere recognition. In 1966 the United States Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia held that a criminally-committed person had the right to adequate treatment, based on a mental health statute. In 1968 the foundation for the right to treatment seemed to be expanded to the constitutional due process level. Finally in 1971, a further expansion occured when a federal district court in Alabama clearly said that a civilly-committed patient had a constitutional right to treatment.
Debate: The Right to Treatment - Encounter and Synthesis - A Summary of Dr. Birnbaum's Initial Remarks [Comment],
Duq. L. Rev.
Available at: https://dsc.duq.edu/dlr/vol10/iss4/4