Duquesne Law Review


The Editor


The theory of a "right to treatment" was first presented to the public in 1960 by the lawyer-physician Morton Birnbaum. Dr. Birnbaum s advocacy of a right to treatment for inmates of public mental institutions is founded upon a sociomedical basis, and upon the constitutional basis of due process of law-a mentally ill person should not be deprived of his liberty in a mental institution if he is not receiving adequate treatment for his illness. Dr. Birnbaum noted that most inmates do not receive adequate treatment, and that to date, only two courts have explicitly recognized such a right. Only Pennsylvania has considered, to any important degree, legislation in this field. The Draconian laws persist.

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