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Hospitalizing the Mentally Ill

December 02, 1987

Why do liberals feel it is not right to confine mentally ill homeless individuals in institutions where they would be medically treated and cared for, when many of them are totally incapable of caring for themselves?

As stated by Fleming, "Statistics for the homeless indicate that anyone who lives on the streets for a year stands at least a 50% chance of being seriously injured by assault--or of being killed." For mentally ill homeless, the statistics are much higher. I don't see the point then, in not allowing the mentally ill homeless to be institutionalized for treatment by using the excuse that they are protecting people's rights. Aren't their lives more important than their rights?

I agree with Fleming's statement: "By ignoring the helplessness of mentally ill people, we are, in the name of defending a principle, defending nothing more than their right to be constantly victimized on our mean streets." It is time to take responsibility for these unfortunate people and make their personal rights safe ones.

DEBRA S. WILFORD

Valinda

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