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Guarding Civil Rights of the Mentally Ill

July 08, 2002

Re "State Mental Facility Probed" (July 3), on the U.S. Department of Justice launching an investigation into alleged civil rights abuses at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk: Civil rights abuses in a mental hospital? That shouldn't be news. With its unwavering support of AB 1421 (I believe you even won a Pulitzer Prize for it), The Times has been a vigorous champion of violating the civil rights of the mentally ill.

Oh, of course it's justified. The mentally ill are a different sort of animal, too sick to know what's good for them, right? Never mind the study that found the mentally ill just as capable as the physically ill at making valid treatment decisions. With the prevailing attitude of psychiatry toward the mentally ill, it is no surprise that a mental hospital resorts to drugs and restraints.

Paul Mullinger

Carmichael, Calif.

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