In general, society is beginning to support people who suffer from mental disorders, especially regarding their legal rights. In past decades, the only time a person’s mental state was considered was to determine whether the offender was mentally competent enough to stand trial. While that is still a legal concern, there are other legal rights that a mentally ill person must be protected outside their criminal rights.
Despite the progress that has been made in providing additional support for mental health services, there is still a stigma that mentally ill people face. When you feel that your rights or your loved one’s rights have been violated due to your mental health disorder, an Anaheim mental health lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group can help.
The Rights of the Mentally Ill in a Criminal Case
Suppose people with mental illnesses are not having their legal rights violated throughout every facet of their personal lives. In that case, they suffer serious legal rights violations in a criminal case. Like housing and employment discrimination, law enforcement officials take advantage of an offender’s mental state if it is discovered that they suffer from a mental illness. This can happen with police officers who fail to notify mentally ill offenders of their Miranda rights to forcefully shackle and restrain them.
Receiving Treatment While Incarcerated
Another way that law enforcement officials place mentally ill offenders in harm’s way is to refuse to provide services for their condition. Depending on the nature of the charges, mentally ill offenders can find themselves jailed for months before being bailed out.
During that period, their mental illnesses are in danger of worsening as medication and other forms of treatment are denied. When law enforcement officials fail to provide mentally ill offenders with the treatment they need for their conditions, they not only place the safety of the offenders at risk but the safety of the general public at risk.
For a free legal consultation with a mental health lawyer serving Anaheim, call (310) 928-9347
Mental Health Courts
As far back as 20 years ago, offenders’ mental health was not considered when convicting offenders of crimes. Instead of considering alternative solutions for offenders who suffer from mental health disorders, offenders were awarded more severe punishments and prison sentences.
Fortunately, law enforcement officials in the criminal justice system have realized that traditional punishments do not help mentally ill offenders in the long run. It does the opposite and guarantees that mentally ill offenders will become repeat offenders. One of the ways that the criminal justice system has encouraged mentally ill offenders to safely re-enter society is through the use of mental health courts.
Mental health courts are an alternative treatment method to incarceration. Instead of sentencing a mentally ill offender to a prison sentence, the offender undergoes a long-term community-based program consisting of health assessments, customized treatment plans, and continuous monitoring. Mental health courts are a great alternative that can help address the underlying issues that contribute to criminal behavior instead of just punishing the criminal behavior.
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How a Mental Health Lawyer in Anaheim Can Help
Unfortunately, many traditional judges will not voluntarily offer mental health court services for all mentally ill offenders. This is where an Anaheim mental health lawyer can help you or your loved one.
An experienced mental health lawyer can advocate for you or your loved one to participate in the mental health court services and other jail diversion options. Your mental health lawyer can also make a compelling case about whether or not you are mentally capable of accepting criminal responsibility for your offense.
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Discrimination Against People with Mental Health Disorders
As hard as it is for some people to believe, people with mental health disorders are still people. However, some agencies forget this simple truth and continue to practice blatant abuse and discrimination toward mentally ill individuals. Some of the common forms of discrimination that occur toward mentally ill people include employment, housing, insurance, and medicine.
Discrimination in Employment
Federal law grants people with mental disabilities the same legal rights as people with physical disabilities. However, people with mental disabilities are still discriminated against in the workplace. Some examples include choosing to deliberately reject an applicant with a mental health condition, firing a worker due to their mental health condition, or failing to provide a worker with a mental health condition with the proper working accommodations.
Discrimination with Housing
Just like employment, federal laws prohibit housing discrimination toward people with mental health conditions. Some examples of housing discrimination against mentally ill applicants include refusing to rent or sell a property to a person due to their mental illness, denying housing because the applicant recently lived in an institution or a group home, and outright asking about the applicant’s mental disorder during the application process.
Discrimination in Insurance
Like all insurance policyholders, people with mental health conditions have the right to make their own decisions about the treatment they receive. Insurance companies make incorrect assumptions that mentally ill policyholders are not competent enough to make decisions regarding their health.
This assumption is often made when mentally ill policyholders refuse some forms of treatment. Another discriminatory act practiced by insurance companies is failing to provide full explanations about the different treatment options and insurance benefits for mentally ill policyholders.
Discrimination with Medicine
Just like people with mental health conditions have the right to decide the type of treatment offered, they have the right to resist being restrained or denied certain services. They also have the right to decide who has permission to see their healthcare information. Some healthcare providers fail to notify mentally ill patients of their rights to privacy and sharing information.
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Speak to an Anaheim Mental Health Attorney for Free
You do not deserve to be punished for having a mental health disorder. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a mental disorder and are facing charges, the legal team at the Simmrin Law Group is passionate about protecting your legal rights. Call our mental health attorneys in Anaheim today or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation.