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August 1988

Civil Commitment: The Relationship Between Perceived Dangerousness and Mental Illness

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and the Program in Psychiatry and Law, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles; and the Forensic Sciences Medical Group, Santa Monica, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(8):770-772. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800320086012

It may be considered unbecoming to appear overly enamored of another's research. That appearance risks collegial opprobrium for the seeming abdication of one's critical faculties. It is thus with caution that I observe that the series of three articles by Segal et al1-3 in this issue are remarkably thoughtful and thought provoking. They do what good research should: answer previously unanswered questions, suggest new ones, interweave the relevant literature, and grapple with the policy implications of their conclusions. For articles about civil commitment, this latter point is particularly necessary.

Notwithstanding the sophistication of their observations, the authors make but three fundamental points, points that fit not so coincidentally the publishing format. Besides reviewing the literature and discussing their methodology, the first article essentially concludes that the clinicians in those settings observed by the authors follow a predictable See also pp 748, 753, and 759. set of rules in determining

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