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Commentary By Stephen Eide

A Permanent Kendra's Law Will Better Serve Mentally Ill

Culture, Cities, Health Poverty & Welfare, New York City, Serious Mental Illness

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made a priority of reducing the state mental health care system's reliance on psychiatric hospitals. But increased investment in community services, which Cuomo and nearly all advocates see as preferable to hospitalization, has had a mixed record of success. A subset of the seriously mentally ill has always been reluctant to participate in treatment on a voluntary basis.

Fortunately, in New York, hospitals and community services are not the only options. Through Kendra's Law, someone with serious mental illness can be placed under a court-ordered treatment plan while still living in the community.

Kendra's Law has been authorized on a temporary basis since 1999 and is set to expire unless lawmakers act soon. Its strong record of improving the lives of the mentally ill should motivate Albany to not only reauthorize this program, but make it permanent.

Kendra's Law is named after Kendra Webdale, a New York City resident who, in January 1999, was pushed to her death off a subway platform by a man with untreated schizophrenia. In response to the public outcry, the state passed....

Read the entire piece here at the Albany Times Union (paywall)


Stephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of a recent report, Assisted Outpatient Treatment in New York State: The Case for Making Kendra's Law Permanent.

This piece originally appeared in Albany Times Union