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CLRP Response to Recent "Grading the States" Report from the Treatment Advocacy Center

Connecticut Legal Rights Project is a nonprofit law firm which represents clients living with mental health conditions to protect their legal rights. As lawyers, we represent our clients under Rules of Professional Conduct which mandate that we "shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal lawyer-client relationship with the client." We zealously advocate for our clients in accordance with their expressed preferences.

Therefore, we welcome the "F" grade that Connecticut has received from the Treatment Advocacy Center in their most recent report, while we also acknowledge that there's room for improvement in Connecticut's mental health system. We encourage the exploration of opportunities to maximize self-sufficiency and to create encouragement for individuals to take the lead in their treatment.

We stand firm in our opposition to involuntary outpatient commitment laws. Such laws represent an intrusion on our clients' legal rights to privacy and liberty. In an era when so many want to limit intrusion by government into their personal affairs, it is remarkable to see that some continue to advocate for new laws that would enable the government to breach the sanctuary of one's home and forcibly administer psychotropic medication without the consent of the individual.

Connecticut does not have adequate capacity in its mental health system (both public and private) to serve everyone who wishes to access community based services. We have mental health parity in law, but not in fact. Until we have a system that has the ability to serve everyone who voluntarily seeks services, we should not be setting up the infrastructure to impose services on people who do not want them. The Connecticut legislature has considered, and rightfully rejected, involuntary outpatient commitment each time it has been proposed.

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