Introduction to Law and Psychiatry at Civil, Criminal and Policy Crossroads
Instructor: Professor Debra A. Pinals, M.D.
Course Summary: In this course, students will become oriented to common crossroads where law and psychiatry intersect. The course will begin with an overview of mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities from legal and clinical perspectives. A review of case law and legislation pertaining to civil commitment, the right to treatment, the right to refuse treatment, and guardianship will help students gain an understanding of the legal regulation of psychiatric practice. Risk assessment, confidentiality and the duty to protect third parties and related tort claims will be covered. Students will explore mental health assessments and expert witness testimony pertaining to criminal law in areas such as competence to stand trial, competence to proceed pro se, criminal responsibility, and sex offenders. Finally, students will have an opportunity to learn about public systems attempt to address mental health treatment needs in psychiatric hospitals, jails and prisons and other venues such as treatment courts and other models have been developed to limit the redirect individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders from incarceration. The course will provide a forum to review federal legislation, government agencies, and litigation and how they come together to help shape services in public systems. The course will rely on assigned readings, short lectures, video material, and classroom prompts to stimulate discussion. There will be at least one field trip as part of the course. Short written or activity-related assignments, classroom participation and a final brief paper will be the basis for final grades.
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