Advice for the New Mayor
Savas, E. S.
Heinemann, H. Erich
Wriston, Walter B.
Charles Morris Author, The Cost of Good Intentions
Recovering streets and public spaces, now threatened by the violently mentally ill, must rank as a priority. Toward that end, you should convene a task force of legal experts to recommend revisions in civil commitment laws, with the goal of substantially broadening current criteria for commitment to state mental institutions and reversing the downturn in the institutional population. I believe the key criteria are legislatively, rather than constitutionally, defined. Assuming that some of them have come to be constitutionally defined, you should form a small task force of able lawyers to develop and pursue a litigation strategy aimed at reversing the worst of the relevant decisions.
You should also develop some form of triage for separating the "homeless" into the truly homeless (I believe there are a substantial number), the addicted, the mentally ill, and so forth, so that people will get the kind of help-including commitment, when appropriate-that suits their individual needs.