Alaska Statutes.
Title 47. Welfare, Social Services and Institutions
Chapter 30. Mental Health
Section 655. Purpose of Major Revision.
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AS 47.30.655. Purpose of Major Revision.

The purpose of the 1981 major revision of Alaska civil commitment statutes (AS 47.30.660 and 47.30.670 - 47.30.915) is to more adequately protect the legal rights of persons suffering from mental illness. The legislature has attempted to balance the individual's constitutional right to physical liberty and the state's interest in protecting society from persons who are dangerous to others and protecting persons who are dangerous to themselves by providing due process safeguards at all stages of commitment proceedings. In addition, the following principles of modern mental health care have guided this revision:

(1) that persons be given every reasonable opportunity to accept voluntary treatment before involvement with the judicial system;

(2) that persons be treated in the least restrictive alternative environment consistent with their treatment needs;

(3) that treatment occur as promptly as possible and as close to the individual's home as possible;

(4) that a system of mental health community facilities and supports be available;

(5) that patients be informed of their rights and be informed of and allowed to participate in their treatment program as much as possible;

(6) that persons who are mentally ill but not dangerous to others be committed only if there is a reasonable expectation of improving their mental condition.

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