Involuntary commitment

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Practice of using legal means or forms to commit a person to a mental hospital, insane asylum or psychiatric ward against the will or over the protests of that person. In the United States, involuntary commitment is governed by state law and procedures vary from state to state.

An example of involuntary commitment procedures is the Baker Act used by the state of Florida. Under this law, a person may be committed only if he or she presents a danger to himself or others. A police officer may issue an emergency commitment order which lasts for up to 72 hours. Within this time, a person must appear before a judge who can extend the commitment. The Baker Act also requires that all commitment orders be reviewed every six months in addition to insuring certain rights to the committed including the right to contact outsiders.