The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Fact Sheet: HD 640/SD 1014 - Protect the Fundamental Rights of People Confined for Mental Illness

Date: 
02/06/2013
Author: 
Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee and The Pass Group

Under current law, administrators of mental health facilities operated, funded, or licensed by the state have no obligation to give those confined access to the outdoors, despite ample evidence on the medical importance of fresh air and the fact that even prisoners in segregation units are constitutionally entitled to at least an hour of outside exercise daily. Additionally, people confined in a locked unit due to mental illness have no recourse when even arbitrarily denied other rights the General Court has deemed “fundamental.”

HD640/SD 1014 will correct these problems by:

  • Adding daily access to fresh airto the list of rights considered fundamental and
  • Creating protections against the arbitrary denial of fundamental rights.
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