Segment 4: Liberty

*Essential readings


UN Materials:

*CRPD Article 14

*CRPD Guidelines on Article 14

See also OHCHR report on mental health and human rights

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Expert Meeting on Article 14, Background Note and *Conclusions

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of His or Her Liberty to Bring Proceedings Before a Court and version with footnotes

Urgent Appeal in case of forced psychiatry in Norway, by Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health:  search for ‘arbitrary detention’ and ‘Norway’ using this webform:

WHO training modules pilot version : upholds in principle CRPD absolute prohibition of involuntary treatment and involuntary hospitalization/institutionalization, flawed but open for comments in revision process


Prohibition of disability-based detention and forced treatment:

*One or more of the following:

Karlijn Roex, The Contested Freedom of the ‘Scary’

TCI-Asia, ‘No’ to Mental Health Laws that are Non-Compliant

Minkowitz, What Would CRPD-Compliant Mental Health Legislation Look Like?

Linda Steele, Challenging Law’s Monopoly on Violence

Additional resources: Survivor testimonies and other writings for Absolute Prohibition Campaign

Alternatives to Suicide, see webinar by Western Mass Recovery Learning Community


Criminal Responsibility:

*One of the following:

Minkowitz, Rethinking Criminal Responsibility from Critical Disability Perspective (article)

Minkowitz, Some Thoughts on Insanity Defense (blog post)

One or more videos from ERC Voices workshop on Criminal Responsibility

Additional resources:  Restorative Justice


Intersectional discrimination:

Stephanie Franklin, African-American Girls in Foster Care and Psychotropic Medication

RMHL, MOMS et al., Forced Psychiatry and Psychiatric Abuse Against African Americans

Laura Prescott, Shattering the Silence


Approaches to liberty that do not comply with CRPD:

George Szmukler et al., Mental Health Law and  CRPD (Fusion proposal to merge mental health legislation and capacity legislation)

Christopher Slobogin, Eliminating Mental Disability as a Legal Criterion in Deprivation of Liberty Cases (Proposal for ‘disability-neutral’ preventive detention)



Fall 2017 materials:

Recording of lecture

Slides segment 4 lecture final

Spring 2017 materials:

Recording of lecture

Power point segment 4 rev  and pdf segment 4 rev



1-2 page reflection paper on any of the following:

What would need to be done to change the laws in your jurisdiction to prohibit mental health commitment and forced treatment?


What might be ‘difficult issues’ to work out conceptually or practically in implementing a prohibition of commitment and forced treatment?  How might these issues be resolved consistently with the letter and spirit of the CRPD?  (Make sure to consider General Comment No. 1 and Guidelines on Article 14.)


Discuss the proposals of Szmukler and Slobogin in light of the CRPD.  You can refer to Articles 5, 12, and 14 (among others), and please consider General Comment No. 1 and Guidelines on Article 14.


Consider how other factors such as sex, race, class, being indigenous, etc., as well as actual or perceived disability, affect our relationship to the state and social authorities, our expectations of safety and deprivation of liberty (for example, sexual assault crimes, racial profiling).  How should these issues be taken into account in implementing Article 14?


How promising is restorative justice as an alternative approach to criminal responsibility?  Does it (or can it) solve the problems of inequality?


(c) Tina Minkowitz 2017