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What is the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act?

The Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act provides guidelines for handling involuntary civil commitment of individuals to mental health institutions in the State of California. It was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank Lanterman, California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris and Alan Short, signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan, and went into full effect on July 1, 1972. The act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States.

The legislative intent of the 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act is to:

  • End the inappropriate, indefinite, and involuntary commitment of persons with mental health disorders, developmental disabilities, and chronic alcoholism, and to eliminate legal disabilities
  • Provide prompt evaluation and treatment of persons with mental health disorders or impaired by chronic alcoholism
  • Guarantee and protect public safety
  • Safeguard individual rights through judicial review
  • Provide individualized treatment, supervision, and placement services by a conservatorship program for persons who are gravely disabled
  • Encourage the full use of all existing agencies, professional personnel and public funds to accomplish these objectives and to prevent duplication of services and unnecessary expenditures
  • Protect persons with mental health disorders and developmental disabilities from criminal acts

The Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act is part of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC). It is covered under WIC Division 5, starting with Section 5000 and subsequent chapters and articles

For the complete Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act (WIC 5000) and other related codes, go to the California Welfare and Institutions Code.
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