Legally-Coerced Consent to Treatment in the Criminal Justice System
Jennifer A. Chandler
University of Ottawa - Common Law Section
June 2, 2013
Full chapter in Holmes, Jacob and Perron, eds. Power and the Psychiatric Apparatus, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., April 2014, Forthcoming
The criminal justice system pressures offenders to consent to rehabilitative treatment by granting legal advantages in exchange for consent. Judicial dispositions do not, however, specify the treatments to be followed. Instead, they order offenders to follow the treatments recommended by their physicians. This makes sense given judicial lack of medical expertise, as well as the remoteness of judges from issues of resource availability and the evolution over time of an offender’s condition. However, this system allows judges to avoid questions of what particular treatments an offender may be legally coerced into accepting, and it allows physicians to distance themselves from the coercion and more easily regard an offender’s consent as voluntary. Neither judges nor doctors are clearly confronted with the over-arching system of legally coerced consent to rehabilitative treatment, with the consequence that critical reflection on the whole system is obscured and responsibility for it is diffused. The attached introduction provides an outline of the full chapter, which is forthcoming in April 2014 from Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 2
Date posted: March 6, 2014
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