Protecting Children Against Unnecessary Institutionalization

34 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2007

See all articles by Alexander Tsesis

Alexander Tsesis

Loyola University Chicago School of Law


I argue in this article that children should not be confined to mental institutions without first being afforded the right to intermediate judicial scrutiny under the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. First, I discuss how some judicial decisions have determined what procedural rights children have under the United States Constitution. I primarily focus on the key Supreme Court decision, Parham v. J.R., about the mental institutionalization of children. Secondly, I consider the degree to which juveniles in mental institutions are deprived of their liberty and evaluate the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses of children. Finally, I present a perspective on the reasons behind the increase in juvenile commitment and what legal steps should be taken to curb abuse of the juvenile mental health system.

Keywords: mental health, children, mental institutionalization, institutionalization, juvenile, adolescent, mental illness, Szasz, Parham v. J.R., due process, intermediate scrutiny

Suggested Citation

Tsesis, Alexander, Protecting Children Against Unnecessary Institutionalization. South Texas Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 995, 1998, Available at SSRN:

Alexander Tsesis (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-915-7929 (Phone)

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