In 1966, the pendulum swung … way too far.
Picture this, a mother with young children who was dragged from her home by the police and sent to an “asylum” because her husband said she was “crazy” and had her involuntarily committed, Meanwhile her children were sent to foster homes, separated and traumatized so that he could run away with his young “tart.” Yes this was a reality in 1935.
Fast-forward to 1966 when the case of Lake v. Cameron, was presented before a Washington, D.C., appeals court. Catherine Lake, a woman with mental illness, had been hospitalized against her will and kept involuntarily at St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric hospital for many years. Lake petitioned the court on the grounds of “dangerousness” to herself or others. She was deemed to not be dangerous and won her release. The court decision stated that all patients who were not “dangerous” should not be confined if a less restrictive alternative is available.