Rochester, N.Y. – The gun control measure passed by the New York State Legislature closes some loopholes Kendra’s Law.
The law passed in 1999 provides a mechanism for judges to order people found to be dangerous to themselves or others to get outpatient treatment. The new provisions allow judges to order treatment for up to a year. The orders must be reviewed before they expire. Prisoners with a diagnosed illness must be reviewed for consideration in the program before they are released from prison. If a person moves to another county, the judge’s order follows.
“It’s our belief that philosophically, coerced or forced treatment isn’t a great thing,” said David Putney, Monroe County’s Socio-Legal Manager. “On the other hand, there are some people, if they don’t participate in treatment, there are some sad outcomes.”
Monroe County has investigated hundreds of Kendra’s Law cases since the law was passed. Some people voluntarily agree to treatment. Statewide, more than 2,000 people have been ordered to get treatment under the law.
A controversial provision of the law requires mental health professionals to report dangerous individuals to authorities, who would remove their guns. Doctors fear patients may not seek treatment and confidentiality would be compromised.