Civil commitment is court-ordered treatment for persons who are mentally ill, chemically dependent, mentally retarded, or sexually dangerous. The commitment process may result in the person being confined in a state-operated facility, community hospital or community treatment center, or may result in court-ordered treatment on an outpatient basis, depending on what is most appropriate.
The process is started by the county completing the pre-petition screening. If the person is in the hospital and the person’s doctor believes that a civil commitment is needed, hospital staff will contact pre-petition screening. The case will then be screened to determine if a commitment petition is appropriate, or if there are other less-restrictive alternatives that will meet the person’s treatment needs. If the pre-petition screening team believes that a commitment petition is appropriate, they will prepare a written report and submit it to the County Attorney’s Office, along with a doctor’s statement supporting the commitment.