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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kirsten Longaker
LSJ 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Comparative Legal Institutions

Focused, comparative examination of legal institutions.

Class description

"Mental Health and the Law." This is a senior seminar that will focus on how the criminal justice system has become the de facto mental health care system in our country, and the problems associated with this trend. We will explore how those with mental illness are treated within the criminal justice system and also within the involuntary civil commitment system. We will look at societal responses to this trend such as the emergence of mental health courts and specialized police training. We will also dscuss how the courts, the legislature and the community shape this landscape. A critical theme of the course will be how these systems attempt to balance public safety and civil liberties. This course will have court observation requirements and will have guest speaker presentations on relevant topics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kirsten Longaker
Date: 02/08/2013