Lanterman–Petris–Short Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Lanterman–Petris–Short (LPS) Act (Cal. Welf & Inst. Code, sec. 5000 et seq.) concerns the involuntary civil commitment to a mental health institution in the State of California. The act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States. It was co-authored by California State Assemblyman Frank D. Lanterman (R) and California State Senators Nicholas C. Petris (D) and Alan Short (D), and signed into law in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The Act went into full effect on July 1, 1972. It cited seven articles of intent:

  • To provide prompt evaluation and treatment of persons with serious mental disorders or impaired by chronic alcoholism;
  • To guarantee and protect public safety;
  • To provide individualized treatment, supervision, and placement services by a conservatorship program for gravely disabled persons;
  • To encourage the full use of all existing agencies, professional personnel and public funds to accomplish these objectives and to prevent duplication of services and unnecessary expenditures;
  • To protect mentally disordered persons and developmentally disabled persons from criminal acts.

The Act in effect ended all hospital commitments by the judiciary system, except in the case of criminal sentencing, e.g., convicted sexual offenders, and those who were "gravely disabled", defined as unable to obtain food, clothing, or housing [Conservatorship of Susan T., 8 Cal. 4th 1005 (1994)]. It did not, however, impede the right of voluntary commitments. It expanded the evaluative power of psychiatrists and created provisions and criteria for holds.

Sections of LPS law[edit]

There are many sections and subsections of the California-only LPS law. Some are commonly used in mental health settings.[1]


A 5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold) is an involuntary 72-hour hold in a psychiatric facility, for evaluation. A peace officer, registered nurse, medical doctor, or certain other categories of people may place the hold. All three of the criteria apply to this section.


A 5250 (involuntary psychiatric hold) is an additional 14-day hold. Same criteria as §5150 hold (gravely disabled, danger to self or others).

Temporary conservatorship[edit]

Otherwise known as a T-Con, may be initiated at any time while a patient is on hold, but usually occurs during the time in which a patient is on a 14-day hold for Grave Disability. Once the patient is on a T-Con, the patient is no longer legally on a "hold," but is temporarily conserved pending the actual conservatorship hearing. T-Cons last a maximum of 30 days. When a patient is detained on either a 5250 (14-day hold) or a 5270 (30-day hold) they are entitled to a Probable Cause Hearing in which a determination is made whether the hold meets legal criteria (if the hold is not legal, the patient may be discharged if he or she wishes.) Once a patient is on a T-Con or an actual conservatorship, the person is no longer on a 14-day or 30-day hold, and therefore, has no right to a Probable Cause Hearing. If the patient wishes, while on a T-Con, he or she may request a writ of habeas corpus. The individual will then be allowed to present a case in court, with the aid of a public defender, as to why he or she should not be on a T-Con and in the hospital.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]