TRENTON – Senator Jim Whelan today said he was disappointed to learn that the implementation of a law he sponsored to give families the ability to commit loved ones with mental illness to an outpatient program for treatment has been shelved by the Christie administration.
The law was passed after several murders committed by individuals who had been diagnosed with mental illness, including an 2008 episode when a schizophrenic Galloway Township man who had refused treatment attacked and killed his mother and one of his 12 year-old twin nieces and seriously injured his other twin niece.
Whelan (D-Atlantic) released the following statement:
“The longer the state refuses to give families the option of outpatient commitment, loved ones suffering from severe mental illness will remain without vital treatment and will continue to pose a serious danger to themselves and others.
“This law is absolutely necessary to prevent future tragedies. Every day we wait, we risk hearing of another fatal incident that could have been prevented. While the administration is saying we cannot afford to offer this program, I am dumbfounded, because the truth is, we cannot afford to wait.”
“This is one law that is not, and never should have been, about money. It’s simply the right thing to do, and deep down the administration knows it.”