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The Racially Disparate Impacts of Coercive Outpatient Mental Health Treatment: The Case of Assisted Outpatient Treatment in New York State


In 1999, New York State began implementing Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), which allowed for court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment. Despite the initial benevolent intent of this project, negative racial disparities pervade New York’s AOT program, with Black and Hispanic people being disproportionately subjected to its court orders. This Article argues that the AOT program has acted to further marginalize and discriminate against New Yorkers of color and recommends several reforms to the program.