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Wednesday, January 09 2013

HRC Begins Gun Violence Reduction Initiative

From a Greenfield Human Rights Commission (HRC) press release:

In response to the call of national and state leaders for community dialogue in the wake of the December 14, 2012, tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Greenfield Human Rights Commission will initiate a Gun Violence Reduction Initiative beginning on Monday, January 14, 2013, at 6:00 PM in the Greenfield Town Hall second floor meeting room. It is anticipated that the Initiative will encompass at least the next several months. The goal is to examine, debate, discuss and possibly advocate for the proposed legislation put forth by federal and state leaders, specifically including, but not necessarily limited to, that of Vice President Biden's Gun Violence Reduction Task Force, Governor Patrick's proposals and state representative David Linsky's comprehensive gun violence reduction bill. The Commission will be requesting the input of citizens of our community and experts in the fields of law enforcement, mental health, human services and education. The hope of the Commission is to strike a balance in advocating for victims rights and the rights secured by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Monday, January 14th, the Commission will begin a debate on the bill previously filed by state representative Kay Khan of the 11th Middlesex District to establish Assisted Outpatient Treatment in the Commonwealth. It is anticipated that the concept of Assisted Outpatient Treatment may be of assistance and utility to those who may be at risk in their communities.

Forty-Four states permit the use of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), also referred to as outpatient commitment. AOT is a court-ordered treatment (including medication) for individuals who have a history of medication noncompliance, as a condition of their remaining in the community. Studies and data from states using AOT prove that it is effective in reducing the incidence and duration of hospitalization, homelessness, arrests and incarcerations, victimization, and violent episodes. AOT also increases treatment compliance and promotes long-term voluntary compliance, while reducing caregiver stress. The six states that do not have AOT are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada and Tennessee.

The Commission seeks and encourages the input of the members of the Greenfield and Franklin County community in this endeavor.