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Kendra's Law is a New York State law concerning involuntary outpatient mental health treatment.


Two similar subway assaults occurred in the New York City subway in 1999. In each, a man diagnosed with schizophrenia pushed a person into the path of an oncoming train. An assault by Julio Perez, age 43, caused the amputation of Edgar Rivera's legs. The assault by Andrew Goldstein, age 29, killed Kendra Webdale. Both men had been dismissed by psychiatric facilities with little or no medication. One of the men was homeless and the other had repeatedly sought a supervised living arrangement.

Kendra's law, introduced by Governor George E. Pataki, was created as a response to these incidents. [1] In 2005, the law was extended for 5 years. [2]


E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist who focuses his study on schizophrenia, supports the law.


Kendra's law is opposed for different reasons by many groups, most notably the Anti-Psychiatry movement and the NY Civil Liberties Union.

Opponents say that the law has harmed the mental health system, because it can scare patients away from seeking treatment. [3]

It is also said that the implementation of the law is racially biased. [4] (PDF)

See alsoEdit

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External linksEdit

  • A report by the New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled, November 1999, "In the Matter of David Dix (pseudonym)" "Despite an awareness...that Mr. Dix required a supervised setting...he was repeatedly discharged to live in an arrangement that never successfully kept Mr. Dix from decompensating."
  • New York Times article, "Frightening Echo in Tales of Two In Subway Attacks," by Nina Bernstein, June 28, 1999. "In each instance that day...people with only scraps of information about Mr. Perez listened briefly and sent him on his way, to another part of the same disjointed system that had been shuttling him between hospitals, jails, shelters and the streets of New York since 1995."
  • New York Times Magazine cover story, "Bedlam on the Streets," by Michael Winerip, May 23, 1999. Magazine cover blurb: "Long before Andrew Goldstein pushed a woman in front of a train, he pleaded for help. He couldn't get it. The Crisis of the Mentally Ill."
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