The Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Ore., is pictured on Thursday, June 27, 2019.

The Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, is pictured in June 2019. This is one of the places that takes patients who qualify for involuntary civil commitment.

Bryan M. Vance / OPB

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Oregon lawmakers could change a powerful but controversial tool known as involuntary civil commitment. It means that people with serious mental illness can be hospitalized against their will under certain circumstances. The new bill aims to create a clearer legal standard for what qualifies someone for civil commitment. A similar bill failed in the 2019 session.

We hear from Pat Wolke, a circuit court judge in Josephine County and co-chair of the Workgroup to Decriminalize Mental Illness, which helped craft the bill, and R. Drake Ewbank, a mental health service provider who opposes it.

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