The Baker Act

FloridaStateSymbol“The Baker Act” is a Florida statute (or law enacted by the Florida legislature) that went into effect in 1971.

Its official title is the “Florida Mental Health Act of 1971″. The law states that a person can be involuntarily institutionalized or “examined” if there is evidence that this individual has a mental illness and is a potential harm to himself or others. Here’s a direct link to the statute, (which is surprisingly easier to read than you might think.)

Several different kinds of people can initiate a Baker Act:

  • Doctors
  • Judges
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Licensed mental health professionals

A person who is brought into a “receiving facility” under the Baker Act may be held for up to 72 hours. There are more than 100 such receiving facilities in the state of Florida, which may take people who have been sent to them under this law. Receiving facilities must pass rigorous state inspections before being credentialed as Baker Act-compliant.

For more information contact Deputy Curtis Adams at (404) 435-0616 or cadams@pascosheriff.org. Deputy Adams is the Baker Act liaison for the Pasco County Sheriff’s office, and a fully credentialed Crisis Intervention Team Training officer.

It’s important to remember that people being held under the Florida Baker Act still have rights governed by the law. These rights are in place to protect the dignity and assure physical and emotional safety of those being involuntarily treated for mental illness. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights In Florida (CCHRF) also offers a Baker Act Q & A page. CCHR’s mission is to investigate and expose crimes in mental health.