USPO Mental Health Treatment Privacy Wavier is Bad for Mental Health

Blast Zone No. 2229
Set Up On:
Current Courthouse Location:
1000 SW Third Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97204
Mental Health Treatment Privacy Waiver:
Mental Health Treatment Privacy Waiver
Mental Health Treatment Privacy Waiver

If the court thinks you're crazy and/or have a drug problem you've probably seen one of these documents titled, "UNITED STATES PROBATION SYSTEM AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT PROGRAMS." The document is given to federal convicts the first day they meet with probation if they are ordered to participate in any mental health or substance abuse treatment while on supervision. When they give it to you it seems innocent enough because they say they just want to make sure you are participating in treatment as ordered. But if you really read it you'll see that there is more to it than that. With broad terms like "psychotherapy notes" it seems like a liability that could serve as a barrier to treatment for some.

If someone violates the conditions of their release, tells their counselor, and that counselor writes it down in their notes then those notes can and will be used against them in a court of law. This type of stuff makes people think twice before speaking to their counselor because the counselor communicates with probation and this has been a problem for people. I was talking to one of my lawyers about how LifeWorks Northwest, the program most people are sent to in Portland, Oregon, is full of snitches and that lawyer agreed saying that they have gotten people violated. If the court really wants people to get the best treatment possible they should amend this to only require a release of attendance information. Other things like drug testing results could be covered in other waivers for people doing drug testing at such places.

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