Nebraska Revised Statute 71-959

Chapter 71


Subject in custody or receiving treatment; rights; enumerated.

A subject in custody or receiving treatment under the Nebraska Mental Health Commitment Act or the Sex Offender Commitment Act has the right:

(1) To be considered legally competent for all purposes unless he or she has been declared legally incompetent. The mental health board shall not have the power to declare an individual incompetent;

(2) To receive prompt and adequate evaluation and treatment for mental illness, personality disorders, and physical ailments and to participate in his or her treatment planning activities to the extent determined to be appropriate by the mental health professional in charge of the subject's treatment;

(3) To refuse treatment medication, except (a) in an emergency, such treatment medication as is essential in the judgment of the mental health professional in charge of such treatment to prevent the subject from causing injury to himself, herself, or others or (b) following a hearing and order of a mental health board, such treatment medication as will substantially improve his or her mental illness or personality disorder or reduce the risk posed to the public by a dangerous sex offender;

(4) To communicate freely with any other person by sealed mail, personal visitation, and private telephone conversations;

(5) To have reasonably private living conditions, including private storage space for personal belongings;

(6) To engage or refuse to engage in religious worship and political activity;

(7) To be compensated for his or her labor in accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 206, as such section existed on January 1, 2004;

(8) To have access to a patient grievance procedure; and

(9) To file, either personally or by counsel, petitions or applications for writs of habeas corpus for the purpose of challenging the legality of his or her custody or treatment.


Cross References

  • Sex Offender Commitment Act, see section 71-1201.


  • The determination of what constitutes "prompt and adequate" treatment, as those terms are used in subsection (2) of this section, will inherently be a factual determination to be made based on the evidence and circumstances presented in each particular case. Navarette v. Settle, 10 Neb. App. 479, 633 N.W.2d 588 (2001).