Mental Commitments -Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 51
the Kenosha County Corporation Counsel’ Office

Summary of the Law

A person is considered a subject for a Chapter 51 if the person is:

  1. Mentally ill, drug dependent or developmentally disabled, and
  2. A substantial probability of physical harm to him/herself or others is evident by recent acts or omissions, attempts or threats, and
  3. The individual is a proper subject for treatment

§§ 51.15 and 51.20, Wis. Stats.

Types of Cases

A “Chapter 51” proceeding refers to Chapter 51 of the Wisconsin Statutes, State Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Act.

The legislature enacted this law to assure the provision of a full range of treatment and rehabilitation services in the state for all
mental disorders and developmental disabilities and for mental illness, alcoholism
and drug abuse.
§ 51.001, Wis. Stats.

Summary of Procedure – What to Expect

In most situations, law enforcement is alerted to the potential “chapter” subject by an emergency phone call to authorities. Law enforcement is dispatched to the scene and assess the situation. If the law enforcement officer believes that the person may be a
potential “chapter” subject, the officer calls Crisis for aid in determining the need for a “chapter,” the availability of services and placement, and the funding for a placement.

Summary of Procedure – What to Expect