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I don't know the particulars of Colorado's situation or whether that's enough money. But the involuntary civil commitment process -- with separate, complex laws governing the process in each state -- has been broken for a long time. The biggest problem is a chronic lack of funding to house, even if only for short periods of time, the acutely mentally ill who pose a danger to themselves or to others. Simply not enough beds. Even for those whom everyone would recognize as real and imminent public safety threats.

The problems go beyond chronic lack of funding, but that exacerbates many of the related problems, including the reluctance of family members and mental health professionals to embark on such a difficult process with so much uncertainty about the ultimate outcome.

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.