28 U.S.C. § 2902(b) provides that no individual shall be committed if the Surgeon General declares that adequate rehabilitation facilities are unavailable. Permanent Federal facilities for rehabilitation purposes have been replaced by federally funded state and local counterparts. In addition, Congress has not appropriated funds for facilities since fiscal year 1977. The District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania found that the lack of funds precluded the Surgeon General from fulfilling his role under the Act. United States v. Butler, 676 F. Supp. 88 (W.D.Pa. 1988). In the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the court denied an appellants lack of appropriations and the unwillingness of courts to treat the Act as a mandatory entitlement, sections 2901 through 2906 of NARA have become dormant pieces of legislation.
Updated December 18, 2015