The only way to make sure the person remains in custody of the mental health system is by trying to have him or her committed under adult commitment procedures, said Robert Lyman, chairman of the psychology department at the University of Alabama.He
said that involves a petitioner making the request, usually to the probate judge in the home county.The criteria for an adult commitment is much different than what is used in juvenile proceedings.To be committed as an adult, a person must be considered a dangerous and imminent threat to himself or to someone else.
Otherwise, the person must be released.
"If someone felt that was the case, they should have petitioned the court," Lyman
It's part of a changing philosophy, Lyman
"The system is now more liberal in terms of trying to release them rather than assuming they can't make it," he
said."In the past, a person could be in a mental institution for life, but they're now allowing someone out to see if they can make it.If not, there are recommitment procedures available, if necessary."
Police departments in the Shoals are often contacted and given names of people who have been released from institutions or have been diagnosed with an illness.That helps officers understand and deal with a person they come in contact with who appears unreasonable or violent, authorities say.It also protects the person.
not convinced there was a breakdown in the system in Bond's case, especially considering 15 months passed before the violent act occurred.
There are some judges, including some in northwest Alabama, who say the state mental health department rushes to release patients.
Those critics say an early release can have an adverse effect on the person and those whom he
comes in contact with after release.
said any possible breakdown in the system might be the loss of jurisdiction when a patient turns 21.He
said a review of procedures "would be beneficial to determine if there is a better way for the two systems to connect."