The suspect’s family in Louisville says he was let down by the mental health system

Robert Curran’s attorney received an unusual request for his client Wednesday in Jefferson County Courthouse. Curran, in prison for arson and endangerment, is accused of setting fire to his apartment complex off Hazlewood Road in Louisville on August 29. His attorney asked the judge to release his client from prison so Curran could receive mental health treatment at Central State Hospital: The judge denied the request, but Curran’s family says the scenario speaks to a larger problem in the intertwined criminal justice and mental health systems. “Perhaps a lot of this could have been avoided very well had it not been for the risks we face in the system,” Curran’s son Cody said. Cody Cody, Curran’s son, said his father was forcibly committed to mental health hospitals twice this summer, but both times, his father was released within three days. While this complies with state law, he said the duration was not enough to meet his father’s needs, and Curran’s son said he also applied for a third mental investigation warrant, hoping to reinstate his father’s commitment, the day before the fire. “It’s a blessing that no one gets hurt,” he said. “What I would say is, I’m sorry you had to go through this situation.” Curran would like to see changes that allow family members to have more information about their loved one’s treatment, so they can help doctors make more informed decisions about whether or not to stay patients longer. In court on Wednesday, Judge Julie Kaelin and even the attorney general, assistant attorney general Cassie Holland, seemed sympathetic to Curran’s battle with bipolar disorder. But Judge Kaelin is also concerned that there is no way to ensure Curran abides by the terms of his release — or to ensure that the central state can take him in the first place. Although she declined Curran’s request, she said she would reconsider his $100,000 bond once his efficiency was assessed by the Kentucky Correctional Center for Psychiatry.

Robert Curran’s attorney received an unusual request for his client Wednesday in Jefferson County Courthouse.

Curran, in prison for arson and endangerment, is accused of setting fire to his apartment complex off Hazlewood Road in Louisville on August 29.

His attorney asked the judge to release his client from prison so that Curran could receive mental health treatment at Central State Hospital.

The judge denied the request, but Curran’s family says the script speaks to a larger problem in the intertwined criminal justice and mental health systems.

“Perhaps a lot of this could have been avoided very well had it not been for the problems in the system that we have,” said Cody, Curran’s son.

Cody Curran said he made his dad obligated to mental health hospitals twice this summer, but both times said his dad was released within three days. While this complies with state law, he said the duration was not enough to meet his father’s needs.

Curran’s son said he also applied for a third mental investigation warrant, hoping to re-commit his father, the day before the fire.

“It’s a blessing that no one gets hurt,” he said. “What I would like to say [Curran’s neighbors] Ho, I’m sorry you had to go through this situation.”

Curran would like to see changes that allow family members to have more information about their loved one’s treatment, so they can help doctors make more informed decisions about whether to keep patients longer.

In court on Wednesday, Judge Julie Kaelin and even the district attorney, Assistant District Attorney Casey Holland, seemed sympathetic to Curran’s battle with bipolar disorder.

But Judge Kaelin also worries that there is no way to ensure Curran abides by the terms of his release — or to ensure that the central state can take him in the first place.

Although she declined Curran’s request, she said she would reconsider his $100,000 bond once his adequacy was assessed by the Kentucky Psychiatric Center.

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