Judge says jail inappropriate, expensive option for offender
James Allan Broderick is falling through the cracks.
The 43-year-old man has mental health issues, has problems with alcohol and last week he was in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after he failed to appear in court on another offence.
Broderick’s situation left Chief Judge John Douglas unsure of what to do.
“Jail keeps him off the street but it’s an inappropriate and very expensive option,” Douglas said.
Broderick previously entered guilty pleas for theft and failing to appear in court and Douglas had sentenced him to 60 days in jail for the theft. He put off sentencing for failing to appear in court hoping to hear something positive from Adult Protection Services.
It wasn’t Broderick’s first jail sentence and he has a lengthy criminal record that Crown attorney John McMillan described as being about half an inch thick.
But a pre-sentence report prepared for his most recent court appearance laid out some of the problems in dealing with Broderick, who has had several assessments to help determine what services would be available to him.
P.E.I.’s Adult Protection Services has been involved in Broderick’s case, but told probation services he required 24-hour supervision in a locked facility, which the province doesn’t have.
The court heard that community care isn’t secure enough for Broderick and hasn’t been successful with him when tried in the past.
P.E.I. doesn’t have residential housing for people who don’t meet the criteria for adult group homes or the Hillsborough Hospital and the province doesn’t have a strategy in place for people who need specialized, structured housing, the report said.
Adult Protection Services considers Broderick a vulnerable adult but doesn’t have an open file on him because there is nowhere they can refer him to.
The report said even if Broderick’s case went to court to have him deemed to be an adult in need of protection there still wouldn’t be any housing options available.
It also said Broderick lives a transient lifestyle and stays at his mother’s home when he is sober and occasionally at Deacon House, which is a shelter for men with substance abuse or chemical dependency problems.
“He continues to abuse substances without any regard for his own safety and health and continues to have no insight into his actions,” the report said.
After reading from the report, McMillan said probation has no effect on Broderick and when he is in jail he has no access to services he could benefit from.
McMillan said the police pick Broderick up and take him to jail almost every night for being drunk in public.
“For his own protection as much as anything else.”
With jail as the only option for Broderick, Douglas said it costs close to $300 a night to keep him there and with the 40 days is going to end up spending in custody the total bill for the province will end up at around $11,200.
“But there’s no money to establish the type of residence he needs in the community,” Douglas said.
Douglas eventually sentenced Broderick to 60 days concurrent to any time he is already serving and ordered him to pay $200 in victim surcharges.
After handing down the sentence, Douglas said he would think about who in government he could forward a copy of the pre-sentence report.
“We’ll await Mr. Broderick’s release and, unfortunately, no doubt his reappearance in court,” Douglas said.