‘I just want out’
Hillsborough Hospital patient to wait in jail
“I just want out.” That’s what a 20-year-old woman with mental health issues told a judge Thursday as she explained why she attacked a Hillsborough Hospital employee three days earlier.
Those two punches to the worker’s head were meant to get the patient sent to jail and, for the time being, it worked.
The woman, who The Guardian has chosen not to name, was in provincial court before Chief Judge John Douglas for the second time in less than two weeks to deal with an assault charge.
After the first assault, during which she punched and bit a hospital employee, she didn’t end up in jail.
When Douglas refused to send her to jail the woman told him she would keep attacking people until she ended up there.
She kept that promise and Douglas sent her to jail Thursday where she will stay in custody until he sentences her next month. It was a situation he acknowledged was not ideal because he said it was a mental health case and not a criminal one. “It’s a tragic case yours.” The woman is under the guardianship of P.E.I.’s public guardian office and has been a patient at the Hillsborough Hospital for almost three years where she is confined to a room with only a mattress.
For a few days after the latest attack she didn’t even have that. Workers stand outside her door every day, all day to monitor her.
In 2013 she was involved in 36 incidents of self-harm or assault with six more in 2014.
The woman, who cried as she pleaded with Douglas to send her to jail, talked about the isolation she felt in her situation at the hospital.
“I have no control of my life right now,” she said.
Douglas was not alone in recognizing the woman’s situation was far from ideal.
Her probation officer, who was assigned after last week’s sentencing, reported a meeting was held July 13 with 22 people from various departments and agencies to try and find the best solution. That was the same day as the second attack.
Possible solutions included an out-of-province option or setting her up in her own apartment.
The woman, the court was told, didn’t meet the criteria for the out-of-province option and funding would be needed for an apartment.
“In the end, I can’t say there was a whole lot accomplished,” the probation officer said.
Thane MacEachern, the woman’s lawyer, said his client’s plan was to go to jail under her belief she could make calls on her own behalf and make arrangements for somewhere to stay.
He also said she wasn’t in a position to care for herself.
She repeated that plan when she addressed Douglas and promised him she wouldn’t cause any trouble or attack anyone again because the only reason she did it was to go to jail. “I’m that desperate to get out,” she said.
After remanding her into custody, Douglas warned the woman if she caused any trouble in jail she would be back in court and end up back in the situation she left.
“It’s your best hope of getting somewhere more suitable.”
The woman will be back in court on Aug. 18 for sentencing.
More than 20 people from various departments and agencies met recently to try and find the best solution for a young woman who has been living at the Hillsborough Hospital for three years and is so desperate to get out she is committing crimes so she’ll be sent to jail.