Figured obtained by CBC News show nearly 30 per cent of people who receive conditional sentences in Nova Scotia are not abiding by the terms of those sentences.
A conditional sentence, sometimes called "house arrest," allows for offenders to serve their sentences in the community. The accused are supervised by a probation officer.
Numbers provided by the provincial Department of Justice show 546 conditional sentences were handed out last year. Of those, 158 were accused of breaching their conditions.
That means 28.9 per cent of those people are failing to meet the terms of their sentences.
The problem has not gone unnoticed.
Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy remarked on the problem during a sentencing hearing earlier this week.
"That, distressingly, has become common — that people who are subject to conditional sentences, I'm afraid some of them, the foolish ones, don't take them seriously," he said.
Kennedy was sentencing Tereeko Shondell Pyke, 20, on a charge of breach of conditions.
Pyke was one of four men convicted in an assault on a man in the Fairview area of Halifax early last year.
James Edward Sprague was attacked outside an apartment building on Evans Avenue. He suffered multiple stab wounds.
Pyke pleaded guilty to assault and received a two-year conditional sentence. He was arrested July 6, 2012 and charged with breaching his conditional sentence. He spent most of the summer in jail on the breach charge.
At Pyke's sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Justice Kennedy talked about the need for "educational sentencing" — taking someone who'd breached their conditional sentence and making an example of them.
He opted not to do that with Pyke, sentencing him to just a few more days in jail.
After that, Pyke will resume serving his conditional sentence for his assault conviction.
Kennedy warned Pyke that if he breaches his conditions again, he would almost certainly spend more time behind bars.