‘Unequal Justice’

“The lawyer for a drunk driver who killed a family of four in Saskatoon last year has defended ‘alternative justice’ measures after the bereaved family expressed outrage that the driver was no longer in a penitentiary.


“In January, Catherine McKay received a sentence of 10 years for killing Chanda and Jordan Van de Vorst and their children, Kamryn and Miguire, while she was driving impaired.

“Jordan’s father, Lou Van de Vorst, expressed outrage this week after McKay was transferred to a healing lodge for ‘indigenous’ {‘Siberian settler’} women one month after she received her sentence.

“We’re hurt. We’re angry. We’re upset,” said Van de Vorst. “To me the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Something’s not right there.” {!} 

“…Van de Vorst worries the quick transition to the healing lodge sends the wrong message at a time when the Saskatchewan government is trying to curb drinking and driving.

“In January 2016, McKay failed to halt at a stop sign and collided with another car carrying the Van de Vorst family. She had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit. McKay, 49, pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death in June 2016.

“McKay’s lawyer, Leslie Sullivan, said the sentence was the most severe in Saskatchewan history and one of the most severe in Canada {A sentence whose severity is undermined by this nonsense…}.

Lawyer Leslie Sullivan without evidence says healing lodges and other alternative justice measures are effective in reducing crime. (Jason Warick--CBC)
Lawyer Leslie Sullivan without evidence says healing lodges and other alternative justice measures are effective in reducing crime. (Jason Warick–CBC)

“She said healing lodges and other alternative justice measures make society safer.
{There is no evidence to support this conclusion (See below…). Certainly, reserves are LESS safe than most Canadian communities…}

“Inmates eventually are released back into the community. Therefore, one of the goals is they be rehabilitated,” Sullivan said. “Any form of healing, rehabilitation process, restorative justice process that assists in that goal is a good thing.”

“Sullivan, who is an advocate for zero tolerance of drinking and driving {Nonsense! Her position on this issue belies that…}, said these measures are not appropriate for all inmates. Some are not yet ready to be placed in lower security situations…

“There are currently nine correctional service healing lodges across the country, with three located in Saskatchewan. The minimum-to-medium security facility for women is located in Maple Creek, Sask.

“She said the healing lodge focuses on ‘indigenous’ culture, teachings and ceremonies while also holding people accountable in hopes that they can become rehabilitated and repay their debt to the community…

“Senator Kim Pate, the former executive director of the ‘Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies’, also said a healing lodge is still considered a prison.

“It’s supposed to look at particular issues faced by ‘indigenous’ prisoners and allow an opportunity for them to deal with issues that have led to them being criminalized,” said Pate to CBC Radio One’s ‘Afternoon Edition’.
{They weren’t passively “criminalized” — they actively committed crimes!!!}

Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst and their two-year-old son, Miguire, and five-year-old daughter, Kamryn, were killed in January 2016. (Van de Vorst family vigil--Facebook)
Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst and their two-year-old son, Miguire, and five-year-old daughter, Kamryn, were killed in January 2016. (Van de Vorst family vigil–Facebook)

“In October last year, the Saskatchewan government announced it was introducing new laws to crack down on drunk drivers.

“The new rules, which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, include tougher penalties {Like healing lodges?} and vehicle seizures for first-time offences…

“According to ‘Statistics Canada’, Saskatchewan led the provinces in its impaired driving rate in 2015.

“The province had 575 impaired driving incidents per 100,000 people reported by police that year.

“By comparison, Alberta’s rate, the second-highest, was 314 per 100,000 people.

“Rates of impaired driving in Regina and Saskatoon were third and sixth highest in the country respectively.”

–‘Van de Vorst family outraged after drunk driver Catherine McKay sent to healing lodge’,
Jason Warick, CBC News, Feb. 24, 2017
Feature IMAGE: Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, Saskatchewan


Catherine McKay killed four while driving drunk and was sentenced to 10 years. A month after sentencing, she was sent to a healing lodge for ‘indigenous’ women. (Victoria Dinh-CBC)
Catherine McKay killed four while driving drunk and was sentenced to 10 years. A month after sentencing, she was sent to a healing lodge for ‘indigenous’ women. (Victoria Dinh–CBC)

“One month after Catherine McKay was sentenced to 10 years for an impaired driving collision that killed a family of four in Saskatchewan, she was transferred to a ‘holistic’ correctional facility…

McKay’s transfer has angered relatives of the victims, who say the living situation lessens the consequences of her crime. Others have expressed similar frustrations online.

“Healing lodges have been used by ‘Correctional Services Canada’ since the mid-1990s… The lodges operate with ‘indigenous’ programming, often with help from local ‘indigenous’ communities… According to ‘Corrections Services Canada’, the idea of operating healing lodges was first proposed by the ‘Native Women’s Association of Canada’ in the early 1990s… Of Canada’s nine healing lodges, four are managed by ‘Correctional Services Canada’ and five are run by community partner organizations that sign an agreement with the federal agency.”

–‘What is a healing lodge? Inmate’s transfer to holistic facility renews questions’,
CTVNews.ca, February 24, 2017



“Asked about recidivism rates among former inmates released from healing lodges, Correctional Service of Canada spokeswoman Megan Hooper responded

“This information is not readily available.” {!?!}

“In 2013, a CSC backgrounder claimed that recidivism rates from those who had completed programs at three of the facilities were 6% — roughly half that of the national federal recidivism rate of 11%.

“However, other research contradicts those optimistic figures. A 2001 study found the recidivism rate for offenders who attended healing lodges was 19% — higher than the 13% registered for aboriginal offenders who were released from conventional minimum security facilities…

{“In terms of outcome, of the 426 residents who were released, 19% (83) were readmitted for a new offence within four years of release. This percentage is significantly higher than among Aboriginal offenders released from minimum security (13%)…”
–‘An Examination of Healing Lodges for Federal Offenders in Canada’
http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/research/r130-eng.shtml }

“…Healing lodges in general…have been plagued by frequent and recurrent escapes, sometimes by dangerous offenders deemed a high risk to re-offend; while many escapees are recaptured peacefully, and some even return on their own, over the past two decades, escapees from Pe Sakastew have been involved in police standoffs, shootouts, a hostage taking and even a suicide.

“According to the ‘Correctional Service of Canada’ (CSC), 18 inmates have escaped ‘First Nations’ healing lodges over the past five years. Pe Sakastew, a 60-bed facility comprised of teepee-like chalets surrounded by a chain-link fence, has recorded 34 escapees since 1999…”

–‘Undermining Public Safety’ (Healing Lodges) {August 21, 2016}:

Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan
Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan

“Aboriginal Healing Lodges are correctional institutions where we use Aboriginal values, traditions and beliefs to design services and programs for offenders. We include ‘Aboriginal concepts of justice’ and reconciliation. The approach to corrections is holistic and spiritual. Programs include guidance and support from Elders and Aboriginal communities.

“CSC’s healing lodges for Aboriginal women offenders are minimum/medium-security facilities. For Aboriginal men, they are minimum-security facilities. Non-Aboriginal offenders can also live at a healing lodge. However, they must choose to follow Aboriginal programming and spirituality

“Two important issues prompted the creation of healing lodges.

{Some} Members of the Aboriginal community were very concerned that mainstream prison programs ‘do not work’ for Aboriginal offenders.

“There is a dramatic over-representation of Aboriginal people in Canada’s correctional system…”
{No, there is “a dramatic over-representation of Aboriginal people” in the COMMISSION of crimes, which RESULTS in “a dramatic over-representation of Aboriginal people in Canada’s correctional system”!}

–‘Correctional Service Canada Healing Lodges’



See also:
Conning The System’ (Gladue) {October 18, 2016}:

The Folly Of ‘Gladue’ {August 28, 2016}:


What Happened To Legal Equality?‘ (Gladue) {June 1, 2015}: http://endracebasedlaw.net/what-happened-to-legal-equality/

Judge Gives No Jail Time‘ (Two-Tiered Justice) {February 16, 2015}:

Doing The Crime, But Not The Time‘ (Widdowson) {December 1, 2014}:

Pushing Native Spirituality In Prison{November 19, 2016}:
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