The Van de Vorst family continues to heal after a drunk driver killed four of their relatives just north of Saskatoon over a year ago.
But recent news that Catherine McKay, the woman responsible, is no longer in a jail cell has left them shocked and looking for answers.
“I was disappointed. Hurt, quite frankly,” said Lou Van de Vorst, the father of Jordan Van de Vorst, who died along with his wife and two children in the crash.
Lou and his wife Linda recently learned that McKay, the woman convicted of drinking and driving in the January 2016 crash, only spent a month in jail before being moved to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Maple Creek, Sask.
“In sentencing, we heard the recommendation was for her to go to a federal institution and then in time into a healing lodge. But what ended up happening is that she went straight into the healing lodge,” he explained.
Van de Vorst admits he isn’t very familiar with healing lodges, but nonetheless feels the punishment doesn’t meet the severity of the crime.
WATCH BELOW: Lou Van de Vorst reacts to news that Catherine McKay has been moved to a healing lodge
There are nine healing lodges across Canada, including three in Saskatchewan – one of which is for women. The facility focuses on the reintegration and healing of indigenous offenders using culturally specific programming.
A representative from Correctional Service Canada (CSC) says there’s no time limit on how long an offender can stay at a healing lodge and it isn’t unheard of for an inmate to remain for an entire sentence.
The CSC’s website indicates each unit contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette with eating area and living room.
“Now it’s all about Catherine McKay and making sure she’s OK,” Van de Vorst said. “The victims are sidelined. There’s no thought about what the victims are still going through.”
The Van de Vorst family is drafting a letter to the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime to outline their concerns.