Van de Vorsts want McKay to complete more programming before another leave application
The Van de Vorst family tell CTV News they would like Catherine McKay to complete more programming before released. (Daniel Shingoose/CTV Saskatoon)
Catherine McKay has completed some programming during her time incarcerated for impaired driving causing death but her victims’ family says she still has mandated programming to complete.
Linda and Lou Van de Vorst receive information from Correctional Service of Canada about McKay’s programming, rehabilitation progress, applications and other changes during her sentence.
The Parole Board of Canada denied McKay’s application for unescorted temporary absences to see her family Friday and the Van de Vorsts say they are relieved because the application seemed premature. They would like McKay to continue completing programing before the leave be authorized.
“If you’re in a place that provides the courses and the help that you need to work on your situation, I would hope that those courses would be given to her and help her so that when she does have the opportunity to have her freedom again that she will take what she’s learned and put it into her own life,” Linda said.
CSC is mandated to help offenders reintegrate into society, while keeping the public safe. The goal of programming is to make offenders accountable for their behavior, to change pro-criminal attitudes and teach them how to manage any problematic behaviour.
“Correctional programs are based on research of ‘what works,’” Megan Hooper, a spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada, said.
Hopper said voluntary programming can be a factor in the parole board’s decisions to transfer or release an offender in the community.
Correctional programs are designed are designed to target specific crimes including family violence, substance abuse and sexual offending with the goal of reducing future re-offending. Courses are offered for different genders, cultures and languages.
The John Howard Society said the criminal justice system’s fundamental principle is public safety, which means offenders must be rehabilitated through programming.
“We’re not going to throw away the key, we’re not locking people up forever. They are going to get out, so we really need to put some effort into when they get out that they have programs, support systems in place,” Jamie Boldt, acting CEO of the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan, said.
On Jan. 3, 2016, McKay’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit when she ran a stop sign and crashed into a car carrying the Van de Vorst family. Linda and Lou’s son Jordan and his wife Chanda died, and their two children, Kamryn, 5, and Miguire, 2, died in the crash.
McKay has served nearly two years of her 10-year sentence and was transferred to a healing lodge about one month in.
Mckay has been “very active in her correctional plan” and has shown insight into her risk factors, her parole officer said during the parole board hearing Friday. McKay also expressed interest in completing additional programming.