Man convicted of crime moved to minimum-security healing lodge

The mother of a 17-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver is speaking out against the prison conditions of her son's killer.

Quinn Stevenson died in August 2013. 

26-year-old Robin John pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death.

He was sentenced to two years in prison in October 2014.

Now, Bonny Stevenson, Quinn's mother, is questioning why John was transferred to the Willow Cree Healing Centre in Duck Lake, near his home community on the Beardy's First Nation.

"He is serving first of all, a very minimal sentence of two years, in his hometown.  In a facility that is, in my thoughts, quite easy to get through," she said.

Stevenson learned of the transfer in January, after she applied to Corrections Canada to be kept updated on John. She said John was moved in December 2014, two months after going to prison.

She said her understanding was that he'd have to earn the right to move to a facility like Willow Cree.

"How, in two months, did he prove that he was already qualified to move into this minimum security facility?" she said.

With a parole hearing scheduled for John in May, Stevenson said she's now faced with having to go to his home turf if she wants to speak.
"I think the part that I've been struggling with a lot is how comfortable I really am going in to Duck Lake, to the Willow Creek Healing Lodge, to speak at a parole hearing there," she said.

She's asked supporters to write in to Corrections Canada. She said she's hoping that if enough people express an interest in attending, John's parole hearing may be moved to Saskatoon.

Stevenson criticized the process that led to John's sentencing. The court considered what are known as Gladue factors. The principle requires courts to look at alternatives to incarceration for aboriginal offenders.

"I dont think it should matter what colour your skin is. I think it's an absolute injustice ... I don't understand why we need a two-tiered system, and I do question how the tables would have been turned if this would have been a white person driving the car."

Stevenson said that on top of coping with the grief of losing her son, she's had considerable difficulty getting information out of Corrections.

"This whole process has been incredibly difficult for us, yet we're technically the victims. It seems like everything has rolled in (John's) favour all the way through."

Shaun Dyer, executive director of the John Howard Society in Saskatchewan, said Gladue factors are actually not applied as often as they could be. He said that nationally, between 40 and 60 per cent of male offenders and about seven in 10 females are aboriginal.

"If anything, there's a two-tiered justice system that does favour non-aboriginal people. And I think that's evidenced by the stats," he said.

Source: News Talk 980 CJME




Last updated on: 2015-07-13 | Link to this post