Saskatchewan made headlines recently because of an impaired driver, but the crash that brought the Saskatchewan drunk driving problem to the front pages wasn’t a recent one. This time a man who killed a family of four in a drunk driving crash was released from prison and sent to a healing lodge after only serving a month of a ten year sentence.
People were understandably outraged by this Saskatchewan drunk driving sentence, even after receiving assurances from the offender’s lawyer that a healing lodge is similar to a prison. In the case of a healing lodge, the focus is on rehabilitating the offender and reintegrating them into society rather than simply marking time behind bars.
Now another repeat offender has caused a drunk driving crash that killed his passenger, and people in Saskatchewan may wonder if the same thing will happen in this case. Guy Orlando Gamble from Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation to One Arrow First Nation was driving on a highway near Duck Lake when he crashed into the ditch. His passenger died in the crash, and when police took his blood alcohol content (BAC) they found he was between .17 and .14.
The offender pleaded guilty, and although he’s now received a stiff sentence like the offender who’s gone onto a healing lodge, he may well end up serving his entire eight year sentence. He’s already been in jail for two years waiting for trial, and prosecutors say he’ll serve the remaining six years and be banned from driving for fifteen years when he gets out.
Two stiff Saskatchewan drunk driving sentences and what seems to be two very different outcomes: it does matter how these two offenders serve their time, because offenders who pay for their crime are examples to anyone who might want to drink and drive. But what really matters at the end of the day is that five innocent people are dead, and in both situations, the families justice may never feel as though it’s been served.