So, we were informed this week of Trent’s new home: Westmorland Institution in Dorchester, New Brunswick. Sentenced to three years in a federal prison, he’s spent the first two months in a provincial institution called Springhill for processing. He may not have been convicted of murder in the first or second degree but in my mind, impaired driving causing death is still murder. I pictured him some place harsh, cold, six-by-six cell, hard bunk, stainless steel toilet…you get the picture.
Instead, it turns out it’s more like a halfway house. Westmorland Institution is a minimum-security facility, the only in Atlantic Canada. It opened in 1975 and can accommodate 252 inmates. It’s a campus-style complex including a number of row-houses for offenders and a community building with staff office facilities. The Institution offers a range of personal development, academic and vocational programs.
I am not sure how any of you would feel if someone had gotten drunk and killed your mother-in-law but I know for me, it’s a tough pill to swallow thinking of Trent living in his own room, with a decent bed, allowed to roam around, have visitors every day, and perhaps get trained for a new vocation for when he’s eligible for parole in less than four months.
I would imagine anyone who’s been victimized in some way by another person feels this way. I think it comes from an innate wanting to feel…to know…that the person who hurt you was forced to suffer, in a least some small degree, the same way you did. I know for me, I want Trent to hurt the same way he has hurt my family. I want him to feel the loneliness, the longing to see a loved one’s face more than anything, the wantingness to hear that voice one last time so deeply and badly, it overwhelms your every sense. I want to know that he’s been forced to experience the sense of time and memories stolen, robbed from you in the middle of the night. I want to know that he’s felt that pain and desolation to the same degree that I know my Mamma K family has.
In the end, my head knows that nothing can ever “make it right” – no amount of time in a cold, dank prison cell – but my heart still wants for it.