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Goodale orders tougher rules on prisoner transfers to Indigenous lodges following McClintic uproar

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  • Goodale orders tougher rules on prisoner transfers to Indigenous lodges following McClintic uproar

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has ordered Canada's prison system to tighten transfer policies in the wake of the controversial decision to move child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic to an Indigenous healing lodge.

    But it's not yet clear when, or if, McClintic*will be transferred back to a conventional women's prison, or if she has already been transferred.

    Goodale said Correctional Service Canada has been instructed to*improve policies related to transfers of "medium-security women offenders to facilities that do not have a directly controlled perimeter."

    "These changes will help ensure the public's confidence that our correctional system is holding guilty parties accountable for breaking the law‎, while fostering their rehabilitation, so we can have fewer repeat offenders, fewer victims, and ultimately safer communities,"*Goodale*said in a statement.

    McClintic, who is serving a life sentence for the brutal rape and murder of eight-year-old*Tori*Stafford of Woodstock, Ont., was transferred*from the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener, Ont., to the*Okima*Ohci*Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on*Nekaneet*First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.

    She is not eligible for parole until 2031.

    Transfer sparked outrage

    McClintic's*transfer sparked public outrage, protests and heated debate.*Tori's*father*Rodney Stafford wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appealing to him*"father to father"*to reverse*McClintic's*transfer.

    Under the new policy Goodale announced today, transfers will have to be authorized by CSC's deputy commissioner for women, who will be required to ensure that Indigenous communities are engaged in transfer recommendations.

    Factors in evaluating transfers to facilities without a controlled perimeter include:
    • Length of an offender's sentence.
    • Time remaining before an offender is eligible for an Unescorted Temporary Absence.
    • A requirement that long term offenders be at least into the "preparation for release" phase of their correctional plan.
    • Institutional behaviour, for those serving long sentences.
    Goodale's spokesman Scott Bardsley*said CSC*will take steps to apply the new rules as quickly as possible, but did not say if McClintic has been transferred or will be transferred soon.

    CSC is not permitted to publicly disclose an inmate's location, but relays transfer information to registered family members of victims, he said.

    Goodale*said the new rules will apply to future circumstances as well as current ones. Asked if the new policy will apply to McClintic, the minister said "yes."

    Reached by CBC*News, Tori's*father Rodney Stafford said he had not yet heard from correctional authorities.

    Goodale*ordered CSC*to*review the McClintic decision and the policy at large. He said the*minister has no legal power to intervene in individual cases, and that decisions about correctional and security classifications are based on what is best for the offender's rehabilitation and for public safety.

    Last month, the House of Commons defeated a Conservative motion calling on the*government to condemn and overturn the decision to transfer McClintic to the healing lodge.

    During the emotional Oct. 3*debate over the motion, Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt accused Trudeau of making "excuses" to avoid sending McClintic back to a conventional prison.

    Trudeau, in response, called the Conservatives "ambulance-chasing politicians" who show a contempt for the principles of law.

    McClintic*and her boyfriend Michael*Rafferty grabbed Stafford from a Woodstock street. The girl's body was found three months later. She had been beaten and raped.