Terri-lynne Mcclin­tic back in prison

North Bay Nugget - - OPINION - Michelle Mcquigge

a con­victed child killer who be­came the sub­ject of na­tional out­rage when it was learned she’d been trans­ferred to an in­dige­nous heal­ing lodge is back in prison, the fa­ther of her young vic­tim said thurs­day.

rod­ney Stafford is­sued a brief, cel­e­bra­tory Face­book post an­nounc­ing that terri-lynne mcclin­tic was no longer at the Saskatchewan lodge. he later told a toronto me­dia out­let that mcclin­tic, who pleaded guilty in the bru­tal death of his eight-yearold daugh­ter, had been re­lo­cated to a prison in ed­mon­ton overnight.

“it’s of­fi­cial!!! terri-lynne is back be­hind bars,” he wrote in the on­line post.

mcclin­tic be­came a fig­ure of na­tional in­famy af­ter de­tails emerged about tori Stafford’s 2009 slay­ing.

the girl from Wood­stock, ont., who was miss­ing for three months be­fore her body was found, had been ab­ducted, re­peat­edly raped, and ul­ti­mately blud­geoned to death with a ham­mer.

mcclin­tic, 18 at the time of the killing, pleaded guilty in 2010 and of­fered tes­ti­mony that helped con­vict her then boyfriend, michael raf­ferty.

in sep­a­rate pro­ceed­ings, mcclin­tic and raf­ferty were both sen­tenced to life in prison with­out any chance of pa­role for 25 years.

rod­ney Stafford learned, how­ever, that eight years into that sen­tence, mcclin­tic was qui­etly re­lo­cated to the heal­ing lodge, a fa­cil­ity run by Cor­rec­tions Canada and touted as a path to re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for in­dige­nous of­fend­ers. the re­mote, ru­ral lodge is listed as a medium-se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tion for women.

Stafford, who has emerged as a child safety ad­vo­cate in the years since his daugh­ter’s death, found him­self at the cen­tre of a charged po­lit­i­cal con­tro­versy when word of mcclin­tic’s trans­fer emerged.

Prime min­is­ter Justin trudeau and his Lib­eral govern­ment came un­der fierce crit­i­cism for both the ini­tial trans­fer and the fact that no move was im­me­di­ately made to re­verse it.

the govern­ment said it would re­view the trans­fer de­ci­sion, and the Con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion re­peat­edly raised the is­sue, call­ing on the Lib­er­als to place mcclin­tic back in prison.

on Wed­nes­day, Pub­lic Safety min­is­ter ralph good ale an­nounced more strin­gent mea­sures gov­ern­ing trans­fers to heal­ing lodges, adding that the new ap­proach would be ap­plied in both past and fu­ture cases.

in an in­ter­view with toronto tele­vi­sion sta­tion CP24, Stafford gave ot­tawa some credit for send­ing mcclin­tic back to a tra­di­tional prison.

“i see the re­ac­tion from the fed­eral govern­ment as be­ing a pos­i­tive one be­cause the steps have been made to put her back to where she had to go and where she be­longs,” he said.

dur­ing a protest on Par­lia­ment hill ear­lier this month, Stafford said he didn’t want mcclin­tic’s trans­fer to be­come a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball, but be­lieved the is­sue had to be­come po­lit­i­cal in or­der to ef­fect change.

the new rules an­nounced by goodale spec­ify that pris­on­ers won’t be el­i­gi­ble for trans­fers to heal­ing lodges with­out se­cured perime­ters un­til they’re into the “prepa­ra­tion for re­lease” phases of their sen­tences. in mcclin­tic’s case, she would not be el­i­gi­ble for such a move un­til she nears the end of her 25-year sen­tence.

the cor­rec­tional ser­vice of canada will also have to con­sider in­mates’ be­hav­iour and how close they are to be­ing el­i­gi­ble for un­escorted tem­po­rary ab­sences from prison be­fore trans­fer­ring them.

in ad­di­tion, the deputy com­mis­sioner for women will be in­volved in de­ci­sions to en­sure na­tional stan­dards are ap­plied con­sis­tently and rel­e­vant fac­tors are con­sid­ered.

goodale said heal­ing lodges still have a role to play in the cor­rec­tional sys­tem but ac­knowl­edged a need for more pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in how pris­oner de­ci­sions get made.

“these are de­ci­sions that are not taken lightly or capri­ciously,” he said. “they are based on ev­i­dence and sound prin­ci­ples, and there needs to be a higher level of un­der­stand­ing of that.”

in ad­di­tion, there must be more mean­ing­ful and use­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion with vic­tims given the an­guish they have suf­fered, he said.

“they need to know that their per­spec­tive is be­ing prop­erly re­spected.”

goodale said vic­tims’ fam­i­lies would be in­formed in cases when the new rules are ap­plied. Stafford con­firmed to CP24 that Cor­rec­tions Canada of­fi­cials called him to no­tify him of mcclin­tic’s move on thurs­day morn­ing.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Terri-lynne Mcclin­tic, cen­tre, con­victed in the death of eight-year-old Vic­to­ria Stafford, is es­corted into court in Kitch­ener, Ont., in 2012 for her trial in an as­sault on an­other in­mate. The fa­ther of Stafford, who was bru­tally mur­dered says Mcclin­tic, who was spend­ing time in an In­dige­nous heal­ing lodge, is back in prison.

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