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Ontario minister 'disappointed' at report of McClintic in healing lodge

Terri-Lynne McClintic, convicted in the death of 8-year-old Woodstock, Ont., girl Victoria Stafford, is escorted into court in Kitchener, Ont., on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 for her trial in an assault on another inmate while in prison. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

Ontario’s correctional services minister said he was “shocked and disappointed” that a woman convicted in the 2009 murder of an eight-year-old girl has reportedly been transferred from prison to a healing lodge in Saskatchewan.

Michael Tibollo told the legislature on Tuesday that he will be speaking with federal officials about the decision involving Terri-Lynne McClintic.

“Decisions like this made by our federal government can seriously impact the public’s confidence in our correctional systems,” he said. “My ministry will continue to monitor this matter as it unfolds to see what we can do in this unfortunate situation … and try to correct what has been done.”

McClintic was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Tori Stafford in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years.

The London Free Press reported Stafford’s grandmother saying Correctional Service Canada notified her family of McClintic’s move to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge.

The lodge in Maple Creek, Sask., is run by Correctional Service Canada and is for offenders that require a minimum to medium security level. Women at the facility learn how to live independently by cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and doing outdoor maintenance chores, according to Correctional Service Canada’s website.

Tori’s father expressed his frustration at McClintic’s move in several Facebook posts.

“She gets her life back in multiple ways and we will NEVER see our little Victoria again,” Rodney Stafford wrote. “Do we not get a notice or a say in ANYTHING?”

A spokeswoman said in an email that the Correctional Service of Canada could not comment on the reported transfer due to the Privacy Act.

Correctional Service Canada’s website says such lodges are correctional institutions where Aboriginal values, traditions and beliefs are used to design services and programs for offenders.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal offenders can live at the facilities but all must follow Indigenous programming and spiritually, the website said.

“In all cases, we thoroughly assess an offender’s risk to public safety before a decision is made to move him or her to a healing lodge,” the website said.

McClintic’s co-accused Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder in Tori’s death.