Tori Stafford was an 8-year-old girl from Woodstock, Ontario, who was tragically kidnapped, raped and murdered by two people in 2009. One of the killers, Terri Lynne McClintic, who was then 18-years-old, was convicted in 2010 for first-degree murder. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years. The other murderer involved, Michael Rafferty and McClintic's boyfriend at the time, was sentenced to life in prison.
Recently, the public was made aware that the convicted murderer, McClintic, was transferred from a high-security prison to a much more comfortable facility: a healing lodge. This sparked widespread controversy and outcry and from the family and the public, with many people planning protests on the streets in Ottawa.
She was transferred earlier this year from a federal prison in Ontario to an Aboriginal healing lounge in Saskatchewan, called the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge. Previously, she was serving her life sentence at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario.
Spending your sentence in prison versus a healing lodge is different on many levels, from the intensity of security to the daily tasks and living comfort of the inmates.
So what exactly is an Aboriginal healing lodge in Canada? They are correctional institutions where the approach to "corrections is holistic and spiritual", according to the website of the Correctional Service Canada (CSC). The CSC is in charge of operating several of the healing lodges in Canada, including the one McClintic is staying at. Their programs are guided by Aboriginal values.
The level of security at healing lodges for women is minimum/medium-security. Non-Indigenous people can also live in healing lodges, but they "must choose to follow Aboriginal programming and spirituality".
Terri Lynne McClintic is currently staying at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. The lodge has minimum to medium levels of security and each unit has a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchenette with a dining area, and a living room – living comforts that prisons do not typically have. The women there do tasks such as cooking, laundry, cleaning, and outdoor maintenance and attend training programs and workshops.
There are also no fences or anything similar to prohibit people from escaping at the healing lodge, yet there was a barb wire fence at the prison where McClintic used to be. The National Post reported in 2016 that 18 inmates had escaped from healing lodges in Canada in five years, however many escapees were recaptured or returned on their own volition.
Check out the photos of the specific healing lodge the killer of Tori Stafford is currently staying at:
The prison McClintic was serving her sentence in previously was a federal prison that had a barb wire fence. There was a range of security levels, from minimum to maximum. For maximum security inmates, they only get an hour outside on weekdays and two hours on weekends, according to CTV News. Many inmates lived in buildings that were in the prison’s yard and had to clean and cook.
Currently, the federal government has said that they will be reviewing this controversial decision to transfer this first-degree murderer from prison to a healing lodge. In response to her transfer, Trudeau has said that McClintic is classified as a medium security risk, according to CBC News. A protest for this transfer is being organized for November 2, 2018 at Ottawa Parliament Hill, and so far it has over 900 people interested in attending on Facebook.