It's been three months since the initial news hit that one of Tori Stafford's killers, Terri Lynn McClintic, was moving from prison into a healing lodge. The news was quickly met with backlash, considering that McClintic was involved in the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Tori Stafford.
Since then, McClintic has been moved back into prison. But shortly after, McClintic's boyfriend at the time of the crime, Michael Rafferty, who is also serving for Stafford's death as well as rape, was up for consideration for medium security prison. Canadians were baffled as to how this could happen so shortly after the backlash over McClintic's proposed move. Most of all, how two killers of a young child could even be considered for easier treatment in jail.
For starters, it turns out that switches in security for prisoners aren't uncommon in general. Howard Sapers, the formal correctional investigator of Canada told CBC that "at some point in somebody's sentence - even somebody who's sentenced for a horrific crime and serving a long or perhaps even a life sentence - it is not unusual for them to be moved down the security ladder."
A member of the Parole Board of Canada named John Muise who had a critical role in McClintic's healing lodge transfer told CBC that he is aware of the upsetting nature of the situation for the Stafford family.
Though at the same, Muise time believes that McClintic's transfer was a typical progression for inmates serving a life sentence. As if there are "no institutional adjustment concerns, no escape concerns, they're usually cascaded to a medium-security institution" according to Muise.
Whether inmates are eligible for medium security has everything to do with their relationship with their parole officers and security staff. The staff monitors the inmates day in and day out to assess their custody rating, behaviour, participation in correctional plans, alcohol or drug use and take into account the severity of their offence. From there, the officers and staff determine if they inmate belongs in a maximum, medium or minimum level security facility.
This process is especially important when dealing with inmates who are serving time for murder but do not have a life sentence. By moving the inmates into lower security buildings throughout their sentence if they are behaving well, it makes their transition back into everyday life easier when they are released, according to Muise.
While the outrage over Tori Stafford's killers has resulted in a change in McClintic's situation while Michael Rafferty's situation remains pending, this won't mean an end to Canada's convicted killers getting an "easier" time in jail. Since in reality, the shift in security level doesn't actually mean inmates get an easier experience.
Howard Sapers puts the situation in the best words after telling CBC "people aren't sent to prison for punishment. They are sent to prison as punishment." While maximum security sounds like it provides more punishment for those living there, in reality, the main purpose of maximum security is to "afford more safety and security." Meaning Tori's killers will not be subject to any more punishment in high-security prison than they'd receive in medium security locations.
Source: CBC News