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Review of Paul Bernardo's transfer to medium-security prison underway

A review into the federal corrections service’s decision to move convicted killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison earlier this month has begun.

In a statement issued to CTV Power Play, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) said the three-person committee has started its work and is expected to complete its review “within a few weeks.”

“We know that Canadians want to know the reasons for this offender’s transfer. What we can say is that it was based on his security classification review, which is required every two years, and an analysis around the management of his risk within an institution,” a spokesperson for the service said in an email.

The review of the transfer, which the CSC said includes external representation, will investigate the “appropriateness” of Bernardo’s security classification and subsequent move to the La Macaza Institution in Quebec.

Moreover, the CSC said it will review victims considerations and notifications as well as determine whether the legislative policy framework was followed before the transfer was made.

Bernardo, 58, has been serving the last 10 years of his life sentence at the maximum-security Millhaven Institution near Kingston, Ont. Bernardo was convicted in 1995 for the kidnapping, torture and murders of 15-year-old Kristen French in 1991 and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy in 1992.

Paul Bernardo arrives at the provincial courthouse in the back of a police van wearing handcuffs and leg irons, in Toronto in a November 3, 1995, file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

He was also convicted of manslaughter in the death of Tammy Homolka, who died after being drugged and sexually assaulted, and has admitted to sexually assaulting 14 other women.

News of Bernardo’s transfer sparked strong words from Ontario Premier Doug Ford last Monday, who said the notorious killer should "rot in a maximum-security prison" for the rest of his "miserable existence."

A day later, Ford called on Anne Kelly, the federal corrections commissioner, to resign following the controversial decision.

“We want Canadians to have confidence in our decisions. Commissioner, I’ll tell you, no Canadians have confidence in your decisions,” Ford said at Queen’s Park on June 6.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has since raised the issue with Kelly, saying he was “profoundly concerned and shocked” by the decision.

However, Mendicino noted, because the federal corrections service operates as an independent institution, his office cannot review the decision itself.

The CSC underscored last week that the medium-security facility where Bernardo is currently located is strictly guarded and inmate movement is controlled. 

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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