There has been a lot of talk about healing lodges after Tori Stafford’s killer was transferred to one from a traditional prison.
Moving Terry-Lynne McClintic, 28, to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Saskatchewan from Grand Valley outraged many Canadians.
But Marlene Orr, the director of the Stan Daniels Healing lodge in Alberta, said a healing lodge is an important option in the rehabilitation of some offenders.
She said an inmate is closely vetted and must show she really want to make changes in her life.
“They have to have good behavior while they are in the institution,” she told InFocus host Melissa Ridgen.
“They can’t be affiliated with any security threat groups, they can’t have been breaking the rules while they’ve been in prison. They have to demonstrate a commitment to working with us in addressing those root issues.”
Maximum security inmates are currently eligible to enter Stan Daniels healing centre, if they have worked their way to a medium- or minimum -security designation – regardless of the crime they were originally sentenced for.
That means they can become eligible to transfer to healing lodges, Orr added.
“And we very clearly lay out the expectations,” she said. “They also have to be supported by their team the institution which includes their parole officer and other correctional staff.”
But Matt Willan, who works with offenders through Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin in Manitoba, thinks some crimes are too serious to work off in a healing lodge.
“There are some crimes you commit that you can’t come back from,” he said.
Tori, 8, was walking home from school in Woodstock April 8, 2009, when McClintic approached her, promised to show her a puppy and lured her into a car driven by Michael Rafferty.
McClintic pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2010 and testified at Rafferty’s trial in 2012, where he was convicted of first-degree murder.
Tori’s father, Rodney, remains opposed to McClintic’s transfer.
“I do believe it is a good situation for some people who warrant going back out on the streets,” he said.
“But when it comes to the heinous acts behind a monstrous killer, of a child at that, how does somebody even remotely of this magnitude get into one of these facilitates?”
The Stafford family has started a petition to have McClintic returned to prison.