Correctional Service Canada examining transfer of child-killer Rafferty to medium security

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada's prison system is reviewing the controversial transfer of child-killer Michael Rafferty from a maximum security institution to a minimum security one this past March.

Tori Stafford's killer is behind two fences with razor wire and guard towers, says Goodale

Michael Rafferty was transferred in March from a maximum security prison to a medium security institution, weeks after his co-conspirator in the rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, Terri-Lynne McClintic, was returned to prison after being relocated to an Indigenous healing lodge. (Ontario Provincial Police)

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada's prison system is reviewing the controversial transfer of child-killer Michael Rafferty from a maximum security institution to a medium security one this past March.

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa Tuesday morning, Goodale said "the Correctional Service of Canada is examining every step in this process to determine if there were any errors or mistakes."

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale says he's not going to get into a debate with the "grieving father" of Tori Stafford over her co-killer, Michael Rafferty, being transferred to a medium security prison in March. 1:06

Rafferty's transfer was revealed by Rodney Stafford — father of Rafferty's victim, eight-year-old Tori Stafford — in a lengthy post on his Facebook page on Monday and later confirmed by CBC News.

Goodale also suggested that — unlike Rafferty's co-conspirator in the rape and murder, Terri-Lynne McClintic, who was controversially transferred from a medium security prison to an Indigenous healing lodge — Rafferty is now where he should be.

"It's a facility that specializes in the treatment of sex offenders," he said. "And that's where Rafferty is, behind the razor wire."

Stafford said he was not informed by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) about the transfer last spring. He further said he wasn't informed of the transfer during a recent meeting with the service's commissioner, Anne Kelly.

"We had asked [Kelly] directly, to her face, 'Was there any change to Michael Rafferty that I should know about?' ... I never did get an answer — until today, apparently," Stafford told CBC's Power & Politics on Monday evening.

Goodale, asked about Stafford's claim that he was not informed, said only that he has no intention of getting "into a debate with a grieving father."

Watch Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale discuss the Rafferty case on Power & Politics

"He's behind razor wire where he belongs," says the public safety minister. 3:03

'Behind the razor wire'

The minister did, however, appear to justify the decision by the CSC to transfer Rafferty from the Port Cartier Institution, a maximum-security facility about 600 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, to the La Macaza Institution, a medium-security facility about 190 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

"Rafferty is in a correctional facility in Quebec that has two fences that are three-and-a-half metres high, that are subject to both physical patrolling and electronic surveillance, three guard towers and razor wire," Goodale said, emphasizing the facility's sex offender treatment programs. He later repeated much the same words when questioned by the Conservatives during question period.

Goodale gave no indication of when CSC would report back to the minister about whether all the required processes were followed in Rafferty's transfer.

The treatment of Tori Stafford's killers became a political flashpoint in September when Rodney Stafford revealed that McClintic, who is serving a life sentence for her part in the the brutal rape and murder of his daughter, was transferred from the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener, Ont., to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.

The transfer resulted in several heated exchanges in the House of Commons. Goodale ordered a review of the practice of transferring prisoners to healing lodges that resulted in McClintic being returned to a traditional prison last month.

With files from Olivia Chandler

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