The woman who is serving a life sentence for the killing of Woodstock, Ont. girl Tori Stafford has been moved from a healing lodge back to a medium security prison, Stafford's father says.
Rodney Stafford says he received a phone call from Correctional Services Canada this morning to inform him that Terri Lynne McClintic was transferred to an Edmonton prison last night.
“I’m ecstatic. It’s a great feeling to know that justice is going to be served,” Stafford told CP24 by phone Thursday.
McClintic was transferred to a healing lodge in December, but Stafford was not informed about the move until August, when the convict applied for day passes.
When he found out, Stafford vocally opposed the move, saying the justice system “needs an overhaul.” He even led a protest to Ottawa calling for change.
He told CP24 Thursday that he’s happy he was able to bring about a change in the system.
“It feels great. It’s really great knowing that somebody starting out with one single voice can make a difference,” Stafford said. “I’m really at a loss for words, I’m so happy. Thank you, Canada.”
Yesterday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced changes around prisoner transfers to healing lodges. Among other changesis a new rulethat doesn’t allow prisoners serving long sentences to be eligible for transfers to healing lodges until they are in the “preparation for release” phase of their sentences.
Goodale said the changes would apply to old and new cases.
“With the policies that came into effect yesterday, her file is under review,” Stafford said he was told.
McClintic pleaded guilty in 2010 for her part in the abduction, sexual assault and murder of eight-year-old Victoria “Tori” Stafford in 2009. Her former boyfriend, Michael Rafferty, was convicted of kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm and first-degree murder in the case back in 2012. He is also serving a life sentence.
The revelation that McClintic had been moved from a regular prison to the secluded healing lodge sparked widespread outrage and calls for change.
It also prompted fierce criticism by the opposition Conservatives.
Reacting to the news Thursday, Scheer criticized the Liberals for not acting sooner.
“Justice is finally being served,” Scheer told reporters. “Justin Trudeau’s Liberals said that they could do nothing about it. They spent weeks saying that their hands were tied.”
He credited pressure from the public and the opposition for forcing the change.
Speaking with reporters Thursday Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she supports the changes implemented by Goodale.
“I completely support my colleague’s review and the changes that he has made,” Wilson-Raybould said.
“In the criminal justice system we need to ensure that we recognize and keep top of our mind public safety, respect for victims and their families and again, I’m just pleased at the initiative that the minister took and hopefully there won’t be situations like this in the future.”
For his part, Stafford said he’s happy that the government took action on the case.
“I see the reaction by the federal government as being a positive one because the steps have been made to put her back where she belongs,” he said.
He also had a message for other victims who see injustice in the system.
“Stand up for yourselves, you have the right to use your voice.”