KINGSTON - Schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo feels he has suffered enough in maximum security and has applied to be transferred to the medium-security comforts of condo-style prison housing.
It’s not a slam dunk but, much to the disgust of the father of the slain Kristen French, the 48-year-old has still asked to be granted just that.
With Kingston Penitentiary no longer housing prisoners in 60 days, its most notorious inmate is trying to have his security status lowered to avoid being shipped out to Quebec, sources say.
They say because he doesn’t want to end up at a prison like the super maximum-security pen in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines near Montreal, the notorious killer and Scarborough rapist, who is serving a life sentence and has been slapped with a dangerous offender designation, has applied to be moved from the Kingston Pen this summer to new special housing at the medium-security Bath Institution just 20 minutes away.
“Whether he gets his request or not is not yet known,” said a corrections source. “But he has applied and he is entitled to apply.”
It seems inconceivable the sex killer responsible for the deaths in the early 1990s of French, 15, Leslie Mahaffy, 14, and Tammy Homolka, 15, could end up being allowed to move from a maximum security solitary confinement to a new $22-million independent living area with a kitchen and living room.
But several sources say it has been done for killers in the past.
And with the prison closing, the timing might be right.
“Our mandate is rehabilitation and others have had their designations downgraded before,” said a source.
There have been media reports that Bernardo, like Russell Williams and the Shafias, is already in Quebec but sources say he is still at KP while corrections officials sort out where he will end up.
Kingston Pen assistant warden Michele Vermette would not confirm Bernardo’s whereabouts, saying the penitentiary does not comment on inmates.
She did confirm that after Sept. 30 the prison will no longer have prisoners for the first time in 178 years.
Other insiders say it’s very telling Bernardo is still in the region.
The move will be controversial either way.
It is not the first time that Bernardo has applied to have his designation reduced since he arrived there in 1995 , said a source.
“In those new living areas the inmates have their own keys and everything else,” said a longtime guard. “But there is nothing unusual about killers living in these kinds of settings and they are all entitled to apply.”
In fact award-winning Canadian crime writer and author Rob Tripp reported on his CanCrime blog last week “although it may seem highly unlikely that a criminal as notorious as Bernardo would be considered for a transfer to lower security, the idea isn’t out of the question and there may no longer be any legal impediment to the transfer.”
The author of Without Honour on the shocking Shafia murder case reported, “Bernardo believes he deserves to live in the more comfortable and less restrictive confines of a medium-security prison” since “Bernardo has been locked in a small cell, about five feet wide by 10 feet long, 23 hours a day.”
Tripp, a former Sun Media reporter, wrote, “Bernardo covets a spot at medium-security Bath Institution, a complex of cottage-style dormitories on a sprawling 640-acre lake front property.”
But my sources tell me the best way to describe it is as a “condo or commune” style that have modern amenities but are still secure.
No matter how it’s rationalized the concept galls French, whose daughter Bernardo kidnapped and killed April 19, 1992.
“Too bad they don’t put him out in the yard with the rest of the boys,” French said.
But the news does not surprise him, he said.
“It doesn’t,” French said. “That son of a bitch gets away with everything.”
In the past French has spoken out in the St. Catharines Standard on his concerns over the thought Bernardo’s wife Karla Homolka could ever receive a pardon and talked to reporters of his displeasure over the release by a judge of a 2007 police interview video conducted at Kingston Pen in the murder investigation of Elizabeth Bain.
Also, upon word Homolka had moved to an island his comment to a reporter was, “What can we do about it, she is as free as a bird.”
That was hard to take and now this.
However saying, “We want to stay away from that stuff,” French said, he won’t formally complain.
But if asked, he will say, “As far as I am concerned he should be locked up and not get any special privileges and not get anything.”
Paul Bernardo applies for transfer to medium-security prison | Ontario | News | Toronto Sun
“Bernardo believes he deserves to live in the more comfortable and less restrictive confines of a medium-security prison”
“Bernardo has been locked in a small cell, about five feet wide by 10 feet long, 23 hours a day.”
Just the idea that this might be granted makes my skin crawl.