Correctional Service of Canada Statement regarding Paul Bernardo’s prison transfer

Correctional Service of Canada, issued the following statement today regarding the transfer of Paul Bernardo to medium security:

“The Correctional Service of Canada takes its work very seriously. Decisions are taken with utmost care for public safety and victims’ rights, and follow the rule of law.

First, we want to acknowledge that our decisions have an impact on victims.  These were horrific crimes and we regret any pain and concern this has caused.

We want to assure Canadians that this offender continues to be incarcerated in a secure and controlled institution – with every precaution in place to maintain public safety.

Secondly, we want Canadians to have confidence in our decisions. Therefore, Commissioner Kelly has ordered an additional review of this offender’s security classification to ensure it was appropriate, evidence-based, and more importantly, adequately considered victims.

We are restricted by the law in what we can divulge about an offender’s case. However, the following context is important.

Paul Bernardo has been incarcerated since 1993 and continues to serve an indeterminate and life sentence – the most serious possible in Canada. Dangerous offenders are closely monitored. It is important to know that medium security facilities have the same perimeter controls as maximum security institutions (high fences, armed controls, armed correctional officers equipped with proper security equipment, etc.). These facilities are strictly guarded 24/7, inmate movement is controlled, and we have rigorous security protocols.  

Our decisions on security levels must apply the law, as defined in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. In fact, a review is required every two years. This ensures that inmates continue to be placed at the appropriate security level, and that the placement responds to any reassessed security requirements. It is important to note that some inmates never make it to minimum security nor do they return to our communities.

We understand that Canadians want to know reasons for such transfers. Security classifications and transfers are based on: risk to public safety, escape risk, an offender’s institutional adjustment, and other case-specific information, such as psychological risk assessments.

Let us be clear that, at any point, an inmate can be placed, or returned to, a higher security level if deemed necessary to ensure the safety of the public or our institutions. And, pending the review, we will not hesitate to do so, if needed.

Throughout Paul Bernardo’s sentence, we have continued to provide information and updates to all registered victims through our National Victim Services Program, and will continue to do so moving forward.”

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