NCR prisoners at Shepody being transferred to provincial responsibility: feds

SAINT JOHN – Not criminally responsible inmates at the Shepody Healing Centre will soon become the province’s responsibility.

These inmates include Gregory Despres who was found guilty, but not criminally responsible, for the brutal murders of his elderly neighbours Fred Fulton, 74 and Verna Decarie, 70, in 2005. He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has been at Shepody since 2008.

READ MORE: Not criminally responsible myths, debunked

In an e-mail to Global News, Corrections Services Canada spokesperson Sara Parkes wrote: “inmates deemed not criminally responsible who require hospital-level care will be returned to provincial responsibility. CSC will be working in collaboration with government officials in the Province of New Brunswick for the safe transfer of these offenders.”

Requests for comment with New Brunswick’s Minister of Justice Stephen Horsman on this matter were denied Wednesday.

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The NB Department of Justice told Global News that as far as they were concerned Shepody was a federal matter and they would not be commenting further at this time.

Mary Kennedy-Fulton, Fred Fulton’s daughter-in-law told Global News she felt upset that she first heard about the change of policy at Corrections through the media, adding this seems to fly in the face of the intent of federal Bill C-32 Victim’s Bill of Rights Act.

“[It] said the victims rights are supposed to be paramount; they’re supposed to be important,” she told Global News. “I don’t feel important right now.”

The changes mean that Despres and other inmates will be moved. In New Brunswick, there are two facilities that could potentially take NCR inmates: the Southeast Regional Correction Centre in Shediac or the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton.

Kennedy-Fulton and her family have fought several times to stop Despres from being transferred to Restigouche, including in May and October 2013.

In both cases, the review panel denied the application to have him moved to Restigouche because it is less secure.

“Our family always goes to his mental competency hearings to determine has he made any progress and he hasn’t made any progress,” Kennedy-Fulton said. “It is not acceptable for him to be transferred. It wasn’t acceptable then and it’s not acceptable now for him to be transferred to a hospital that is not a secure facility.”

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Last week, Corrections confirmed they would be converting the acute-level inpatient hospital beds to Intermediate Mental Health Care beds.

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