Paul Bernardo won’t move to medium-security prison: safety minister

File photo: Paul Bernardo sits in the back of a police cruiser as he leaves a hearing in St. Catharines, Ont., April 5, 1994. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Canada’s public safety minister says infamous serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo will not move to a medium-security institution in a statement Thursday morning.

“While I do not control the security classification of individual prisoners, I have received assurances that there are no plans to move this inmate to a medium security institution,” Steven Blaney said in a statement.

Blaney’s spokeswoman did not respond to a question about whether Bernardo had requested the transfer.

The update came amid reports that Bernardo had requested a move to a medium-security location from the maximum-security Kingston Penitentiary, which will no longer house prisoners in two months.

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An expected spike in the number of convicts that never materialized led the government to shut Kingston Pen down after 177 years of operation. Former Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said at the time that the closing of the Kingston prison as well as Leclerc prison (north of Montreal) would save $120 million a year.

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“Moving these offenders to other facilities will increase safety and security and ensure the best use of hard-working Canadians’ tax dollars,” he said in April 2012. “The cells at other facilities will accommodate the offenders in these institutions we are decommissioning.”

Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years in 1995, and was declared a dangerous offender for a number of offences, including two first-degree murders, of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, and two aggravated sexual assaults. He has served 18 years in the Kingston facility.

Bernardo recently returned in headlines last May when body parts killer Luka Magnotta was rumoured to have romantic ties to Karla Homolka, the ex-wife of Bernardo. He denied the allegation in a 2007 interview with the Toronto Sun.

With files from Laura Stone

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