One of Canada's most notorious serial killers is reportedly looking for a somewhat more mellow place to do his time.
Paul Bernardo hopes to downgrade to a medium-security institution in Bath. Ont., Sun Media reports, a change from the soon-to-closed maximum-security Kingston Penitentiary.
While Bernardo is within his rights to apply for a transfer, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney responded quickly to the report.
“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,” the minister said in a statement.
The Sun report prompted criticism against Bernardo on Twitter, including Mike Therien, who wrote, "Harder not softer time, Paul!" Other Canadians were expressing their disappointment.
Edmonton-Centre MP Laurie Hawn drew some fire when he tweeted, "Rot where you are, sicko".
While his sentiment was certainly echoed across the Twitterverse, some took issue with the MP's choice of words.
— Kevin George (@canonkevy) August 1, 2013
Here are some reactions to the report. Story continues below.
The move would be an upgrade over his current accommodations.
According to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) website, the Bath Institution, about 20 kilometres west of Kingston, houses inmates in three units; one is essentially a house and the other two feature living rooms, dining rooms and a full kitchen. Bath has also earned a reputation for its slate of rehabilitation programs, aiming to "encourage inmates to become law-abiding citizens."
Other amenities include bicycles, a baseball diamond, mini-golf course, as well as regular nightly games of floor hockey and basketball.
A member of the online forum at PrisonTalk.com sums it up as a "pretty mellow place to do time."
Bath shares the same site as Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security facility that's been cited as one of the toughest prisons in North America.
Bernardo, now 48, was convicted in 1995 in the murders of teenagers Kristen French, Tammy Homolka and Leslie Mahaffy. In the early 1990s, the Scarborough, Ont., native and his wife Karla Homolka, terrorized southern Ontario with a spree of killings and sex attacks before being arrested.
He is serving a life sentence. Under a plea bargain agreement, Homolka was convicted of manslaughter and, after a 12-year prison sentence, is now reportedly living in Guadeloupe with three children.
The Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington cites sources suggesting Bernardo is looking to avoid being transferred to Quebec when Kingston shuts its doors in 60 days.
Speaking to Warmington, Kristen French's father Doug French seemed unfazed by the news.
“It doesn’t (surprise me),” French said. “That son of a bitch gets away with everything.”