Two of Canada’s most notorious serial killers will be getting new addresses in Quebec, according to a report that hints prison overcrowding could soon become a larger issue.
An official source told QMI Agency that Russell Williams was moved from Kingston Penitentiary to Quebec’s Port-Cartier Institution on Tuesday, while Paul Bernardo is expected to make the same move soon.
Williams, an ex-colonel, was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for the murder and sexual assault of Jessica Lloyd and Marie-France Comeau — committed while he was the base commander at CFB Trenton.
Bernardo, meantime, first arrived at Kingston Penitentiary after he was found guilty in 1995 of murdering two Toronto-area women and raping 14 others.
A spokesperson for Corrections Canada could not confirm details about prison transfers, but it was only a matter of time before the two noted killers were shipped to a new pen.
Kingston Penitentiary, long the centerpiece of Canada’s maximum security prison system, was among several institutions slated for closure last year.
The century-old prison and an adjacent psychiatric assessment centre, as well as a medium-security institution in Laval, Que., were said to be outdated and no longer fit to house inmates. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said in April they would need to find new homes for about 1,000 inmates before the facilities close their doors.
At the time, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers expressed concern that the Kingston closure would lead to overcrowding and double bunking at other facilities.
"Double bunking represents a very real danger for our correctional officers," UCCO Ontario president Jason Godin said. "Every time they open the door of a cell with two inmates, they are exposed to more attacks and greater violence."
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Godin also said that Kingston Penitentiary was home to some of the most “unique, dangerous offenders in the country.”
The massive facility features a segregated wing where some of its more notorious inmates were kept isolated from the general prison population. Bernardo and Williams were said to have been housed in that area of the institution.
Port-Cartier Institution is a maximum-security facility capable of housing 237 inmates. Nearly everyone sentenced to Port-Cartier face more than 40 months behind bars. Forty-one per cent of Port-Cartier’s population has been given life sentences.
Port-Cartier also features a long-term segregation unit, which will come in handy should the reported transfer of Williams and Bernardo be accurate.
If Williams and Bernardo are being transferred, you can bet they are not the only Kingston inmates making the move. Which means those fears of overcrowding could soon be realized.