There is no functioning ice rink at the prison where a Member of Parliament claims notorious inmates play casual hockey, according to the agency.

Movie DetailerPolitics There is no functioning ice rink at the prison where a Member of Parliament claims notorious inmates play casual hockey, according to the agency.

Canada’s prison service has refuted claims made by a Conservative MP regarding the existence of a functioning hockey rink at La Macaza Institution, located outside Montreal. According to the Correctional Service Canada, there is currently no operational hockey rink or tennis court available for inmate use at the medium-security facility.

The controversy arose following the transfer of notorious criminal Paul Bernardo to La Macaza last year from a penitentiary in Ontario where he had been incarcerated for an extended period. The move sparked political debate, with the Conservative party advocating for Bernardo’s return to maximum-security imprisonment to serve out his indeterminate life sentence.

Despite criticisms, the prison service maintains that proper protocols were followed in reclassifying Bernardo as a medium-security inmate, emphasizing that such decisions are made independently of political influence. In response to allegations made by Conservative MP Frank Caputo, the institution clarified that while there are boardings around a rink on the premises, there has been no ice available for the past two winters.

Kevin Antonucci, a spokesperson for the correctional service, reiterated that there is no functional hockey rink or tennis court accessible to inmates at La Macaza. He emphasized that recreational opportunities for prisoners are not exclusive to this particular institution and are provided across various correctional facilities.

In defense of offering recreational activities, Antonucci highlighted that such opportunities contribute to a safer environment within correctional institutions, enabling inmates to engage in healthy and controlled pastimes. He noted that encouraging participation in recreational programs promotes positive behavior among those incarcerated, benefiting both residents and staff within the facilities.

During his visit to the prison, MP Caputo expressed dismay at the availability of recreational amenities for inmates, particularly referencing the existence of a hockey rink. He recounted his surprise upon observing inmates playing hockey and implied dissatisfaction with the perceived level of comfort available to individuals like Bernardo.

In a video shared on social media, Caputo detailed his interactions within the institution, including gaining access to Bernardo’s cell while the prisoner was absent. He described the surreal experience of encountering Bernardo’s presence within the confined space, evoking strong emotions and memories for Caputo.

While confirming Caputo’s visit, the correctional service clarified that he and union representatives were permitted to view Bernardo’s cell in early February but asserted that there was no direct interaction between the visitors and the inmate during this inspection.

In response to inquiries, Caputo avoided addressing specific details of his encounter with Bernardo, instead emphasizing his desire to witness the conditions in which high-profile criminals like Bernardo are housed. The MP’s visit and subsequent comments have drawn public attention to the treatment of dangerous offenders within Canada’s correctional system.


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