Inmate has escaped from healing lodge that was focus of controversial McClintic transfer

An inmate escaped Friday afternoon from a Saskatchewan healing lodge that has been the focus of controversy after a high-profile convicted child killer was transferred there.

The Correctional Service of Canada said in a news release that Joely Lambourn, 45, who was serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for dangerous driving causing death, was discovered missing at 12:25 p.m. during a headcount at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Maple Creek, Sask. RCMP were immediately notified and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Lambourn was serving time after being convicted of the May 2015 death of cyclist Deric Kryvenchuk near Okotoks, Alta. A judge determined that Lambourn was distracted while driving — likely by her cell phone — when she veered off the road and hit Kryvenchuk, 41.

She was a suspended driver at the time and had a history of traffic violations related to speeding and careless driving.

Healing lodges for female offenders, like the one in Maple Creek, are minimum/medium–security facilities. A description of the Okimaw healing lodge on the federal government’s website says programs “address vocational training, family and children, Aboriginal language, and nature” and “women learn how to live independently by cooking, doing laundry, cleaning, and doing outdoor maintenance chores.”

Offenders are housed in a mix of single and family residential units that include living rooms and kitchenettes.

According to the correctional service website, healing lodges employ Aboriginal values, traditions and beliefs in developing programs for offenders. “The approach to corrections is holistic and spiritual. Programs include guidance and support from Elders and Aboriginal communities.”

The Okimaw lodge came under scrutiny in the past month after it was learned that Terri-Lynne McClintic, who is serving a life sentence for the first-degree murder in 2009 of eight-year-old Tori Stafford of Woodstock, Ont., had been transferred there from an Ontario prison.

The transfer sparked outrage among Stafford’s family members and in the House of Commons. Following the public outcry, McClintic was moved out of the healing lodge this week to a prison in Edmonton. She was to be imprisoned in the medium security wing.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also announced there would be greater restrictions on transfers to healing lodges for those offenders serving long sentences.

“I was relieved and very grateful,” Stafford’s grandmother, Doreen Graichen, told reporters.

It’s “a victory for the little guy,” said Tori’s father Rodney Stafford. “I am very happy with the news.”

Goodale’s office did not have an immediate comment Friday afternoon regarding news of the escape.

National Post, with files from Postmedia News

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