Corrections denies `spa day' for killers
Just basic hygiene lessons: Spokesperson

No tea or manicures for two murderers

Sep. 5, 2004. 01:00 AM


Canada's corrections service denies published reports that the convicted killer of a Toronto police detective was among women treated to a spa day at the Kitchener-area Grand Valley Institution for Women.

According to a Toronto newspaper, Mary Taylor, convicted in 2000 of killing Detective Bill Hancox with a butcher's knife, was treated to a spa day at Grand Valley Aug. 21. Also among those attending, according to the newspaper, was Marcia Dooley, convicted of torturing and killing her 7-year-old stepson.

"I've been told that both of these women were not part of this day in any way, shape or form," said Diane Russon, spokesperson for the Correctional Service of Canada's Ontario region.

"The warden herself confirmed to me that they were not there. They spoke to the women at the facility who told them they did not take part."

While she's still trying to determine precisely what took place, Russon said, "The information I have from (Grand Valley) is very different from what I saw in the paper."

Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino yesterday condemned the spa day and suggestions that Taylor was present.

"As a society, how can we possibly convince victims and their families that we take their plight seriously when those who have committed truly wicked crimes are given rewards beyond the reach of many Canadians?" he said.

Bruce Miller, chief administrative officer for the Police Association of Ontario, said the spa day "really makes a mockery of our judicial system."

The group, which represents more than 20,000 Ontario police officers, expressed its outrage.

According to reports, the spa day began with a colour analysis to determine which shades suit them then manicures and pedicures by estheticians brought to the facility.

The inmates were offered aromatherapy and afternoon tea and serenaded by a female harpist, the article said.

But Russon said the event, which was organized by the chaplaincy office and staffed entirely by volunteers, was likely not as posh as the article indicated.

"Teaching basic hygiene skills like skin care, nail care and taking care of yourself are definitely beneficial to reintegration," she said.

"I don't think, and I am still trying to confirm this, that the women were actually getting manicures. I think it was likely that we had people in teaching them to take care of their hands and nails."

The issue of perks for female federal inmates was raised in 2000, when killer Karla Homolka was moved from the Joliette prison for women after it was revealed that she was allowed to dress up and party with other inmates.