Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

Party Girl

Joliette Prison
Joliette Prison

While Joliette prison authorities were reviewing Karla Homolka's prison conduct to see if she should be kept in prison for another four years, a Montreal newspaper published a series of party photos of the killer. Several of the photos showed Homolka and fellow inmate, Christina Sherry, convicted for her role in a Montreal rape and torture case, modeling black cocktail dresses for other inmates at a birthday party. The former inmate who sold the pictures to the newspaper described Joliette as an "adult daycare center that pampered inmates." At the time the photos were taken, Christina Sherry was serving a five-year sentence that began in April, 1997 after pleading guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault and sexual assault causing bodily harm. Also seen in the photos was Tracy Gonzales, Sherry's accomplice, who was sentenced to less than eight years.

Ironically, Sherry and Gonzales were convicted for luring girls to a Montreal apartment where they were tortured, sexually assaulted and forced to be the sex slaves of James Medley, who was convicted of the crimes, sentenced to 26 years and labeled a dangerous offender.

In the wake of the unfavorable publicity that Karla Homolka's "party girl" photos had caused, Homolka was advised that she would be moved to the Regional Psychiatric Center at maximum-security Saskatchewan Penitentiary to undergo a 45 to 60 day "psychiatric assessment." In response, Homolka was reported as having "kicked and screamed" in protest. The transfer was seen by some as a sure sign that her Joliette handlers were going to recommend she be detained in prison for another four years.

Lucie McClung, the newly appointed head of Correctional Services Canada, ordered the transfer at Joliette Prison's request after a prominent psychologist recommended it.

Unlike Joliette, the Saskatoon facility is surrounded by electronic wire fences and armed guards, and is definitely maximum-security. The concrete cells are 7.1 square meters with a stainless steel toilet and sink. Beds are bolted to the floor. There is one window with horizontal slats that act as bars.

In a November, 2000 story, the Toronto Star described how, following her transfer to Saskatoon's Regional Psychiatric Center in October, Karla Homolka refused to co-operate with doctors as an act of defiance. Although she co-operated with psychologists, she refused to participate in any psychiatric testing. Homolka's stand meant Correctional Services Canada had little choice but to recommend her detention for a further four years.

 

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