MP Report by Jay Hill

The details keep changing ? I don?t know whether that?s due to the facts or due to successful ?spindoctoring? efforts by federal Corrections officials – but the basic disgraceful story remains the same.

Convicted violent offenders, including killers, at the Grand Valley federal women?s prison in southern Ontario were offered a spa day, including nail and skin care demonstrations, aromatherapy treatment, tea served on fine china and a serenade by a classical harp soloist.

The original news report stated that inmates had facials, pedicures and manicures, and that Marcia Dooley, who tortured and killed her seven-year-old stepson, Randal, and Mary Taylor, who murdered on-duty police officer, Bill Hancox, were in attendance.

The prison now says the participants were simply offered demonstrations on nail care, nail polish and skin lotion application. The aromatherapy, fine tea and harp solo they confirmed. Though it?s still unclear, the prison also says Dooley and Taylor didn?t actually participate.

Does it matter? These convicted violent killers were offered this luxurious perk that the average Canadian woman can only dream about or expect to receive as a gift for Christmas, their birthday or Mother?s Day! Prisoners? advocates and Correctional Services Canada are defending the day of luxury by arguing it?s essential to teach inmates ?basic? personal hygiene and to boost their self-esteem so they?re better prepared to reintegrate into society upon their release.

So why did the prison title the session, ?Woman?s Day Away Spa Day?? And what do painted nails, aromatherapy and high tea with musical accompaniment have to do with personal hygiene or with being a contributing, law-abiding member of society?

Any woman fortunate enough to have enjoyed these pleasures will tell you that rewarding oneself occasionally with such a treat is a rejuvenating, worthwhile experience. But how many can afford it? Think of a struggling mother who for 18 hours each day ensures the safety and care of her children, works hard to make a living inside and outside the home, cooks meals, does housework and laundry ? and abides by our society?s laws.

Think of the widow of police officer Bill Hancox, who was left alone pregnant and caring for their two-year-old daughter when he was killed. Has she been ?given? the kind of spa day offered to her husband?s killer? The president of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime states it best: ?I know a lot of victims who could use a day like that, a spa day to relieve stress. Having to take your holidays so you can attend the trial of the person who killed your child can be quite stressful.?

A CSC spokeswoman said the spa day attempted to make the women ?feel better about themselves.?

Yes, it should be difficult to feel good about yourself after beating your stepson so badly he had 13 broken ribs, a torn liver, crushed adrenal gland, fractured backbone and one of his punched out teeth inside his stomach. But as another convict stated, ?So what if I got a life sentence and I want to participate in something that is going to make be feel better about myself??