previously published in Examiner
conclusion of the prison suicide series
Latest update Oct 31, 2010
Ashley Smith’s case is to be held in the coroner’s court. The family of Ashley Smith is not satisfied with the Correctional Canada’s 2007 report that their daughter’s death was probably an accident.” Video tapes of the suicide show that that the guards took what is considered a long time to react to an emergency situation. They argue that Smith never really wanted to commit suicide. Psychiatrist, Margo Rivera was reported as saying, “no one intended Ashley Smith to die, least of all Ashley Smith herself.” and staff was reported as saying that Smith would say, “‘I’m not going to die, because it’s your job to save me’.”
Is this really the case, of the age old story of the boy who cried wolf one time too often? The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies spokesperson, Kim Pate says, “…the laws and policies that govern how prisoners should be held and treated were violated.” She went on to say, “All of that needs to be looked at in the broader context of trying to prevent other deaths.” Pate is against the inquiry focusing only on Ashley’s stay in Ontario jails. The focus must be broad looking at all her incarcerations and what happened all the way through.
Ombudsman’s position on the policies of Canadian penitentiaries
The federal prison ombudsman denounced long incarcerations in solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates, this September. Yet, many of these practices and policies are still going on in Canadian prisons. Howard Sapers, the ombudsman, stated that Ashley was in solitary confinement way too long. She should have been out amongst the regular inmates. He stated, “The correctional service kept her apart from the general prison population under a highly restrictive and at times inhumane regime.”
The Smith family is suing the Canadian Government for 11 million dollars. Montrealers are listening to this case. They do not want such a thing to happen in Montreal.