Research Paper Example on Ashley Smith's Death

Published: 2022-12-15
Research Paper Example on Ashley Smith's Death
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Penal system Punishment Social issue
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1410 words
12 min read

The death of Ashley Smith in 2007 come across great responsiveness from the mass media. The particulars of Smith's bereavement bleached from the community conversation as time passed by and the update sequence relocated to further captivations. As 2017 marked the tenth bicentenary of Ashley's demise, it was seen as the best time to re-look and mirror on the various facades surrounding the death. Smith was a nineteen-year-old Canadian female who strangled herself to death while in prison in October 2007 (Cambridge Core, 2019).

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She originated from New Brunswick province and was adopted while she was nine days of age. As a young female during her puberty, Smith began getting in woe with different establishments, and people started questioning her psychological health. Her parentages account that they noticed strange developmental vicissitudes in Smith at 14-years old. At 15-years old, Smith had been taken to juvenile court 14 times to answer various inconsequential cases. A psychologist examined Ashley in March 2002, and no indication was established to ascertain that she was conceptually ill.

Nonetheless, Ashley's developmental alterations sustained and as a result in 2002 she was suspended out of school several times. After some court summons, in March 2003, Smith was taken to Pierre Caissie Center which is a mental health center for examination and was identified with many conditions comprising attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder among others. Later on, she was cleared due to rude and troublesome behavior.

Smith was sent to prison for the first time in 2003 after she threw crabapples at a post-office transporter. Although there was no evidence that anyone had is hurt, Ashley was sent to jail for targeting a government agent, and the case was handled earnestly. The consequence of this case was one-month imprisonment in the juvenile prison. Due to additional convictions, Smith remained in jail for three years instead of the one month (Bartleby Writing, 2018).

Smith turned 18 years in January 2006 and was conveyed to a grownup facility following a bill that had been passed that very day under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Smith had a lawyer who tried to negotiate for her not to be transferred but failed to convince the authorities. Smith was taken to Nova Institution for Women in Truro on 5th October and spend the bulk of her time in administrative isolation. The administrative segregation is where they confine prisoners with a possibility of committing suicide.

During her sentence in the adult jail system, Smith was relocated 17 times amid eight prisons through five provinces in 11 months, with the aim of keeping her in isolation beyond the legitimately recommended bounds. During her time in sequestration, Smith was assigned several psychiatrists who suggested many different treatments which were times given forcefully through mechanical inoculations. Ashley was occasionally allowed to converse with psychologists via the food slot in her lockup door. It is said that Smith had numerous solemn psychological problems that were inadequately examined and thus were never managed.

During her stay in jail, Smith was punished severally in addition to some charges and verdicts being executed to her because of punitive occurrences inside the jail locale. Smith took part in countless of testified cases that were captured in condition accounts or everyday SITREPS that circulated the CSC authorities. Correctional constables report that Smith incapacitated herself or knotted a cord around her turtleneck on more than 150 instances, the majority of which were regarded punitive infringements (Kilty & LeBlanc, 2012). While her condemnation long-drawn-out because of such official contraventions, Ashley remained in sequestration and was retained in juvenile and national guardianship on a sequence of accruing custody for four aeons. Many times when in introverted incarceration, Ashley was not ever provided with shampoo, deodorizer, spotless underclothing, sufficient salubrious and menstrual provisions, in addition to being forbidden from possessing script materials or paper. In a move to dodge corporeal hostilities with Smith, vanguard team was directed to avoid entry into her cell to confiscate thongs which she wrapped on her neck recurrently till she lost conscious. This kind of methodology led to the death of Ashley Smith while in an infirmary robe and on a concrete flooring of her isolation compartment in Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener at the watch of numerous jail officers who were video recording the final instants of her while in a hall outside her cubicle, without superseding or doing CPR for almost 45 minutes as she struggled before them (Sapers, 2008).

Following Ashley's demise, several investigations were carried out, and from them, different lessons were drawn. Ashley's death was attributed to both individual and system failure in Canadian prisons. Her death intrigued an insight on how prisoners, especially those with mental problems are handled while in custody. Additionally, Smith's demise triggered the correctional services to seek alternative measures that offer a clinical response to the mentally ill custodians. Since 2007, some of the changes that had been proposed have been implemented while others are still being processed. Upon the death of any prisoner in Ontario, an investigation is started to unwind the circumstances behind the death. Upon the review of the jury recommendation, the government announced a strategic plan concerning offenders which are discussed below.

Among the proposed policy is a timely assessment of the offenders. Like the ordinary citizens, the offenders are granted access to health care services which will enable them to rehabilitate and successfully reintegrate to the society. The psychological health services should march the skillfully desired canons. This policy was to facilitate the adequate diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill prisoners. It was recommended since, in Ashley's case, she was inadequately examined; hence some disorders went untreated (Ottawa, 2014).

Further, it was planned that the management of the correctional service is active. The organization inside CSC typically comprise of checking, intercession, valuation, supervision, and certification of prisoners' improvement as they serve their sentence regarding their correctional plan. Upon the documentation, the management can learn the history of the prisoner. Ashley had been in the sequestration room for so long, yet research has shown that prolonged stay in isolation has adverse effects on mental health. The CSC currently regards that administrative separation should only be done when there is total to the alternative left and for the shortest time possible.

The sound intervention was yet another plan that was recommended. The volume of custodians with mental problems continues to upsurge thus giving CSC a challenge to advance its capacity to accommodate the increased demand for mental health services. There are several interventions done by staff to assist the prisoners with psychological requests survive with their imprisonment as well as treating them with self-respect, sustenance, and regulation. To work out this process effectively, CSC is recruiting competent, professional and experienced well-skilled staff.

Moreover, the jury recommended on-going training and development. Apiece staff in CSC has a significant part to play to accomplish their mission. This comprises of sustained specialized improvement of workforce acquaintance and expertise to develop clear and administrative presentations all together (Ottawa, 2014). CSC has rationalized training provision with the expansion of learning technology while training is based on competency.

Lastly, the jury recommended robust governance and oversight. The responsible for correctional systems is to maintain a sober society by confining offenders who are sentenced by courts and helping them rehabilitate and reintegrate into the community. The administration acknowledges that an exemplary governing configuration is essential to support and progress the services provided to prisoners. CSC organizations have administrative structures to certify unblemished errands and answerabilities (Ottawa, 2014).

Smith died in administrative segregation under the watch of correctional officers after a series of mistreatments in jail. This death was an eye-opener to the kind of services that were being offered in Canadian rehabilitation centers. It exposed the individual and system failures in the correctional centers; hence a need for review was developed. A jury was constructed to investigate the death after which it came up with recommendations that have helped improve service delivery in Canadian prisons.


Bartleby Writing. 2018. Essay on Case Study: Murder of Ashley Smith. Retrieved from

Cambridge Core. 2019. Introduction: Law, Vulnerability, and Segregation: What Have We Learned from Ashley Smith's Death? Cambridge University Press.

Kilty M. Jennifer & LeBlanc Nicole. Dec 2012. Ashley Smith (1988-2007): A Predictable Death. Retrieved from

Ottawa. Dec 2014. Response to the Coroner's Inquest Touching the Death of Ashley Smith. Correctional Service Canada. Retrieved from

Sapers Howard. 2008.Archived- A Preventable Death. Retrieved from

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