Research about the Death of Ashley Smith in Custody


Ashley Smith was a white Canadian teen girl who died of self-strangulation in women’s correctional perquisite on October 19, 2007. Ashley was spawned in the state of Original Brunswick on January 29, 1988, and was adopted at the phase of five days. She had a “usual” nurturing in Moncton, New Brunswick, conferring information (John et al., 2018). Ashley began to get into difficulty with different agencies throughout her early youth, prompting concerns about her mental well-being. Smith’s parents claim that when she was thirteen or fourteen years old, they saw significant changes in the behavior of their child. She had appeared in the juvenile justice system fourteen times by the age of fifteen for different minor offenses such as criminal trespass and creating a disturbance.

Smith was examined by a psychotherapist in March 2002, who confirmed the non-existence of a mental disorder. Her behavioral issues, meanwhile, persisted, and she was expelled from school on many occasions in the plunge of 2002. Ashley was taken to the Pierre Caissie Foundation, a psychiatric faculty, in March 2003 after one sequence of lawful accounts. She was evaluated with a variety of mental illnesses, including “ADHD,” learning difficulty, personality disorder, and narcissistic behavior features, and was released early due to her rebellious and disruptive behavior.

What Could Have Been Done to Prevent Ashley’s Death

Ms. Smith had to go through a lot of inter-regional movements. Before these transfers could be approved, the transmission and reception Regions had to discuss them. As a result, all their representatives should be entailed in and informed of Ms. Smith’s matter throughout her federal detention, besides the Pacific Region. The Women Perpetrator Enterprise at CSC Main Headquarters seems to have become the unofficial final authority behind the relocation (Kaiser-Derrick, 2017). This was inexcusable because it was the responsibility of each Region to guarantee that Ms. Smith’s migrations were made in line with policy and law and to her greatest advantage.

At the custody, there was a breakdown in communication amongst as well as between critical participants at all ranks. For instance, Ms. Smith’s issue was not managed by a professional multifunctional psychological health. This may have been the main mode of communication, a judgment call, and guidance for all challenged convicts at GVI. Top leadership frequently devised management policies for Ms. Smith before consulting the faculty’s mental depression and physical care delivery specialists. Because of the absence of participation from skilled professionals, Ms. Smith’s action plans were unsuitable and insufficient. Smith Ashley’s tragedy could have been avoided if there had been more interaction.

Decision-makers frequently ignored and disregarded the opinion of psychosomatic care specialists at the administrative level. GVI’s Healthcare Professional was in the ideal position to deliver medical knowledge in Ms. Smith’s treatment and care. On the other hand, the role of Health Care personnel was confined to providing comment of force evaluations and aiding in Ms. Smith’s evacuation to a mental institution. Ms. Smith’s management may have benefited greatly from the involvement of healthcare personnel.

The use of force by the correctional department upon Ms. Smith was applied. Smith’s personality behavior consisted of slashing herself straightforwardly, head-banging, and trying to tie it around her neck. Even though these behaviors were inappropriate and harmful, they may be explained in part as a technique of attracting personnel to her cage to relieve the boredom, solitude, and misery she was feeling. As a result, Smith’s demise at such a young age could have been avoided.

Improvements That Have Been Made As A Result of Ashley’s Death

Shortly after the death in detention of Ashley Smith, the government decided to impose rules in the correctional services to prevent similar deaths from occurring. The state tabled Bill C-56, which aimed to limit segregation to 15 days every year, with a limit of 60 days annually. To be explicit, Bill C-56 only seeks to restrict the Canadian Prison System from torturing captives (Garces & Navarrete, 2017). The Coroner’s Jury further recommended that every female facility have enough staffing of certified psychiatric care practitioners with experience and knowledge in handling mental health conditions and suicidal behavior. To avoid loneliness and restlessness, which led to Ashley Smith’s suicide, prolonged imprisonment was eliminated. Women were also encouraged to contact activists from quasi-organizations like the Elizabeth Fry Society at any moment. It was also suggested that all CSC employees adopt a new Ethical code that emphasizes their responsibility to save lives and ensure prompt access to health treatments.


Ms. Smith’s death highlights flaws in federal incarceration and a shortage of dialogue and collaboration between provincial and federal bodies dealing with psychological disorders. Ms. Smith’s treatment plan and custodian as a child in New Brunswick, as documented by the Contemporary Brunswick Child and Teenage Strong advocate Head offices, and possible development to federal correctional institutions demonstrate that the nationwide health coverage and reformative systems failed to continue providing Ms. Smith with the care, treatment strategies, and support she required. Ms. Smith’s treatment and child support as a youngster in New Scotland, as documented by the Revolutionary Brunswick Child and Teen Staunch advocate Main office, and resulting outcomes to federal correctional institutions demonstrate that the national health coverage and recovery-oriented systems failed to provide Ms. Smith with the needed care, treatment strategies, and financial support.


Garces, C., & Navarrete, B. (2017). Promise and Contradiction in Ecuador’s New Prison Model. NACLA Report On The Americas, 49(3), 347-353. Web.

John, D., Nader, P., & Gunter, K. (2018). Using Mixed Methods to Explore Older Residents’ Physical Activity and Experiences of Community Active Aging Friendliness. OBM Geriatrics, 4(1), 1-1. Web.

Kaiser-Derrick, E. (2017). Intensifying the incarceration of the vulnerable legal subject: correctional treatment of Ashley Smith as a source of legal norms. Canadian Journal Of Law And Society / Revue Canadienne Droit Et Société, 32(02), 229-248. Web.

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LawBirdie. 2023. "Research about the Death of Ashley Smith in Custody." March 24, 2023.

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LawBirdie. "Research about the Death of Ashley Smith in Custody." March 24, 2023.