Wronged: Did Ashley Smith’s death end solitary confinement? – The Fifth Estate

Wronged: Did Ashley Smith’s death end solitary confinement? – The Fifth Estate


Look at the track recordof what happens
to people with mental health issues who end
up in the prison system. It is abysmal. [Indistinct voice from
behind the door] We’re not going to spray you. We need to help you, Joey. If you have people who are–
chronically self harm, suicidal, the last thing you should
do is put them in isolation. [♪♪] [Mark] This is the first in a
new series called “Wronged” which explores the aftermath of
some of the Fifth Estate’s biggest investigations. Ashley Smith’s tragic death in
prison 12 years ago was supposed to lead to
reforms for mentally ill inmates and changes to solitary
confinement but the Fifth Estate has discovered
another troubling case unfolding right now. A warning, this story contains
some graphic and disturbing content. [Muffled yelling] [Simultaneous commands] Joey has been in solitary
confinement in CSC as an adult, he estimates that he’s spent
about five or six years of time in solitary confinement. “I don’t know how much
longer I have to hold on.” “I feel helpless and hopeless.” For Joey and many others, the
situation is incredibly serious. Most everybody who’s looked at
his case from psychologists to correctional folks have
recognized that the biggest challenge is his mental– are
his mental health issues. Yet, he spends most of
his time in isolation. The last time I saw Joey, he
was in a segregation cell. And was pleading
to have treatment. And so today it’s Joey, 13
years ago it was Ashley. I’m Hana Gartner. The Fifth Estate has been
investigating the death of a troubled 19 year old
for the past two years. [officer] Ashley, this is a
direct order remove the ligature now. [Yelling] [Officer talking into radio] [Hana] We have obtained prison
video tape that we are making public for the first time, and I
caution you, the images are disturbing and the
language is raw. But it exposes just how
kids with mental health and behavioural problems are treated
behind bars in this country. Everything that possibly could
go wrong with Ashley went wrong. The system was completely unfair
and unresponsive to her from the moment she walked into
Federal Corrections. [♪♪] [Hana] Ashley Smith was only 15
when she got busted in Moncton, New Brunswick for pelting a
Postman with crab apples. That one month sentence… [Door slams] ..turned intro a life sentence. She was a difficult individual
to deal with and nobody knew how to respond to her properly. She was subject to over 180
use-of-force during her 11-month period. She was placed in various–
various time in administrative segregation, clinical seclusion
and suicide watch, observation cells. [♪♪] Part of the reason we were
finally able to get the video tapes, because CBC fought
very hard to get access to those videos. Had those videos not been
released, I suspect we would still have a very white-washed,
different version of Ashley out there in the public. As she moved through the system,
you saw her getting worse and worse and her mental health
issues that were developing, largely because of her isolation
and you saw everything being pulled away from her and her
becoming more and more desperate for human contact. [Hana] Former nurse Bonnie
Bracken was assigned to Ashley’s case. What was the course of treatment
that was prescribed for her? I don’t know. [Hana] What do you mean,
you don’t know? Well, I’m not aware of
there being much of anything in respect to
psychiatry and psychology. I don’t understand, it is a
psychiatric centre isn’t it? Mm-hmm. It is. If you look at the track record
of what happens to people with mental health issues who end
up in the prison system, it is abysmal. I mean, if they don’t end up
dying, they certainly end up self-harming. Their mental health
issues are exacerbated. [♪♪] [Keys clinking] [officer] Wait for us, Joey. He is sitting in this
tiny little booth in a suicide smock, the officers come with a nurse
to do the post use-of-force medical assessment. There are two officers
standing right there. Doesn’t strike me as the kind of
environment, you know, where you if you had some real mental health concerns you
would feel free to share them. [officer 1] Good enough.
[officer 2] Okay? There you go.
[Door shuts] [♪♪] When people are behind locked
doors, sometimes in isolation cells yelling threats, that it’s
borne out of their frustration. It’s borne out of their, you
know, rage about their own condition. Those often result in charges. [♪♪] It’s like a screw tightening of
more and more restrictions and less likelihood that the person
can actually work their way through and end up
back in the community. [♪♪] [♪♪] [♪♪] Toutsaint had self-harmed by
opening a wound on his neck. He being attended to by health
care for the wound. He became verbally and
physically resistant and assaultive. The officers were required
to take him to the ground. [♪♪] [♪♪] Upon admission about 35%
of men require some follow up in terms of psychiatric or
psychological services. For women, we’re
looking at 50%. So these are prevalence that are
way off the chart compared to the general population. [♪♪] We pause now for breaking news. Today jurors into the inquest
into the Ashley Smith case saw video footage from her cell and
they also heard from one of the guards who was called to
assist as the 19 year old struggled for life. The most upsetting is the, the
you know, it’s what happened the day that she passed away. On that day Ashley was on the
24/7, sort of, suicide watch. [Hana] They wait
outside Ashley’s cell, videotaping through the window. And there were about half a
dozen correctional officer at the door while she suffocated
herself, turned blue, nobody entered to save her. [officers] Ashley, Hey
Ashley, Hey Ashley. [Hana] After 30 minutes
they finally do go in. It’s too late. [Radio chatter] Today a coroner’s jury ruled
her death was a homicide. After hearing from more 80
witnesses the jury also made 104 recommendations. If you have people that are
chronically self-harm, suicidal, acutely mentally ill the last
thing you should do is to put them in isolation. The government has rejected
a key recommendation of the inquest into the
death of Ashley Smith. It says it will not end the use
of solitary confinement or what it calls
administrative segregation. They fought a lot
of those reforms. We remain concerned that
solitary confinement is the default management tool to
address the complex needs of prisoners with mental illness. [reporter] The BC Supreme Court
made a landmark ruling, saying the practice
is unconstitutional and causes permanent harm. However, Ottawa is
appealing that decision. It’s really disappointing
that the government is spending taxpayer dollars fighting for
the right to continue to treat people in this way. The approach that we’re taking
now is entirely different. The key word is ‘intervention’, whereas under the other system
it was ‘segregation’. By using the segregating– the
structured intervention units, it will allow us to maintain
separation where separation is necessary but at the same time
the programming will continue. Very clearly, what has happened
is, solitary confinement and segregation have been renamed. So, segregation is
one word that’s used. Intensive
psychiatric care is another. Medical observation is another. Therapeutic quiet. [Metal clinking] [Muffled yelling] It seems clear that he is really
worried that they’re going to OC spray him. He’s put a bit of bloody– a
piece of bloody tissue outside the cell which, in general, he’s
talked about being a way to get attention of officers
who– when he’s self-harmed. [Radio chatter] [officer] Health care will come
have a look at you, alright? Let’s get you up. We sincerely believe that those
cases are not being properly dealt with. These are people who are
chronically self harming, end up in administrative
segregation repeatedly, being transferred all the time,
are subject to use-of-force. [♪♪] There’s always a worry that
he’ll die, either on purpose or through an act of self-harm
that’s so severe that he kills himself by accident. [Medical machine beeping] Even if he didn’t have a thought
out plan, he might still die and I’m worried about what it’s
like to live like this. [♪♪] [♪♪]

Comments

  1. Post
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    NorthShoreMoana

    No sympathy. Toussaint has been convicted of more than 70 criminal offences of which nearly 30 are for violent sexual threatening or weapons related offenses. These people know right from wrong they hide behind mental diagnosis and idiot liberals. Why do they always have to wait until they commit a murder before they finally do something about them. More therapy and human contact is not the answer for these people. They are not wired right and never will be rehabbed.
    Ashley Smith is another one. These people are in prison for a reason. Why waste taxpayers money trying to rehab them to turn them loose to continue on with the behavior and possibly kill someone. Anyone who has been around these type of people knows it's a waste. They tell LibNutz what they want to hear.

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    TheMysteriousGamer

    solitary confinement they say more like "We dont care about you anymore put him/she in solitary confinement" solitary confinement is brutal on your mind pepole have gone crazy litterly and mental health issues with solitary confinement is a big issue as well

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    Anthony Simpson

    you all need to quit killing people to pass something to stop something you can do that without the death of the woman or man

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    Martha Alexander

    Why did Toussaint have a razor blade?! How are they allowed to even have anything in there that could be used as a ligature???!!! 🤬

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    Zero-One-One Zero-One

    If people in this condition wish to die, and we cannot help them get better, why do we force them to live like this? This is not compassion, not empathy, not successful. If we cannot help them get better, why not help them end their lives painlessly and with digity? That's compassion, that's empathy. Keeping sick people in boxes is sicker than they are. End solitary confinement and help mental patients. Canada is almost always smarter than America.

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    River Smith

    I think those officers hit saturation point. She had displayed promblematic behaviours to such a degree, I suspect they knowingly let her choke to death, ending the cycle.
    UK faces these problems too. Police, paramedics, hospital staff… all face deeply troubled mentally ubstable folks left to languish. Thatcher clised all the asylums, all for private profit so there is no help, at all. No care in the community and the community doesn't care and is no longer equipped. Support services are overwhelmed.
    Where is the end?

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    Picasaa P

    If a family treated a member of their family this way they would go to prison, why is it citizens always give government's a pass on torture and murder? Disgusting and needs to change. No more double standards. These guards need training as well, and some humanity. Can't teach humanity. When you are a hammer everything is a nail. Mental health prisons need to throw away all their hammers.

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    Janet Hagaman

    No blankets, no bed, no books, no window to the outdoors, how can anyone survive such a lifeless life. This is cruel and inhumane treatment and it's like being a POW. It's is own form of sanctified torture. And the reason for these people to be caged, are for very minor offenses.

  21. Post
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    Nicole Macintyre.

    I think the officers should go to work thinking’s what if it was my daughter or my son and sister or brother !!!! Just saying

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    HPL* Arkham

    Administrative Segregation is essential to how prisons are run. You can't just do away with it without a alternative.

  27. Post
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    Rick d

    this is just wrong⚠️💯
    if you are mentally ill you need a hospital for the mentally ill⚠️ because those people need medication around the clock to help them and it should be Minister only by an RN nurse or doctor ⚠️💯⚠️

  28. Post
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    Rick d

    this is so sad ⚠️
    I can really relate to this, my wife has been under psychiatric care for 5 years and as long as she has her medication she's just fine ⚠️ she was a badly abused child and that's why she's under a psychiatrist's care⚠️ ⚠️

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    HeadsUpMaster

    As someone who's done close to 22 months in Prison here is my 2 cent on Segregation, In prison they have some of the most violent inmates that will take your life, if these inmates are not segregated how dangerous would that be for the prison system, as already it's pretty dangerous . If one inmate stabs another for example, he should be out of segregation and onto a new unit/range within 15 days. Segregation is very harsh, I've been in there, it's like your in an open grave and just waiting to die. Mental health inmates just cannot cope in the general population unit, because those inmates don't care if you are ill, if you break the rules of the prison, aka, talking loud, screaming at night, banging, which these stuff mental health inmates do. They would get hurt pretty bad. Where is the Prison system really going to put someone who they simply cannot control.

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    HotCrazyCatLady Me

    What's the point of this? They are just repeating what they have already said with no new information. I mean it's good for them to do a follow up, but this doesn't feel like much of a follow up (so far anyways).

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    Yukie From Oz

    Putting Ashley's case aside, what have most of these criminals done to be there in the first place? Murder? Molestation? Paedophelia? In which case it's hard to have some sympathy there isn't it. Sure there is a question of what is humane, but what the crims have done, was that humane? Such criminals cannot be rehabilitated, so perhaps they deserve being tortured in prison.

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    Brandon Hathaway

    They seem to me to just be spoiled rotten and never had discipline . Nobody deserves to die though and that’s what officers have to think about when in this situation . Obviously at least one officer was just as stubborn as she was ! So we may have 2 mental issues on our hands now .

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    Afromantra10

    104 recommendations!
    Toutsaint, Joey: who recently lost his older brother, two major concerns for him. One is consistency of medication and two access to well being, indigenous – led. The system has isolated him, placed hundreds of miles away from home, he can not speak french dialect and learnt the english language while serving a sentence. This is a clear case of torture and inhumane treatment. Go ahead and read about his fear of leaving solitary, which dictates he has become institutionalised. Act quickly to correct his poor state of mental deterioration and breakdown, canada!

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    Patricia Hinton

    Any medical person ought know that those types of environments (isolation and white walls/utilitarian interiors) actually induce psychosis …think icu psychosis…the state is escalating mental issues by the things they do to people…wake the f*** up…

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    Eric Beeman

    Goes back to saying if you can't do the time don't do the crime get help on the outside and that girl killed herself nobody killed her they just said she's suffocating herself and when you go to prison its not the holiday inn its not recess or vacation its prison your e obviously there cause you're deemed not fit to be in society cause you can't stay out of trouble that's your own fault

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    Kimberly Thomas

    Ashley Smith was a menace to society and the community she lived in. She was killing neighbors pets and torchering them. They don’t tell you that. I for one was relieved she was not let out of detention.

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    Tim Sawyer

    These CO's may be neglecting the inmates, but from what they show in this video they sure seem a lot nicer than CO's in the USA… Here the inmates don't get a chance to kill themselves, the CO's do it for them..

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    Awopbopaloobop AwopbamBOOM!

    FIFTEEN….?! ARE YOU FREAKIN SERIOUS?!
    "BUSTED" FOR THROWING BABY APPLES IN THE DIRECTION/VICINITY OF A POSTMAN….WTActualF….?!

    And "THIS" is the absolutely pathetic, brutality laden, dehumanizing {of a highly vulnerable teenager, at a lethally dangerous & excruciatingly impressionable age in terms of self esteem & self worth} soul destroying, lifelong damage sustaining, Sorry excuse for so called "treatment" that you could come up with?!

    Sure…. that's absolutely credible and comprehensible altogether?! To lock her up like she's some variation on Barnardo or Magnotta… I mean FFS!…, Not even Homolka, the evil C U Next Tuesday, got locked into Solitary & repeatedly stripped and humiliated, and subjected to the sort of macabre, mature adult themed HORRIFIC goings on that this poor kid Ashley was exposed to….
    Unfortunately, it was kind of inevitable that the ending would be highly tragic and heart shattering; and sooner rather than later!!!
    And all over what was, initially at least, something she could have just as easily been grounded over!?!

    SHAME ON YOU CANADA. SHAME ON YOUR ENTIRE JUDICIAL SYSTEM!!!!….

    YOU'LL LITERALLY GIVE A TWISTED, PSYCHOPATHIC SERIAL KILLER A PATHETIC TWELVE YEARS; BUT EXECUTE VIA NEGLECT AND MALICE A CHILD FOR THROWING A FEW CRAB APPLES…: LOBSIDED, ANYONE?!?!

  51. Post
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    Todd Bearden

    That one month sentence for Ashley did not turn into
    a "life sentence"
    It turned into the
    "death penalty"…….

  52. Post
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    JJ

    Only about 10% of prison guards are even decent human beings the other ones are on a power trip or have some weird sickle fantasies of the inmates why you think grown men are looking up other dudes buttholes and checking their balls what kind of person would even want that job is my question

  53. Post
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    Randi C

    How come those in charge of keeping people safe were standing outside the cell just VIDEOTAPING through her cell door window, while that young girl was literally dying infront of their eyes!?! Why didn't anyone rushing in there to get that off her neck?!

  54. Post
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    Randi C

    Wow!!! They watched her putting the ligature on her neck and proceeded to watch her for 30 minutes after she was already in the process of killing herself.. they should all be held accountable for her death! It doesn't take a genius to know that PEOPLE NEED OXYGEN and CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT!!

  55. Post
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    Julia

    I’ve seen the case on Ashley and no doubt in my mind that she should’ve been in a mental health institution. This prison solution should be the biggest scandal and human rights violations.

  56. Post
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    MzHunni Bunni

    Health Canada and our Goverment should really review the illnesses defined under mental that more are emotional disorders that's 1 of the problems in the system. That will help society to understand mental health on whole new level and take away stereo type or stigma of when "mental illness" is used . Next Major Issue – Sensitivity Training , just like TCHC piles abused in low gear , they also neglect and have poor understanding , just like what we see in this video of prison system and rest of Canada that is untrained . Look at guards , they are totally not trained to handle such pressures correctly and adding trauma to inmates . Don't get me wrong there is some in mates that are gone as far as being true danger to society with having no emotions nor understanding what compassion or carrying for someone is . But if a person have done minor criminal offense and serving life in prison only due to being isolated due to "depression" and already state of it's own "isolation" yet then they just go and put them totally in 2×2 small room . Are you insane ?! What do you expect to happen ?! No wonder they want to kill themselves , not only they wish to be part of "normal" society that each time they losing chance more and more . But also when being totally isolated , you take their sanity , will to live and right to be just a human . Who can sit in prison for say 5 years and be ok and on top of that be in isolation for let's say half of the time , of course they will go nuts and throw threats ! And how dare the system go and charge them , for moments of hopelessness while seeing 2×2 walls days in and out and not single carrying person to even ask " how are you today" ? The way system is set up is a failure , some that do harder crime do little to NO TIME in jail , or get out for good behavior in no time while should be serving 5 years and not 1 . And those kind are truly scary individuals that are endangerment to our society .

    Yet those who do smaller crimes , go to serve and get their rights to serve for crime and then get imprisoned for years by NONE other then Prison Guards . How dare they?! The guards can hardly judge the situation correctly due to how they were poorly trained by it's bosses , they can't clearly handle such pressure . Yet prisoners go through x10 times more intense stress ….. Mind YOU , GUARDS can go home , see outside , see family take stress relief etc. What stress relief prisoners get , what therapy or true attention with mental illness patience did you take that will subside their actions . Because actions taken this far and training done for those guards with poor judging system at hand , I feel sorry for those who truly got trapped and now forgotten , left with NO HOPE. Why would they want to live ?! No wonder they want to die , system that should've punished accordingly for their level of crime failed them . And instead took away their life , will to exist as that human or like a human being at all . For someone who now diagnosed with PTSD from childhood , accepting it and not just learning about it , but understanding what I have . Made whole word of difference ! They say that people in need of socializing essp. when depressed and look what happening inside our system . With amount of new comers with different mentalities and back pack of their own stressful life times , this Country NEEDS to HURRY up and Organize itself before things get out of hand !

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    Michelle Amadeus

    While mainstream media focuses on Transphobia, Islamaohobia, and other nonsense stories….this is whats happening everyday to vulnerable Canadians….and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Shameful.

  59. Post
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    leslie smith

    This video is certainly an eye opener, but not surprising. The penal system in Canada is abhorrent. Those captors sat there while watching her die. Being in solitary is completely evil. Why is there no help for these Ill people. Also, the gentleman, Joey, has repeatedly requested. This is torture. An animal wouldn’t be treated in this disgusting manner. Maybe if they gave him some proper treatment he might have a chance. Are they waiting until he dies like poor Ashley before helping them. Sick, sick system.👿👿👿

  60. Post
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    Johni Badder

    Even mental health facilities have to use seclusion or solitary. There are people who self harm no matter what you do to try and keep them safe. These officers should not be blamed. Hire more staff if prisoners need around the clock personal attendants to prevent self harm.

  61. Post
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    Gwen Scott

    Duty of Care Checklist | Canadian Public Health Association
    https://www.cpha.ca › duty-care-checklist
    Jan 10, 2019 – Negligence: A breach of the standard of care that is owed by a person who has a duty of care. This usually includes doing or not doing …

  62. Post
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    C Clarry

    With this many days in solitary, I would act up also just to have some human contact. This is not the way to treat mental illness!

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    Sandy Burgess

    My question is: why has the media not done a story on the individuals in these institutions? Covering up and allowing horrific injustices without consequence or imprisonment at all levels?

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    Cla Lyrics

    Some of the comments here are so stupid. If someone has mental health issues, locking them away in a jail and treating them like a prisoner is not going to help. They need rehabilitation, not the complete opposite (solitary confinement). Seriously, how would you feel if you could just sit in a blank room all day? I'd lose my mind. You're a product of your environment.

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    Dagny Forever

    I think it is funny everyone wants severely mentally ill people to get help and stay safe and then they get into society and wish they would die. Hilarious.

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    Julie Oakman

    The issue here isn’t solitary confinement .. It seems to be standing outside her cell and watching her commit suicide and not going in to intervene.. THATS the problem. Solitary confinement debate is a distraction from the actual issue which was watching her take her own life and doing nothing at that moment to stop her.

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