TORONTO – The jury at the Ashley Smith inquest found the self-harming teen’s prison death was a homicide.
It made 104 recommendations aimed at preventing similar tragedies.
READ MORE: Key dates in the Ashley Smith inquest
Among them, the jury recommended:
– That female inmates with serious mental health issues and/or self-injurious behaviour serve their sentences in a federally operated treatment facility, not a security-focused prison-like environment.
– That there is no requirement for frontline staff to seek authorization if they determine immediate intervention is required to save a life.
– That indefinite solitary confinement should be abolished, long-term segregation of more than 15 days should be prohibited for female inmates and the conditions of segregation should be the least restrictive as possible.
– That all female inmates be assessed by a psychologist within 72 hours of admission to any penitentiary or treatment facility to determine whether any mental health issues or self-injurious behaviours exists.
– That there be adequate staffing of qualified mental health care providers with expertise and experience in place at every women’s institution.
– That all staff providing mental health care report and be accountable to health-care professionals, not security.
– That female inmates be accommodated in the region closest to their families and social supports.
– That Correctional Services Canada move toward a restraint-free environment and any inmate placed in restraints be given one-on-one therapeutic support for the entire time in restraints.
– That inmates who have experienced mental health issues within the corrections system be involved in training, planning, research and policy development for mental health care for female inmates.
– That Smith’s experience within the correction system be taught as a case study to all Correctional Service management and staff at all levels.