Ashley Smith inquest: Key recommendations from the jury

Ashley Smith
Dr. John Carlisle, presiding coroner at the inquest into the segregation-cell death of teenager Ashley Smith, is seen in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

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.

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– 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.

READ MORE: Ashley Smith’s family lawyer calls for reopened criminal investigation in her death

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