‘I don’t know what the next step is’: Ashley Smith’s mom on Corrections Canada response

DARTMOUTH – Ashley Smith’s mother says she doesn’t know what to do next after the Correctional Service of Canada said it was “unable to fully support” a coroner’s recommendation to stop putting inmates in segregation.

READ MORE: Corrections Canada won’t end solitary confinement following Ashley Smith’s death

Coralee Smith said she is disappointed it has taken so long for the government to respond to her daughter’s death.

“I know Ashley had a terrible, terrible, last 11 and a half months of her life,” she said in an interview from her home in Dartmouth, N.S.

Ashley would have turned 26 next month, but instead of being remembered as a smiling, happy individual like her mother describes, Smith says Ashley has become the face of injustices made within the system.

READ MORE: Key recommendations from Ashley Smith inquest jury

“I’m sure Canadians don’t want to see laws where prisoners are imprisoned with such circumstances, such a horror, such a degradation,” she said.

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Smith said she was hoping her battle would help change other people’s lives.

“I don’t know where we go from here,” she said. “It seems like, in Canada, we don’t stand up. There’s nobody rallying for prisoners that are segregated.”

Bernard Richard, New Brunswick’s former ombudsman, made recommendations six years ago on how the province could improve conditions for those with mental illness.

“It should’ve prompted a fulsome response, so I think it’s sad in a way that we’ve missed this opportunity,” he said. “God knows how many others facing similar situations will lead to more coroner’s inquests. ”