Ashley Smith died due to her own mental illness
Ashley smith is one of the tragic inmates to have lived and died in the Canadian Prison system. Public safety minister Toews and NDP leader Tom Mulcair can not determine whether Ashley is a perpetrator or a victim of state crime. Ashley’s criminal troubles started while she was just a young girl and she is noted to have struggled with criminal eradication authorities for years. While she was 14 she was in trouble after she threw crabapples at a mail carrier. At the age of 17 she encountered several confinement cases enforced by watch guards. At the age of 19 years old Ashley had been in 17 prisons and treatment centers and is said to have undergone a miserable life inside these institutions. During this time she was tasered, strip searched, pepper sprayed and severally denied basic toiletries and bedding. In the 2007 while she was in Grand Valley Institution for Women she strangled herself using a cloth robe while several prison guards were watching. Following her death several people argued that Ashley did not deserve to die and she should not have been in prison. Therefore, discussions that Ashley was a victim of state crime and that resulted to her death became quite popular. However, several counter arguments have been raised on the fact that Ashley smith’s death was purely as a result of her mental illness and therefore she was not a victim of state crime.
Dr. Webster Ashley’s psychiatrist during the time she in Correction Service of Canada admits that Ashley demonstrated mental illness, of psychosis and may have been the cause of her death. Dr. Webster says during his Ontario inquest after Ashely’s death that she lived most of her youth time in isolation in prison and rehabilitation institutions, this resulted to her later challenges of living with other people. Ashley had social problems and found it difficult to relate with other people, this explains why she was in constant trouble with prison guards and other forms of authority. For instance, the psychiatrist notes taken during the time Webster visited her in Nova in the late 2006 and summer of 2007 should that Ashley was lucid, lonely, articulate but not depressed. Therefore having spent most time under strict observation and confinement she did not learn essential social qualities developed in teenage life. In that light, Ashley was not a victim of state crime instead she faced serious behavioral and psychotic challenges that brought about her suffering and death.
Ashley’s was not a victim of state crime but a victim of personality disorder. In several occasions she is noted of having borderline and narcissistic traits which are diagnosed in Axis 2 a stage in mental illnesses. Borderline traits are best illustrated by her stay in the prisons where we note that she was severally asked to join the dialectical behavioral therapy for hard to reach inmates. Though he agreed to join in many occasion and even signed to the acceptance forms she declined a few day later and completely refused to continue with the program. Her mental instability is also noted in her narcissistic behavior where she could often throw urine to guards, smear feces on the door handles and also cover cameras. This behavior clearly indicated that Ashley was not psychologically stable and was not in full control of her actions and reactions.
The young lady Ashley was considered bewildered or strange by most people who met or even interrupted with her. Most people who are considered to be strange by majority are considered to have Axis 2 which is a mental illness diagnoses. Dr. Webster for instance that Ashley’s behavior was strange or could not be regarded as the behavior of a sane person. He tells of her behavior while he visited her in prison and in the rehab centers. She constantly liked tearing whatever material she laid hands on into strips, she could then tie the pieces into a ligature and wrap around her neck. This behavior later reflected in her death since she used the same method to struggle her self. Further, Ashley’s can also be said to have strange behavior associated with mental illness by analyzing her line of thought and perception. We note that she was constantly under strict watch by prison guards since they felt that she was suicidal. Most suicidal persons are mentally unstable and even though Ashley did not publically declare she wanted to kill her self she constantly admits to having the urge to harm her self. She admits to Dr. Webster that she liked the sensation of chocking, to her chocking was actually sexual in nature (Green & Ward 65).
In conclusion, Ashley died as a result of her own mental instability or mental illness and the fact that she was imprisoned. This is because even after fully confirming that she had mental instability and required psychotic assistance, we constantly note that for a long time Ashley was suicidal. The guards in the prison and her psychiatrist Dr Webster confirms that they provided constant monitoring the young woman since she was suicidal. Further, her behavior of preparing robes and placing round her neck was an illustration that she constantly had suicidal thoughts. In addition, Ashley did not have a problem with hurting her self and that is why she does not complain about the tasing by police, pepper spraying, denial of basic items and even the her liking of the chocking feeling. Bottom line, Ashley death was purely out of her personal mental illness and not the problems faced in state criminal system.
Ashley Smith inquest delayed again. CBC News. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 25th March 2013.
Green, Penny & Ward, Tony. State Crime: Governments, Violence and Corruption. London: Pluto Press. 2004.