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The death of Ashley Smith: Prisons can't handle the mentally ill


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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/the-death-of-ashley-smith-prisons-cant-handle-the-mentally-ill/article1216011/

 

 

The death of Ashley Smith: Prisons can't handle the mentally ill

 

Kim Pate

 

The Globe and Mail

 

Published Wednesday, Nov. 03 2010, 5:00 AM EDT

 

Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 02 2010, 9:22 PM EDT

13 comments

 

I think of Ashley Smith every time I see a photograph of Margaret Trudeau, who's been in the news lately due to the release of her most recent memoir. In it, the former prime minister's wife courageously chronicles the devastating impact that her untreated mental illness had on her life.

 

Suffering from bipolar disorder, Ms. Trudeau acted out by having ill-advised affairs. Ashley Smith, dealing with her own untreated mental health issues, did so by throwing apples, stealing CDs, and resisting the indignity of a strip search. Initially taken into custody at the age of 15 for breaching probation, Ms. Smith's subsequent inability to contain her feelings of fury - at being tasered, gassed, shackled, drugged and isolated - resulted in additional sentences and increasingly harsh conditions.

 

Revelations this week at a motion to expand the scope of the inquest into her subsequent death, in 2007, by self-strangulation while Correctional Service Canada staff looked on shed new light on the incapacity of prisons to deal with the mentally ill.

 

In the year she spent in federal custody, Ms. Smith was transferred 17 times, forcibly injected, and denied access to counsel, advocates and her family. She was left in a bare cell, with nothing to do for months on end. Is it any wonder she started to harm herself? (Would Margaret Trudeau have done any better? Would you?)

 

One Corrections Canada psychologist concluded that the teen's attempts at self-harm reflected not a suicidal desire but the only way she had, while in solitary confinement, of experiencing sensory stimulation. Another reported that Ms. Smith repeatedly voiced her naive belief that prison staff would ultimately save her from doing permanent harm.

 

It's not like we need more evidence that prisons are a brutally ineffective and costly default for people with mental health issues. In his most recent report, Canada's Correctional Investigator makes this clear, while urging that suffering prisoners at risk of serious self-injury not be placed in prolonged segregation.

 

More at above link...

I am not a medical professional and nothing I say is a medical opinion or meant to be medical advice, please seek a competent and trusted medical professional to consult for all medical decisions.

 

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  • 2 years later...

Her original crime was throwing apples.  

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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On the day she died Ashely had been given 5 injections.

"Ashley Smith received five injections of powerful drugs — including anti-psychotics — in less than seven hours while restrained"

 

"“Our concerns were we couldn’t stabilize her sufficiently for the trip to the hospital,’’ Boucher replied.

“We wanted to stop the restraint measures and put her back in her cell, but she was still agitated,’’

 

Which was it back to her cell or to the hosp she did end up back in her cell. 

 

"Melanie Boucher, then a registered nurse at the prison, told the inquest Wednesday that she was the individual who gave Smith four of the injections on July 22, 2007. Boucher said she administered the drugs under direction she received by phone from Dr. Michele Roy, a psychiatrist.

Smith was injected four times between 1:09 p.m. and 3:31 p.m. that day. Among the drugs she received were the anti-psychotics Clopixol and Haldol, and anti-anxiety medication Ativan. "

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/05/08/ashley_smith_given_five_injections_of_drugs_in_seven_hours_at_quebec_prison_inquest_told.html

I wonder how long till it happens again as recommendations from the inquest are rejected. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ashley-smith-corrections-canada-rejects-key-inquest-recommendation-1.2870380

 

Original charge throwing crab apples at the mailman.... sentence 1 month in jail... ended in 4000 in solitary confinement drugs... her death. 

 

there is online video of her treatment don't watch it if your the least bit dicey I watched it on the news.  I DON'T recommend it. 

"Smith was transferred frequently from segregation in one institution to isolation in another in what one guard dubbed “a see Canada tour.”

By doing so, prison brass avoided reviewing her segregation status – a breach of the law.

“The clock should not have stopped and reset the way that it was,” Head said.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/dont-bother-with-costly-recommendations-prison-official-tells-ashley-smith-inquest-jurors/article14895815/

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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  • Mentor

So are they trying to say she was sane? after forcible injections? Those drugs take months if not years to wear off.

 

I was forcibly injected to. Why? I never threw apples, I never did anything......

 

I refused to take a white pill and a red pill at a hospital, no-one told me I wasn't allowed to leave, so I left, police took me back again. My crime, a damn valium a gp had given me three days before. And yes, I recognised that white pill, and refused to take another.

 

Took three weeks of uppers and downers and anti psychotics, and a locked ward, you name it.. End of three weeks, they decided I was fine, didn't need any tablets. Then the PTSD and that damn WD.

 

Poor girl, she didn't survivie. So glad I did. But the up and down of these horrific drugs now has come to an end. I can cope with WD. I will, I can. Now I have the REAL INFORMATION.

 

Merry Christmas, and just remember, what you are feeling is not real, you will recover. I done it four times now. I never knew how long the WD lasted, silly me. Now I do.

1992 Dothiepin 375mg 8 weeks, exhaustion/depression.  Serotonin syndrome, oh yes!  seizures . Fell pregnant, 3rd baby, Nitrous Oxide, 3 weeks mental hospital pp psychosis. zoloft tegretol.

Feb 1996 ct tegretol, tapered Zoloft 8 weeks. as (unexpectedly)  pregnant. Steven died after 3 days.(Zolft HLHS baby).  98 had run in with Paxil, 2 tablets, 3 weeks taper, survived.
2005..menopause? exhausted again. Zyprexa, mad in three days, fallout....  Seroquel, Effexor, tegretol,   and 8 years of self destruction. Failed taper.
Damn 1/4 valium... nuts again! .fallout, zoloft 100mg  seroquol 400mg mirtazapine 45 mg  tegretol 400mg.  Mid 14 3 month taper. Nov 14 CRASH.
Mid 15 ....   75mg  seroquel,  3 x 1800mg SJW  2 week window end of December followed by 6 week wave
5/2 68mg seroquel, 2.5 x 1800mg SJW::::20/2 61mg seroquel, 2.5 x  SJW::: 26/2 54mg seroquel, 2 x SJW::::21/3 43mg seroquel, 1 x 2700SJW :::: 23/4 36mg seroquel 1 x 1800 SJW
15/5 33mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::   28/5 30mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::;  18/6 25mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::::, 11/7 21mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::, 26/7 18mg seroquel 1/2 SJW:::, 9/8 12mg seroquel :::, 16/8 6mg seroquel ;;;;, 12/9 0 jump.

23/9  3mg.....,  27/9 0mg.  Reinstated, 6mg, then 12mg.............  LIGHTBULB MOMENT,  I have  MTHFR 2x mutations.  CFS and issues with MOULD in my home. So I left home, and working 150km away during week, loving it.

Oh was hard, panic attacks first week, gone now, along with the mould issues.

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  • Mentor

I actually believed, that if I had broken something instead, the few days in prison would have allowed the valium horrific side effects to wear off, now I am so glad I didn't follow that path. Or who knows? I never drank, never smoked, dont believe in drugs, yet now I am a drug addicted WD mess. Well done USA drug companies, well done psychiatric profession... Yep now got lots of labels, I never had before drugs. I was fit, able, employable, reliable. What went wrong? Money and idiots.

1992 Dothiepin 375mg 8 weeks, exhaustion/depression.  Serotonin syndrome, oh yes!  seizures . Fell pregnant, 3rd baby, Nitrous Oxide, 3 weeks mental hospital pp psychosis. zoloft tegretol.

Feb 1996 ct tegretol, tapered Zoloft 8 weeks. as (unexpectedly)  pregnant. Steven died after 3 days.(Zolft HLHS baby).  98 had run in with Paxil, 2 tablets, 3 weeks taper, survived.
2005..menopause? exhausted again. Zyprexa, mad in three days, fallout....  Seroquel, Effexor, tegretol,   and 8 years of self destruction. Failed taper.
Damn 1/4 valium... nuts again! .fallout, zoloft 100mg  seroquol 400mg mirtazapine 45 mg  tegretol 400mg.  Mid 14 3 month taper. Nov 14 CRASH.
Mid 15 ....   75mg  seroquel,  3 x 1800mg SJW  2 week window end of December followed by 6 week wave
5/2 68mg seroquel, 2.5 x 1800mg SJW::::20/2 61mg seroquel, 2.5 x  SJW::: 26/2 54mg seroquel, 2 x SJW::::21/3 43mg seroquel, 1 x 2700SJW :::: 23/4 36mg seroquel 1 x 1800 SJW
15/5 33mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::   28/5 30mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::;  18/6 25mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::::, 11/7 21mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::, 26/7 18mg seroquel 1/2 SJW:::, 9/8 12mg seroquel :::, 16/8 6mg seroquel ;;;;, 12/9 0 jump.

23/9  3mg.....,  27/9 0mg.  Reinstated, 6mg, then 12mg.............  LIGHTBULB MOMENT,  I have  MTHFR 2x mutations.  CFS and issues with MOULD in my home. So I left home, and working 150km away during week, loving it.

Oh was hard, panic attacks first week, gone now, along with the mould issues.

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Withdrawal is certainly the test of a life time take it easy and use this site as much as you need be sure to check the self care pages they are full of good ideas.  This story is a tragedy no two ways about it.  I am Canadian and have been following it for years on the news still seems the leadership we need to improve things has not been found.  Not having the correct information has all sort of injustice issues this is just one more.  It is one thing to educate people in withdrawal who come to sites like this one at a time it is good solid work that needs to be done I am glad to be a tiny part of it. There are far reaching affects of misinformation in the broader community and the fall out of that hits every place these drugs affect.  There are so many walls up against the possibility of patient directed enlightenment yet there are people trying to take down these walls one brick at a time.  

 

Get yourself well and expect it to take some time that is the first priority.  Those of us that are like you here know it takes a long time to get well and I also know you will be learning a lot of new things here... some of them are going to make you so very angry... as they did me.  There is good and bad in a site like this for new people the feelings we have when we learn the truth is one that can have bad affects on us.... extreme emotions are part of withdrawal adding solid reasons can make this worse, in my opinion. 

Let me explain this a bit more the feelings themselves are not bad they are warranted in my opinion what is bad is while we learn things that would anger the most passive of us ... we are still in withdrawal still healing... still need self care.. a lot of self care. ... while we are healing we are prone to "neuro emotions"  Please look that term up it is thread everyone who comes here should read... short version is we can have extreme feelings that don't match the situation ... more to it than that please read but for here that will do. 

What I am trying to get across here is that when our emotions are running high due to wd effects it is not the best time to learn about wd yet it is the nature of the beast... if we knew all this before we would not be here.   So I know you will keep reading I suspect the feelings will come with learning... I suspect you will make choices along the way to read something that is triggering for you even tho after  you know it is not good for your healing as I did when I was new.  I just want you to know it is important to limit this sort of triggered emotional reaction when your in early withdrawal.... the reason is the more your system is taxed by wild highs or lows of wd the more your up and down the less peace your body has there will be "neuro emotions" to deal with too.  A peaceful state is the best state to heal yourself. 

One of the most healing things you can do is to limit the ups and downs as best you can especially in early stages when the highs and lows can be extreme.  This is important all thru wd... limiting stress all you can is important. 

For a time I would not watch the news as it was too much for me... as an example I still limit tv shows as I do not need my emotions manipulated by "made up crap"  it is too much for me and my system. 

I think deep relaxation is one of the best things to do to help yourself there are a lot of utube videos so a huge free choice is there for the taking.... I could feel a reset of my emotions from using deep relaxation... I highly recommend it. 

It may seem odd to put all this info here but seeing how new you are I don't know how much you will read here and it is important enough to hijack this topic so you don't miss this information.

I wish you peace... 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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