Out of Control: The Death of Ashley Smith
January 9, 2010 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Out of Control is a 45 minute documentary that was recently broadcast on The Fifth Estate program on Canadian TV. It is the story of "Ashley Smith . . . a troubled 19-year-old [who] choked herself to death with a strip of cloth at Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ontario." The documentary features video shot inside Ashley Smith’s cell. It is a sad and at times disturbing look at the difficulties of dealing with a prisoner with mental illness. [Language and some images are NSFW].
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear (5 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Every aspect of this annoys me. Thanks.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:22 AM on January 10, 2010


I think it's an interesting doc, partly because I feel very sorry for the prison guards who were simply not equipped to deal with this poor girl. I'm very surprised that no-one in the entire program suggested she might have done better in a psych ward.

Oh, and the presenter; dreadful. I think she's wearing those glasses for a bet.
posted by fingerbang at 5:45 AM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't watch the video (thanks, RIM) but part of the problem is how we define "patient."

You are a patient the moment you engage with a doctor or hospital. it doesn't matter if I think you are lying or malingering or whatever the kids call it nowadays; once you enter, you are entitled to all of the privileges of "patient". E.g. Your records are still confidential, and, importantly, if you attack me in the hospital, it is extremely difficult to have you _arrested._

In other words, diagnosis doesn't enter into it. You become a different species on geography alone.

Jails have the reverse problem. Guilt and illness aren't as important as geography. Quietly suffering or eating your feces in your cell isn't going to get you much. If you want psych help in jail, your behavior has to affect your forensic status- eg competency to stand trial, etc.
posted by TheLastPsychiatrist at 6:37 AM on January 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


wow - extremely troubling, very interesting though - it's been a while since I've seen a doc that heavy.
posted by mpro77 at 10:26 AM on January 10, 2010


No better way to break someone's soul then to catch them at adolescence and repeatedly torture them. Just how much evidence does it take before authorities in the social system put this medieval tough love shit to rest once and for all?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:49 PM on January 10, 2010


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