Critical Reflection of Ashly Smith Video essay

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Policy Issue One

The main policy issue highlighted by this article “Critical Reflection of Ashley Smith Video” is the poor correctional services offered by the prison departments of Canada. It is done by means of the video presentation of The Fifth Estate’s investigation into the death of Ashley Smith, entitled “Behind the Wall. This video shows us how the mentally ill prisoners are mistreated in a prison system that was widely acclaimed and envied by the rest of the world. It also unveils Ashley Smith’s time in prison and unravels the truth and unique insight into the full extent of this tragic event (Sharpe, 2011). This video was taken by Valentino (Rudy) Burnett, a fill-in guard from another institution. Valentine was initially charged for negligence in the death of Ashley Smith but these charges were later dropped. He was accused of videotaping a dyeing person instead of putting his camera down and stepping in to save her. He claimed that it was not her job to do it but admitted that in a perfect world, he could have saved Ashley’s life but in the correctional world, he did the right thing by not intervening.

Emergency of the Policy in Relation to the Case of Ashley Smith

The emergence of the policy relates to the death of Ashley Smith, who hails from the state of Moncton, slowly strangling herself to death in a federal prison on 19th October 2007 in the presence the guards who watched these events evolve in her door cell. This video investigation therefore presents us the troubled life that Ashley Smith underwent while in the federal prison and the sad circumstances surrounding her death. The guards and the supervisors were charged for negligence though these charges were dropped after one year while the warden and the deputy warden were sacked with immediate effect (Bell, 2011).

How the Issue was Dealt with.

This issue was dealt through the two significant inquests into the death of Ashley. The first inquest was carried out in 2011 and it was initially led by deputy chief coroner Dr. Bonita Porter over a period of eleven months of Smith's incarceration under the federal Correctional Service. This inquest was delayed by the family of Ashley because in of the perceived interference of the investigation process by Dr. Bonita without any legal basis. The second inquest was carried out on November 2012 because the first one ended up with controversial findings. It was conducted by Dr. John Carlisle and it had conclusive findings that had widespread impact in the political landscape of Canada. The rulings made by the presiding coronel, Dr. Carlisle highlighted the major policy issues that came up as a result of this inquest (Solomon, 2012). 

Changes That Could Be Made To The Policy Going Forward

To incorporate changes to the policy, the prison departments should advocate for the role of mental health care for prisoners which is very important for their general wellbeing while serving their terms in these jails. This is because of the mental stress that they are subjected to while in prison.

Practical Challenges that might Impact how Policies are Implemented in Canada

The practical challenges that might impact how the policies are implemented in Canada include the resistance to change by the correctional services of Canada.  It also includes the conservatism that the prison departments practice exemplified by the guard who said that it was better to watch Ashley Smith strangle herself to death done to intervene and go against the laws and regulations of the correctional facilities.

Benefits

The benefits of adoption of better policies include the prevention of death prisoners such as Ashley Smith. This could have been achieved if the mental facilities were readily available.. This can be achieved through proper guidance and counseling of the affected individuals and especially the prisoners who are majorly affected.

Costs

The costs of implementing the proposed reforms and policies are quite high in terms of financial capability which will be shouldered by the government of Canada. This will be quite costly especially due to the related costs that arise such as training of new personnel and provision of other services that are essential to the prisoners.

Policy Issue Two

The second policy primarily is based on the: effects of long-term solitary confinement and repeated transfers between prison institutions across, the nation and the role of mental healthcare for the prisoners like Ashley. To the contrary, most prisoners are neglected and are left alone to lead their own lives in these intimidating facilities (Alvi, 2011).  and unjust and a serious action could have been taken on the guards and supervisors that were responsible.

Emergency of the Policy in Relation to the Case of Ashley Smith

This policy issue merges when the video reveals to us that Ashley Smith was transferred 17 times in a space of 11 months and subjected to isolation 24 hours on a daily basis. This is a heinous crime that the courts committed and it amounted to torture and abuse of the basic human rights of the prisoner. It also highlights how the prisoners are deprived of sleep as one of the forms of punishment by the correctional services of Canada. This video also exposes the harassment and unfair treatment that prisoners undergo hidden in the name of justice. This is quite unhealthy and can lead to serious implications in the mental state of the prisoners.

How the Issue was Dealt with.

The emergence of this issue was dealt with by the highest levels of government, Don Head, and commissioner of Correctional Service Canada after the media unraveled it. They admitted failure in the treatment of Ashley Smith case and they proposed for precautionary measures to be taken in order to prevent such sad events from occurring in the future.

Changes that Could be Made to the Policy Going Forward

This includes abolition of the unfair means of justiceis being served currently in the correctional facilities in Canada. The society in general should have a vision that would greatly help in freeing society from the confusion and turmoil which results from mental torture and suffering resulting in costly losses that can be dealt with effectively reasonably. This means that the federal institutions should adopt the recommended policies brought forward by mental researchers and the other institutions that are fighting for the freedom and rights of prisoners (Sharpe, 2011).

Practical Challenges that might Impact how Policies are Implemented in Canada

The challenges include the resistance by the correctional facilities of Canada to adopt the better and improved means of dealing with prisoners under their custody.  This is because the main aim of segregating prisoners from the rest of the society is to help them to become better and responsible individuals of the society.

Benefits

The benefits include emergence of responsible from the correctional facilities after the completion of their stipulated time in jail. This is because they learn to behave well with the assumption that they are being taken care of by well trained correctional personnel.

Costs

The costs for the implementation of these policies are costly financially as it will require increased officers to handle the influx of prisoners into the correctional facilities.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that rightful imprisonment should results in the denial of the right of movement but the denial of the other rights to the prisoner is an infringement of the rights of the prisoners (Gartner, 2010).  For instance, Ashley Smith’s was actually sentenced to thirty days in prison but unfortunately, her prison term was lengthened to four years. This is out rightly unacceptable in the modern society but in reality, this is the situation that exists in the prison and psychiatric institutions across Canada.

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