Mr. Speaker, the untimely death of Ashley Smith, an 18-year-old inmate at the Grand Valley Institution for Women, has everyone talking about the care provided to inmates with mental health issues, everyone, that is, except the government.
Ashley Smith began her six year sentence as a young offender and it ended tragically four years later when she suffocated herself just weeks before she was to be released. This mentally unstable teenager had spent most of her sentence in segregation.
Canada's correctional investigator has been telling us for several years that Canada's penitentiaries are becoming warehouses for the mentally ill. Yet our prisons remain ill-equipped to treat those who suffer with mental health issues. Segregation should not be confused with treatment.
I call on the government to make it a priority to implement the mental health strategy that has been languishing since 2004, to ensure that no future inmate will end up sadly as Ashley Smith has.