TORONTO – An inquest jury has determined that the death of a teenage girl in a Canadian prison six years ago was a homicide.
Ashely Smith, 19, choked herself to death with a piece of cloth in a prison cell in 2007. Prison guards had been under orders not to enter her cell as long as the chronically self-harming teen was breathing. Instead, they watched and videotaped her actions from outside her cell.
Canada's correctional investigator, Howard Sapers, had previously said in a report that Smith's death was preventable and called her treatment "oppressive and inhumane."
The inquest jury's ruling is nonbinding, meaning a law enforcement agency can choose whether to act on it. A lawyer for Smith's family called on authorities to criminally investigate prison and correctional management.