For Immediate Release

ARCHIVED - Tragic Death of Ms. Ashley Smith At Grand Valley Institution, Kitchener

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OTTAWA, October 26, 2007 - Last Friday, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, Canada's federal prison Ombudsman office, was informed of the death of Ms. Ashley Smith at Grand Valley Institution. The Office is deeply saddened by the tragic death of this 19 year old, and extends its sincere condolences to Ms. Ashley Smith's family, friends and her community.

"I have initiated a review of the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. I will as well follow-up immediately with the Commissioner of Corrections on the Correctional Service's response to the Deaths in Custody Study. Our review will include an examination of the relevance of this report, which was submitted to the Correctional Service back in February 2007, on Ashley Smith's death" said Mr. Sapers, Correctional Investigator. "I encourage the Correctional Service, during the course of its investigation of this tragic incident, to fully examine its provision of responsive mental health services and support to this young woman during her brief period of incarceration in the federal correctional system" added Mr. Sapers.

The Correctional Investigator is mandated by an Act of Parliament to be an independent Ombudsman for federal offenders. This work includes ensuring that systemic areas of concern are identified and brought to the attention of those responsible for the operations of our federal correctional system. The Deaths in Custody Study, as well as the latest Annual Report 2006-07, are on the Correctional Investigator's Website at .

For further information:
Ivan Zinger, LL.B., Ph.D.
Director of Policy and Senior Counsel
Office of the Correctional Investigator
(613) 990-2690