Christie Blatchford: Ashley Smith’s personality disorder chaotic but ‘not permanent,’ psychiatrist testifies

National Post | Full Comment

It appears Ashley Smith never saw a glimmer of hope, but if only she had stayed alive long enough, the serious mental disorder which crippled her life and led to her death probably would have abated.

And so, says a seasoned forensic psychiatrist who has treated dozens of women like Ashley, she likely could have become a law-abiding productive citizen “and also [have been] happier.”

Dr. Renée Fugère of the Philippe-Pinel Institute, a forensic psychiatric hospital in Montreal where Ashley stayed for about a month, was completing her expert evidence Thursday at the coroner’s inquest examining the 19-year-old’s death.

Using a ligature she had made herself, Ashley asphyxiated in her segregation cell at the Grand Valley Institution for Women, a federal prison in Kitchener, Ont. on Oct. 19, 2007.

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Correctional officers who had always rushed to her aid before, often several times a day, remained outside the cell…

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