19/12/2013 - Treat people with serious mental disabilities in hospitals, not jails: CHRC

OTTAWA, December 19, 2013 – The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) notes the decision and recommendations of the jury of the Coroner’s inquest into the tragic death of Ashley Smith and issues the following statement: 

The treatment of people with mental disabilities in Canada’s correctional facilities is a pressing human rights issue. 

It is the position of the CHRC that people with serious or acute mental disabilities should be housed in a treatment facility or hospital. 

While offenders lose many rights as a consequence of their actions, Canada’s human rights laws give people with mental disabilities the right to be accommodated for their disabilities when incarcerated.  

In addition, the Canadian Human Rights Commission continues to express deep concern over the practice of placing people with mental disabilities in solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement should never be used for inmates with serious or acute mental disabilities. 

This tragedy was preventable and must never be allowed to happen again. 


David Langtry
Acting Chief Commissioner,
Canadian Human Rights Commission 


For more information:


Canadian Human Rights Commission
Media Relations
Twitter: @CdnHumanRights
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CanadianHumanRightsCommission