Ashley Smith’s Cell Guard Feels ‘Brainwashed’ for Obeying Bizarre Orders

A crisis negotiator at Grand Valley Institute who was involved in the controversial case of troubled inmate, Ashley Smith, has claimed that he was incompetent and “brainwashed” by an order from the management which compelled guards from not entering Smith’s cell whenever she tightened a ligature around her neck, at least until she was alive.

Corrections officer, Gaetan Desrochers, testified at the inquest into Smith’s death on Wednesday asserting that during Smith’s time at the Kitchener jail, guards were step by step given lesser autonomy over her case, especially when it came to entering Smith’s cell if she had fastened a ligature. Desrochers elaborated that use-of-force reports, i.e. obligatory whenever a guard enters an inmate’s cell, were piling up for Smith, and seemingly the management assumed that Smith is using the ligatures to draw attention from guards. Hence it was ordered that nobody shall enter her cell whenever she does so. It was reiterated at the inquiry that a trainer from the correctional service’s regional headquarters arrived at Grand Valley for five training sessions in October 2007, when Desrochers claims “he said there are too many use-of-force reports … you don’t need to go in every time.”

Desrochers confessed that looking back he actually likened the management edict to bizarre orders followed mindlessly by cult members. He elaborated that “I don’t know how (brainwashing) happened. I don’t like that it happened … but it did,” while adding that “It’s not my training. If I was trained like this when I started, I wouldn’t have taken the job.”

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