Ashley Smith, a 19 year old girl, killed herself on October 19, 2007 at the Grand Valley Institution for Women while on suicide watch. As she was committing suicide, 7 guards watched her and were ordered to not intervene. She was initially detained, at the age of 15, for throwing crab apples at a mailman. Ashley has a history of juvenile offences from her early teens. In addition to that, she has a list of conditions which include ADHD, learning disabilities and personality disorders.
GrandValley Institution is essentially a prison. Ashley should have been in a psychiatric facility where the staff is equipped to work with special needs individuals like Ashley. A child who has a learning disability will not learn from a “correctional facility”.
She should not have been treated like a criminal; she was mentally ill. Rather, a customized curriculum should have been developed for her at a psychiatric facility where her behavioural problems would be addressed. In addition to that, she should have been given special education classes, one-on-one, to help her become a productive member of society. Ashley should have been treated with love, compassion and patience because she was, after all, a fifteen year-old-child.