The examination of "Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the Federal Correctional System" began in 2009 in response to the death of 19-year-old Ashley Smith, pictured. (Smith family photo)
There is perhaps nothing that better illustrates the division in parliament these days than the latest report, minority report and two accompanying supplementary opinions from the House of Commons Committee on Public Safety. The examination of "Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the Federal Correctional System" began in April 2009, in response to the suicide of 19-year-old Ashley Smith at the Grand Valley Correctional Centre in Kitchener, Ont.
It is clear that the MPs put in a lot of hours to fashion this report. Committee members travelled to England and Norway to interview mental health and corrections professionals. They visited jails and prisons across Canada, and read or heard testimony from dozens of experts, advocates, wardens and other interested parties. The document is full of up-to-date statistics and information that help paint a modern portrait of life inside Canada's correctional system.