Ashley Smith

The inquest into Ashley Smith's 2007 death in an Ontario prison resumed in September after a 10-week break. (Courtesy of the Smith family)

The former deputy warden at the Grand Valley Institution says the prison was in a state of chaos in the months before Ashley Smith's death.

Joanna Pauline testified Thursday in the Ontario coroner's inquest into the 2007 death of the Moncton teenager in the federal women's prison in Kitchener, Ont.

Smith choked herself to death in her cell in October 2007 while prison guards watched. The guards were acting on an order not to intervene when Smith choked herself with a ligature unless she had stopped breathing.

The inquest has heard there were almost daily incidents of Smith either smashing her television, choking herself, or turning blue in the face.

Pauline said management was in crisis in the time leading up to Smith's death.

Pauline said she had prepared detailed management plans on how to handle Smith in the prison. But she said despite daily contact with the national headquarters of Correctional Service of Canada in Ottawa, nobody seemed to care about those plans, or the fact those plans weren't working.

"It was a lot of work to put those management plans on and send them to them," she said. "I don't know what they were doing with them."

Pauline testified that she felt she was being targeted by the prison's warden and even the deputy commissioner, saying they wanted her fired or demoted. Pauline said because of that, it made it difficult for her to challenge the warden about how to deal with Smith.

"It was an absolute horrible experience," said Pauline. "It just got worse because no matter how hard we were all trying it was just … I was pretty messed up when I left there."

The inquest resumes next week.