Fifth Estate program biased and inaccurate

USGE wishes to convey its deepest condolences to the family of Ashley Smith, who died three years ago while an inmate within Canada’s correctional system.

Recently, CBC’s Fifth Estate aired a special investigation into the death of Ashley Smith. The program aired was quite troubling, not simply because of the tragic events that led to Ashley’s death, but also because of an inaccurate reporting of the facts.

Of note, and not mentioned during the program are the following facts:

  • The incident occurred three years ago. Not mentioned was the fact that Correctional Service of Canada has been diligently working to address the gaps in inmate care that were identified as a result of this death.
  • Senior management has made clear what the expected response is to any life-threatening situation. Quite simply, it is to preserve life, both that of staff and inmates.
  • Members of staff and of the unions know they have several avenues through which they can bring forward any issues or concerns, either formally, informally or through internal disclosure processes. Whistleblowing protection is in place within CSC and staff are encouraged to come forward to management with any infractions, or concerns they may have.
  • The Union leadership also has direct access to the most senior person at CSC and can address any safety, security or health concerns not being addressed at the local or regional level.

The USGE does not want to take away the tragedy that was Ashley Smith’s death while in custody. The main objection to the piece shown, rather, is to the bias and lack of balanced reporting, turning a tragic event into sensationalistic tv, with no real journalistic integrity.