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“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)

A New Form of Homicide in Canada’s Prisons: The Case of Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith, a nineteen year old, mentally ill, inmate committed suicide while under suicide watch at a Correctional Institute in Canada. Ms. Smith was imprisoned at fifteen for throwing apples at a postal worker. During her imprisonment she suffered multiple cases of emotional and physical abuse. The first and mildest abuse she suffered was being denied sanitary products and adequate toilet paper during her menstrual cycle. The worst abuse she suffered was a combination of emotional and physical, and occurred when Ms. Smith was transferred between nine different institutions seventeen times. When she was transferred between institutes she was restrained by officers so she could be hooded and duct taped to her seat while she pleaded with them to stop hurting her. Ms. Smith spent most of her incarceration in isolation; because each time she was transferred her seclusion sentence was reset. She was transferred multiple times to hide the abuse she suffered and to extend the amount of time she could be kept in seclusion. The constant transfers and seclusion only worsened Ms. Smith’s mental condition, and at no time was she given a psychological assessment to check her mental wellbeing. Ashley Smith was denied her basic human rights for four years until she hung herself to end her suffering.

According to the Canadian Bill of Rights, enacted in August 10, 1960, every Canadian citizen has the basic rights to life, liberty, and security of person. The last inclusion, “right to security” can be seen as an expansion of the rights prohibiting the use of torture and any other punishment deemed as cruel or unusual. Most importantly, it can also be implemented in regard to the rights of prisoners of the Correctional Services of Canada. According to Correction Services Canada (CSC), between 2003 and 2008 there were 66 instances of suicide committed by inmates in federal custody.


Stuart J. Murray and Dave Holmes. “A New Form of Homicide in Canada’s Prisons: The Case of Ashley Smith,” Truthout, March 10, 2014

Stuart J. Murray and Dave Holmes, “A New Form of Homicide in Canada’s Prisons: The Case of Ashley Smith”, Truthout, March 10, 2014.

Jennifer M. Kilty and Nicole LeBlanc, “Prison – Ashley Smith (1988-2007): A predictable death”, Policy Options, December 2012.

Canadian Legislation, “Correctional Services Regulations”, Government of Nova Scotia.

Student Researchers: Brittney Clark & Caylin Rose, Indian River State College

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College



The mass security and austerity of a correctional facility is meant to preserve life, even prolong it. But beyond the barbed-wire fence and concrete walls, is a group of administrators and trained staff controlling every aspect of an inmate’s life. From the time an inmate is fed to the number of times they are allowed to bathe in a week, every aspect of a prisoner’s life is controlled. Because of this loss of control over one’s own life, the inmate is now exposed to loss of privacy and self-worth. They are now possibly exposed to hunger, neglect, and even death at the hands of their “facilitators.” All these stressors coupled with an undiagnosed mental disorder could push any person beyond their breaking point. How is it that a government agency that prides itself on respect, professionalism, and accountability allow a mentally ill inmate to strangle herself to death without intervening?

Ashley Smith, a mentally unstable, Canadian resident, was fifteen when she was imprisoned for throwing apples at a postal worker. She spent four years in prison suffering emotional and physical abuse. During Ms. Smith’s imprisonment, she was forcefully restrained, denied necessary toiletries and clothing, and physically and chemically abused. Ms. Smith was not treated like a human being for four years of her life. The abuse she suffered caused her to inflict self-harm and be put on suicide watch.

The two main ethical issues that arose from the Ashley Smith case were the denial of her human rights, and the violation of trust in a public institution. She suffered multiple cases of physical and emotional abuse from her guards during her imprisonment. Constant isolation is a legal form of torture in Canada; and, if an inmate is isolated for more than two and a half months they have to undergo a psychological assessment, but Ms. Smith never received her assessment. She was transferred seventeen times between nine prisons across five different provinces, which allowed her guards to reset the clock on her isolation. Since she never completed a full term of isolation a psychological assessment was never completed. Ms. Smith’s transfers between correctional institutions were inhuman because she was restrained by several guards in full riot gear who placed mesh hoods over her face and duct taped her hands and arms to the seat of an airplane. This is a clear ethical violation because she was not treated like a person and her constant pleas for the hoods to be removed were ignored. The suffering Ms. Smith endured from her transfers and isolation was just part of her physical and emotional abuse. She was denied basic human rights during her incarceration.

Not only did the correctional facility violate Ms. Smith’s human rights, but it also failed to meet some of the Correctional service of Canada policy regulations. The policy states that prisoners must be given necessary toiletries; however, Ms. Smith did not get what she needed. She was denied adequate sanitary products and toilet paper during her menstrual cycle, and when she asked to use the restroom to change them she was told she had to wait. Video recordings show her asking a female guard several times to use the restroom only to be denied every time. The policy also states a prisoner must be given properly sized clothing and underwear on a daily basis, and be allowed to wash them at least twice a week. Once again Ms. Smith never received what she was entitled to. The same videos that show her being denied sanitary products and restroom access also reveal her wearing nothing but a small, dingy security gown with nothing underneath. Although the nurses who attended to Ms. Smith dressed in full riot gear around her, they were all female and should have understood the need for sanitary products. However, all the nurses lacked sympathy when Ms. Smith asked for sanitary products, restroom trips, and underwear.

When guards or nurses interacted with Ms. Smith, her wrists and legs were restrained to the bed forcing her to lie down. Even after the nurses and guards exited her cell they left her restrained to her bed. One video shows Ms. Smith attempting to sit up and free one arm. After she freed her arm and was working on untying the other five guards entered her cell and forced her to lie down again and secured her arms once again. Other times Ms. Smith would be restrained to the bed as well as chemically sedated. Ms. Smith had a fellow prisoner write a formal complaint about how she would be tasered and pepper sprayed. However, her complaint was ignored because she did not write it herself, but Ms. Smith was not allowed to have paper or writing utensils. Ms. Smith had been placed on suicide watch after she began cutting herself when her pleas were ignored. Although guards were stationed outside her cell they were ordered by the warden not to enter her cell if she was still breathing. Finally on October 19, 2007 Ms. Smith ended her suffering when she hung herself inside her cell while the guards who were supposed to stop her watched. Only after she had strangled herself did they enter her cell and attempt to revive her, but it was too late; she had successfully strangled herself.

Ms. Smith was forcefully restrained by guards in full riot gear during transportation between correctional institutions. The female guards in charge of Ms. Smith showed no compassion when she begged for sanitary products or trips to the restroom while on her menstrual cycle. To interact with her, guards would restrain her to her bed and sedate her, and her complaints about the way she was treated were ignored. Ms. Smith suffered the abuse for four years until she hung herself in her cell while the guards watched. Ms. Smith’s human rights were violated; she was treated as less than human, and, not surprisingly, she chose to deal with her abuse by ending her life.

How could Ashley Smith have been saved? Did anyone ever actually sit to listen to Ms. Smith or listen to her story? Many penitentiary systems, including the CSC, pride themselves on their ability to turn offenders around, transforming them into productive citizens. The Ashley Smiths of the world are often subdued, confined, and forgotten. Although the warden who gave the fatal order was fired and the officers charged (charges were later dropped against the officers) there was noone willing to accept responsibility for Ashley’s death. The officers stated that they were simply following orders and the warden stated that he was only following protocol. This case exemplifies a tragedy, an unacceptable way to treat mentally ill prisoners. Hopefully, the case of Ashley Smith will be given the media attention it deserves and lead to a higher level of accountability among all levels of care within federal penitentiary facilities.


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