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The Fifth Estate Documentary on Ashley Smith’s Case (Movie Review Sample)


Analysis and review of Ashley smith's documentary


The Fifth Estate Documentary on Ashley Smith’s Case
Ashley Smith was a white, Canadian teen girl who had a normal childhood in Moncton, New Brunswick. She started committing minor offenses and getting into trouble with various authorities (“Ashley Smith: Out of Control (2010) - the Fifth Estate” 00:04:45-00:04:51). Smith’s parents reported that they saw distinct behavioral changes in their daughter at age thirteen or fourteen. She underwent a psychological evaluation that determined she had no mental health problem. However, Ashley’s conduct deteriorated, and she was suspended from school repeatedly.
Ashley’s behavioral issues led to her first incarceration. She was sent to custody for the offense of throwing crabapples at a mailman (“Ashley Smith: Out of Control (2010) - the Fifth Estate” 00:05:30-00:06:00). The mailman was considered a public employee; therefore, the offense was taken seriously even though he was not injured. While Ashley had been in trouble for minor things before, she had never spent time in custody. Ashley’s sentence was to stay for a month in youth custody. During this sentence, she was isolated in solitary confinement—misleadingly branded as “therapeutic quiet time” by youth correction officers—for what correctional officers determined to be disruptive behavior on her first day in custody (“Ashley Smith: Out of Control (2010) - the Fifth Estate” 00:07:33-00:07:45). Her term in custody was supposed to be short. However, owing to the accumulation of hundreds of subsequent sentences stemming from disciplinary cases, including those she received for self-harm, she remained in custody for three years.

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