Deputy warden denies putting career aspirations ahead of inmate's life

TORONTO – A former deputy warden denies putting her career aspirations ahead of the safety of a teen inmate who choked herself to death at an Ontario prison.

On the second day of the Ashley Smith inquest, Joanna Pauline also denied throwing frontline guards “under the bus” after Smith died in her cell.

Pauline says she cared deeply for the guards, who failed to intervene when Smith died six years ago.

She says she wasn’t in a position to second-guess their assessment of when Smith, 19, was in medical distress.

Smith’s family lawyer noted Pauline sent dozens of memos critical of guards for going into Smith’s cell too quickly.

Pauline says she didn’t realize the memos were causing guards to hesitate to intervene — with fatal consequences for Smith.

“I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing,” Pauline said.

“I am human and I’m not perfect, but I certainly cared deeply for them (the guards).”

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