Bob Rae says a public inquiry is needed to get to the root of the tragedy that befell Ashley Smith — the troubled teen who choked to death in her prison cell as guards stood watch.

The interim Liberal leader says an inquiry needs to go beyond the particulars of Smith’s death being examined at a coroner’s inquest to expose the general inability of the prison system to cope with mentally ill offenders.

Rae says it’s clear the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper won’t on its own reveal everything it knows about the Smith case.

He is frustrated that the Conservative government has not responded to his repeated questions as to whether more videos exist documenting the mistreatment of Smith and other mentally ill offenders.

Since the release last week of two disturbing videos — showing Smith being duct-taped and injected with powerful anti-psychotic drugs against her will — the government has said it’s ordered corrections officials to co-operate fully with a coroner’s inquest into Smith’s death.

But Rae says that’s not enough, since the inquest is only empowered to look into Smith’s final year in custody.