On an emotionally powerful and thought-provoking episode of After Hours AM/The Criminal Code — True Crime Wednesdays 9-11pE with hosts Joel Sturgis, Eric Olsen, and secret weapon, forensic psychologist Dr. Clarissa Cole — we welcome author Carys Cragg, whose harrowing new Dead Reckoning details the heinous murder of her father during her childhood, and her “restorative justice” communication with the murderer leading to a form of reconciliation. We speak with Carys at 10pE; at 9pE Clarissa leads us through the week’s most peculiar True Crime news.
Dead Reckoning: How I Came to Meet the Man Who Murdered My Father
When Carys Cragg was eleven, her father, a respected doctor, was brutally murdered in his own home by an intruder. Twenty years later, and despite the reservations of her family and friends, she decided to contact his murderer in prison, and the two corresponded for two years. She learned of his horrific childhood, and the reasons he lied about the murder; in turn, he learned about the man he killed. She mined his letters for clues about the past before agreeing to meet him in person, when she learned startling new information about the crime.
With gripping suspense and raw honesty, Dead Reckoning follows one woman’s determination to confront the man who murdered her father, revealing her need for understanding and the murderer’s reluctance to tell―an uneasy negotiation between two people from different worlds both undone by tragedy. This is a powerful and emotional memoir about how reconciling with the past doesn’t necessarily provide comfort, but it can reveal the truth.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- In August 2017, Mike Farnsworth, the new solicitor general and the minister of Public Safety in British Columbia, announced plans to expand the province’s restorative-justice system. There are currently 92 restorative justice programs in the province and 32 Aboriginal justice programs applying restorative justice principles.
- Mike Welsh, president of the Canadian Bar Association notes that “Restorative justice gives offenders an opportunity to personally take responsibility for their actions and for the victim to feel like they are part of the justice process.”
- As Canadians persistently debate retributive and restorative justice models, Cragg provides a powerful voice for how to best include victims’ needs in the equation.
- Drawing on her background in youth outreach, Cragg illustrates how at-risk youth slip through the cracks to enter into criminal lifestyles, increasing our understanding of the forces driving perpetrators of violent crime.
Raised on Vancouver’s North Shore and in Calgary, Alberta, Carys Cragg is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio. Her personal essays, short memoir, book reviews, and opinions have appeared in The Globe & Mail, Understorey, The Tyee, 48 North, Matrix, and Canadian School Counsellor, among others, and anthologized in emerge14 and The Places We’ve Been: Field Reports from Travellers Under 35. Dead Reckoning is her first book.
Carys holds a BA in Human & Social Development, and MA in Child & Youth Care from the University of Victoria, where she studied writing as an act of spiritual self-care and surviving grief and loss. Her MA thesis was nominated for numerous awards. She now consults for social services organizations in the Lower Mainland and is a faculty member in Douglas College’s Child & Youth Care, Aboriginal Stream, and Youth Justice programs.