By Heidi J. T. Exner
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with 1L Sasha Reid to talk about her exciting new UCalgary Law and Psychology Club, which was approved by SLS vote on October 19, 2021.
Prior to venturing into law, Sasha earned her PhD at the University of Toronto in Developmental Psychology and Human Development. The focus of her dissertation was the developmental origin of serial killers. This background has enabled her to work in prisons to counsel inmates. It also led her to develop databases of serial killers and missing and murdered persons to better understand the landscape of Canadian unsolved crimes. Sasha made headlines in 2018 when her missing and murdered persons database led her to accurately predict that a serial killer was operating in a gay community in Toronto in the past decade. Her work has been featured in Popular Science, Flare, Vanity Fair, and on Netflix.
Sasha says the core purpose of the UCalgary Law and Psychology Club is “to look at how flawed psychology in communities, and particularly smaller communities, can lead to massive legal injustice for people who are marginalised.” The first of a series of this club’s events, which aims to do just this, is a documentary screening planned for November 30, 2021. In this event the club will focus on the wrongful conviction of the San Antonio 4, which was a group of women who were all LGBTQ+ and were targeted by police and the community due to their sexual orientation. This wrongful conviction illustrates one of the dangers of flawed psychology in community settings.
Over the course of my conversation with Sasha I learned a lot about the psychology of murder. She is a wealth of knowledge, as one might expect. For example, she informed me that 1 out of every 100 people are psychopathic. Chances are that we all know a psychopath or two. Statistically speaking, as law students we are more likely to know (or be) one, to boot: the top three professions that draw psychopaths are law, medicine, and journalism. However, Sasha is keen to dispel common myths about psychopathy, which include that psychopath has a propensity to murder. A psychopath might be a bit of a jerk, but they are not more likely to murder you.
Check out details about this club’s upcoming Documentary Screening and their Wrongful Conviction Discussion Panel coming up in December in this issue’s “What’s Happening on Campus,” or on the UCalgary Law and Psychology Instagram (@ucalgarylawandpsych) and Facebook page. Their website is also coming soon.
Sasha Reid, founder and president of the UCalgary Law and Psychology Club
“I believe lawyers would be better off if we were cognizant of our flaws and accept these flaws as reality; just being aware can make a life-changing difference to those of us who are subject to our justice systems.”
As an aspiring lawyer, Sasha has her sights set on engaging in justice reform to help exonerate wrongfully convicted persons. She also hopes to make a meaningful contribution to legislation governing DNA databases, specifically the use of familial DNA database searches. We are excited to see all the cool stuff Sasha does over the months and years to come.