Wasted Time


A stark and honest memoir of thirty-five years spent in Canada’s prison system.

Born and raised in Toronto’s Regent Park, Edward Hertrich left high school in grade eleven to start working. A year later, he started dealing drugs in earnest, beginning a criminal career that resulted in him being incarcerated for thirty-five of his next forty years.

In Wasted Time, Hertrich describes his time behind bars. Once considered a serious threat to public safety, he spent much of his time at Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security prison that housed four hundred of Canada’s most dangerous inmates, including murderers, bank robbers, and gang members, as well as — for most of his stay there — a gang of sadistic guards.


Wasted Time is anything but that as a book! It’s a gritty, realistic, and highly relevant look at poverty, criminal activity, and our penal system. There is nothing here that trivializes the violence involved in a life of drug use or time spent behind bars. It’s a stark – and very human – account of one man’s mistakes, as well as a society’s miscalculations as to the true cost of crime and punishment. I’d recommend it as essential reading material to anyone contemplating a life of crime, and highly compelling reading material to anyone curious about why some people blindly follow that path.

Neil Rowe, author & composer

There are many stories of Canadians who have been lost to the criminal margins of society. Too few are able to make their way back to the 'respectable' workaday world. And even in those cases, we rarely know their stories, because they are too busy dealing with life's challenges to describe them to the rest of us. Ed Hertrich is that rare writer who has seen the very depths of the underclass, confronted his demons, and then taken the time and effort to tell his story and describe what he's learned. This is a valuable look at the Canada few of us ever see.

Jonathan Kay, journalist and author of Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground

[Wasted Time] takes the reader on a devastating journey that ends with a sense of redemption; it brings to the surface a variety of emotions not only for the writer but also the reader — anger, grief, exhilaration and a sense of sadness for a wasted life.

Toronto Sun

About the Author

Edward Hertrich

Posted by Dundurn Guest on March 27, 2018
Edward Hertrich photo

Edward Hertrich

Edward Hertrich spent decades in prison for crimes committed in his youth. Having served his sentences and completed five years on parole, he now strives to spread a clearer understanding of life and redemption. Edward lives in Toronto, Ontario.