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Redemption Through Reading: Book Reports To Shorten Prison Sentences

Four federal prisons in Brazil are trying an interesting pilot program on their inmates. Known as the “Redemption Through Reading” program, eligible prisoners (as decided by a specially-appointed judging panel) will be allowed to shorten their sentence by four days for every book they read, to a maximum 12 books per year – meaning a diligent, eligible prisoner could shave 48 days off a year’s incarceration.

The inmates are limited in their book selections and must choose from an approved list of literature, philosophy, science or classics. To ensure actual work, understanding and retention, each participant is required to complete an essay for every book, demonstrating correct use of paragraphs, margins and handwriting, as well as insights about the book.

Would it be too obvious to say this seems a novel approach? Probably. But it’s better than just having the judge throw the book at someone, I suppose (sorry). Book ’em!

And all of that education and writing experience might help them to write a memoir about the experience once they’re relased – perhaps some of these Brazilian prisoners might add to our list of Books Behind Bars: The Best Prison Literature.

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