June 25, 2012
Prison officials in Brazil have come up with a novel way to try to rehabilitate prisoners — by letting them read. According to a Reuters news report, certain inmates are offered the chance to shave four days off their sentence for every novel read and reported properly (with respect to grammar, sentence flow and general comprehension.) A good reader dedicated to the program could trim a maximum of 48 days per year off his or her prison sentence under this program.
I think is a good idea, if for no other reason than a well-read person tends to be a more well-rounded person, one less likely to succumb to the vile siren song of crime. However, that may just be my imagination, the way I’d like to think things are. I suppose we’ll see.
"A person can leave prison more enlightened and with an enlarged vision of the world," said Sao Paulo lawyer Andre Kehdi, who heads a book donation project for prisons. Kehdi, also another apparent optimist, is taking a slight risk with this program. He’s betting that an enlightened mind is, de facto, a less dark mind.
What do you think? Is it possible that, by expanding and flexing these criminals’ minds they could actually become rehabilitated? A part of me hopes so.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is eagerly expected in summer 2012.