Brazil’s “Redemption through Reading” program has announced that it will offer to reduce prison sentences for inmates in high security prisons by four days (up to a maximum of 48 days per year) for each book they read. They will also need to submit a well written book report proving their comprehension.
The program is an effort to reduce recidivism through education and provide incarcerated men and women with a different worldview. Brazil will test out the program’s efficiency with criminals from four high-security prisons. They will have 4 weeks to read each book and write a book report.
So far there is no approved book list or detailed requirements. I can’t imagine The Anarchist Cookbook or Prison Escape would be appropriate reading material.
Sao Paulo lawyer Andre Kehdi stated that:
“A person can leave prison more enlightened and with an enlarged vision of the world.”
Many people in favor of the program argue that studies all over the world regarding prisons suggest that
“long periods of isolation with little mental stimulus contributed to poor mental health and led to intense feelings of anger, frustration, and anxiety.”
Hopefully reading and writing can provide adequate mental stimulus to ensure prisoners never return. However, reading and writing aren’t the only approach being tried on inmates to reduce recidivism. In America we’re trying some new techniques too. From puppies to entrepreneurship, recidivism is being tackled head on.
The Globe and Mail: Brazilian Inmates Offered Reduced Sentences for Reading Books
Huffington Post: Prison Programs Take Innovative Approach To Reducing Recidivism