In Brazil's prisons, inmates shorten sentences by reading
The government has announced that they will have four days knocked off their sentence for every book they read. They will be able to read up to 12 works of literature, philosophy, science or classics. This means they will be entitled to to trim a maximum 48 days off their sentence each year.
Prisoners will have up to four weeks to read each book and write an essay. To qualify for the number of days to be reduced, they must ‘make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, and use margins’. The notice published yesterday also stated the handwriting would be under scrutiny and inmates must demonstrate ‘legible joined-up writing’.
A special panel will decide which inmates are eligible to participate in the programme dubbed Redemption through Reading. “A person can leave prison more enlightened and with a enlarged vision of the world,” said Sao Paulo lawyer Andre Kehdi, who heads a book donation project for prisons. “Without doubt, they will leave a better person,” he said. The country has a crowded federal penitentiary system so it is hoped this initiative will ease the number of prisoners in jail.