Picture Remembrance of Things Past as a literary ankle bracelet that keeps you chained to the desk for months.
Some folks in the New Bedford area have come up with an idea for alternative sentencing, i.e., ways to justify not sending someone to jail. It's called Changing Lives Through Literature.
College professors and graduate students, judges and probation officers, and convincted criminals meet to study literature in hopes that the experience will provide self-awareness if not actual change in behavior. Studies of the program's effect on recidivism are too small to be significant.
A group of young men who broke into and vandalized Robert Frost's home were sentenced to read "The Road not Taken," in a particularly apt case of "let the punishment fit the crime." Comparisons are made to the 12-step programs to which criminals are sometimes sentenced as an alternative to incarceration.
“I don’t want to be all negative,” the [parole] officer begins, “but you have to read this book.” Not as in “This is a must-read,” but “We’ve had people go to jail for not reading.”
Every English teacher's dream.
See the complete New York Times article here.