Brazil has established a unique and literally “novel” program to reduce overcrowding in prisons: award 48 days off of their term each year if they manage to read 12 literature, philosophy, science, or “classic” books and then right coherent essays on those books. First, as a historian, I can’t help but ask: where are the history books? Why don’t those count?). More seriously, this is actually an interesting idea. Certainly, many of Brazil’s prisoners come from lower classes and often did not finish their schooling, so in one regard, it seems like it might advantage those who are “better off” in terms of educational background than those who did not finish school; on the other hand, if the plan is to help improve literacy rates and expose prisoners to new ideas, then I think this is actually not a bad way to go about rehabilitating people.
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