Saturday, February 25, 2012

Literary sentence

A judge in Utah is sentencing people to read books, like Hugo's Les Misérables, not as a punishment, but as a tool.

For example,

Fernando Infante, who will be 20 this May, is an inmate at the Cache County Jail. He was already incarcerated last year on burglary and theft charges when he was charged with stabbing another inmate, causing serious injury.

Willmore said the state did not want to see Infante go to prison because of his young age. But he had few options, due to the violent nature of his crime.

So, Infante is now in maximum security at the Cache County Jail, where he sits in a jail cell 23 hours a day. However, because Willmore did not want him to do nothing but watch time go by, he ordered Infante to read as many books as he could during his incarceration.

Every 10 days or so, Willmore gets a letter from Infante, who tells him about the books he has been reading.

"I am able to see how he has grown and changed, how he applies himself to a character and sees the changes he can make in his life," Willmore said.

Helena is starting on a similar program herself this week. The student teacher has asked that each of the students write her a letter about the book they are reading.

I guess we're all of us, criminal or not, sentenced for life. Maybe it's why I do this. Read, and blog about it, I mean. Maybe I'm supposed to learn something.
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