Changing Lives Through Literature is an alternative sentencing program that has its roots in New Bedford, MA. Created by Robert Waxler, the program has spread out to other states and offers qualified offenders the option to join a book club in lieu of standard probation sentences. Studies thus far have demonstrated that participants have a lower recidivism rate and that the program saves the government tens of thousands of dollars.
Here is an excerpt of their philosophy:
“Changing Lives Through Literature is based on the idea that literature has the power to transform. Although it sounds simple – it’s essentially a reading group that meets over a period of weeks and that is attended by an instructor, probation officer, judge, and students – CLTL has the ability to allow us to make connections with the characters or ideas in a text and to rethink our own behavior.”
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Reprinted with permission from Changing Lives Through Literature.