A new government scheme, dubbed the ‘Redemption through Reading’ programme has enabled some of Brazil’s most notorious criminals to be given the opportunity to reduce their prison sentences.

Inmates in Brazil’s overcrowded federal penitentiary system have been given the chance to shave up to 48 days a year off their sentences by reading books.

For every book a prisoner reads they will see their sentence reduced by four days, however no skim reading is allowed as they must follow this up with an essay demonstrating an understanding of what they have read.

Prisoners must also ‘make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up writing’, according to rules set out in the new guidelines.

Bookworms can read up to 12 books a year in subjects including literature, philosophy, science or classics.

The government believes their Redemption through Reading programme can have a positive impact on the lives of prisoners while providing a novel solution to their overcrowding prisons.

‘A person can leave prison more enlightened and with a enlarged vision of the world,’ said Sao Paulo lawyer Andre Kehdi, who heads the book donation project.

‘Without doubt they will leave a better person,’ he concluded.

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