CLCM Monthly Reader : February

photo by publik15 on Flickr

Tired of waiting until the end of the month to read the latest news about literature and criminal justice? Beginning in March, Changing Lives, Changing Minds will post these links as they hit the press. Keep up with the latest news in the field and read our biweekly essays by subscribing to our RSS feed or bookmarking our blog in your browser. 

February Reports on Criminal Justice and Alternative Sentencing

United States Sentencing Commission’s Alternative Sentencing in the Federal Criminal Justice System 

From the report:

This paper analyzes alternative sentences for federal offenders and, specifically, United States citizens sentenced under various types of alternatives. This analysis describes current federal sentencing policy governing alternative sentences and examines offenders with alternative sentences using the United States Sentencing Commission’s data. An analysis of factors associated with alternative sentences imposed for eligible offenders provides insight into considerations made by federal sentencing courts in determining whether to impose alternatives.


Pew Findings Provide First 50-State Comparison of Corrections Populations and Costs   

The Pew Center on the States announced the impending release of a follow-up report to last year’s One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008. According to the Pew Center for the States website, the report will include the following: 

  • New data that ranks states by the proportion of their adult populations that are behind bars or under community supervision;
  • A breakdown of state corrections spending on prisons, probation and parole over the past 25 years, the first data of this kind available since 2002;
  • Fact sheets that provide corrections population and cost data for each state;
  • A series of policy recommendations with case studies that states can use to strengthen their corrections systems, cut costs and reduce crime.

The Sentencing Project’s The State of Sentencing 2008: Developments in Policy and Practice

From the Sentencing Project:

A new report by The Sentencing Project highlights 17 states that enacted sentencing and corrections reforms in 2008. [The report] finds that a nationwide budget crisis coupled with widespread prison overcrowding has led many states to address critical challenges in the areas of sentencing, drug policy, parole revocation, racial justice, felony disenfranchisement, juvenile justice, and higher education in prison….In the report, The Sentencing Project urges state policymakers and practitioners to reconsider sentencing policies that result in lengthy terms of incarceration; invest in strategies proven to reduce recidivism; and expand diversion and treatment programs beyond first-time and non-violent offenders.






Bibliotherapy: Reading to Heal
McNally Robinson has a new section in its stores: Bibliotherapy. And, for once, the section is comprised of quality literature instead of self-help books. 

Prison Rehab Programs Are Working. Prison Population Has Stopped Expanding

The Austin American Statesman reports: “Texas’ prison population has stopped growing for the time being, thanks in part to a controversial changes in corrections policy two years ago that ballooned funding for rehabilitation programs.”


Enjoy a Good Read for Good Health
The Jakarta Globe explains how reading classic literature can improve mental- and physical- well-being.

WBUR’s Project Dropout: Inmates Long for a Second Shot at School
Listen and watch an edition of radio station WBUR’s Project Dropout that explores the link between school dropouts and incarceration.

In Defense of Readers 
A List Apart’s Mandy Brown discusses the reading experience and guides web designers to change online text viewing from an act of “looking” to an act of “reading.”


Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Legal Landscapes, and Form Reform: The Case of Diversion
From the abstract: “[David B. Wexler’s paper] discusses several therapeutic and antitherapeutic legal landscapes operative in diversion, sentencing, and corrections, such as sentence credit for presentence confinement, the relevance of post-offense and post-sentence rehabilitation on sentence imposition, and the absence of motivational power in the federal mechanism of supervised release.”

Educators discuss integrating diversity, literacy, arts 
A workshop in New Bedford, MA examines how the arts can play a powerful role in helping students make the most of their education and individual potentials.


Preventing Crime 101: More College in Prison
In New York, the Correctional Association is encouraging the state to spend money on college courses for inmates, arguing that inmates with college degrees are less likely to reoffend.

Online Literacy is a Lesser Kind  
Published in September 2008 but new on our radar this month, Mark Bauerlein’s article explores how online reading differs–and affects–traditional print reading.’s Kindle Goes From Good to Better
The New York Times introduces the Kindle 2–the new e-book reader from Amazon–and explores how it’s changing the face of reading.


One thought on “CLCM Monthly Reader : February

  1. Yes, thanks Jenni for this post. All these articles contribute to the ongoing discussion. Bauerlein’s article on the difference between reading online and reading a book is particularly interesting to me, and it seems to connect nicely to a number of comments on our blog over the last few weeks about “deep reading.”

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