“Reading changes criminality; Film at 11” Or: WHERE DO THEY GET THIS SH*T?

[In which we marvel at the attempt of Generation Y to reason its way out of a paper bag….]

A few weeks ago, AD announced that she was going to direct her efforts toward helping inmates become better readers. I advised her that the Education Division already does an admirable job of this, and couldn’t she spend her time and talents focusing on inmate criminality?

Her reply:

literacy (sic) isn’t just about ESL…literacy (sic) in the DOC is about fostering an appreciation of reading in inmates, which i (sic) believe helps to address their criminality. just (sic) last week, an inmate wrote a piece in the inmate newspaper [developed by CRA] about bettering himself at the library; how even learning a new word a week can be the key to bettering oneself (he also was in ABLE MINDS last time around). to (sic) me, that’s literacy and that’s hopefully preparing these inmates to be better citizens once on the outside.


The problem with this kind of ‘hope’ is that it’s woefully misguided. Corrections doesn’t operate on hope; it operate on cognitive-based studies regarding efforts that directly address criminal thinking and anti-social behavior. Nebulous theories that reading somehow is enough to change criminals into citizens has no scientific support; indeed, it’s not even reasonable on its face. It’s a pipe-dream of liberals who convince themselves that reading naturally leads to greater self-esteem, which necessarily leads to wanting to better themselves, which magically leads to getting a job, and invariably results in a better citizenry.

Poppycock and balderdash. Without programmatic efforts to address criminality, all literacy does on its own is make a literate criminal out of an illiterate criminal. Address the errors in thinking that causes criminality, THEN introduce variables like literacy to the mix, and you stand half a chance of reclaiming a life mired in crime.