Saturday, December 15, 2012


Read 12 books. Write 12 essays. Spend 48 fewer days in jail.

My favorite fictional prison library from the Shashank
My students, and some friends, often ask me what the point of essays are. Why do they need to learn essay format? What are the pluses of knowing how to arrange a paragraph? Who cares?!?

I normally try to explain that the processes of brainstorming, organizing, and supporting their opinions are skills which are applicable to so many other areas. 

As valid is that argument is, now I have a new answer, the ability to write an essay could lower your time in prison!

According to a Reuters' article Reading offers Brazilian prisoners quicker escape a federal prison in Brazil is offering the chance for inmates to knock 4 days off of their sentence if they read a work of literature, philosophy, science or one of the classics and write an essay on the subject (for a maximum of 48 days).

Their essay MUST have proper paragraphs, use appropriate margins, be legible, and "be free of corrections."

Not every prisoner will be eligible for this, but nonetheless I will be using this as a solid reason why essay writing extends past academics.


  1. My old English teacher said "Writing is Thinking" and that "Re-writing is never finished." What we submit to criticism from our teachers and peers is a version of what is possible.

    1. Great points John! I know I had to re-write this just this orning due to the typos I let slip by last night...oops!


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