Brazil will offer inmates in its crowded federal penitentiary system a new way to shorten their sentences: a reduction of four days for every book they read.
Inmates in four federal prisons holding some of Brazil's most notorious criminals will be able to read up to 12 works of literature, philosophy, science or classics to trim a maximum 48 days off their sentence each year, the government announced.
Prisoners will have up to four weeks to read each book and write an essay that must "make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up writing", said the notice published on Monday in the official gazette.
A panel will decide which inmates are eligible to participate in the programme, dubbed Redemption through Reading.
"A person can leave prison more enlightened and with a enlarged vision of the world," said Sao Paulo lawyer Andre Kehdi, who heads a book donation project for prisons.
"Without doubt they will leave a better person," he said.
The country has a crowded federal penitentiary system so it is hoped this initiative will ease the number of prisoners in jail.