“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway
Iranian Judge Qasem Naqizadeh seems to take Hemingway's words very much to heart as he has started a new trend of sentencing criminals to buying books and reading them instead of doing time in jail.
The country’s IRNA book news agency reported that Judge Naqizadeh, in a court in the north-eastern city of Gonbade-e Kavus, has been using alternative sentences to punish criminals instead of confining them to prison cells and rough treatment.
He apparently does so to avoid the effects of spending time in jail, including “irreversible physical and psychological impact on convicts and their families.”
Judge Naqizadeh orders convicted criminals to buy, read and summarize five books, and turn in the written summaries to him. The summaries must include a hadith, which is a statement attributed to the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad.
The judge uses this punishment for underage offenders, including teenagers with no past criminal record or crimes that are negligible. Of course, this sort of punishment can only apply to relatively minor crimes.
His out-of-the-box approach is one that educates culprits instead of causing further damage to their psyches.
When the books are read, they are passed on to the prisons, which keeps inmates busy and thus reduces further arguments and fights in the cells.