Booking It beyond the Big House

Jean Trounstine

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Booking It beyond the Big House

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Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL), a program originally for male probationers, was the 1991 brainchild of Judge Robert Kane and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professor Robert Waxler. Kane and Waxler were interested in the thinking behind the choices people made. Their idea was simple but profound: literature could be a road to insight, and insight could pave the way to change. Literature discussion groups that put probationers on the same playing field as judges and probation officers had been unheard of in our criminal justice system. The belief that everyone's opinion about the story mattered, and that no one had the final say, democratized the conversation. Joining with Judge Joseph Dever from the Lynn District Court and with probation officers from both Lynn and Lowell, the author helped began the first program for incarcerated women in 1992. She compiled the first CLTL syllabus with books all by women authors. CLTL allows participants an opportunity to rethink their lives, rewrite their tales, adding a new chapter to whatever came before.

Keywords: Changing Lives Through Literature; Robert Kane; Robert Waxler; literature; discussion groups; probationers; Joseph Dever; Massachusetts; incarcerated women; probation officers

Chapter.  3186 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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