Did we ever think of reading culture as a panacea for crime alleviation?

On the foregone pieces we have been dealing the different facets of creative writing. On this turn, I would like to evoke the common grudge that made us to unable to underplay the ample opportunity to use reading culture across the Prisons. The Narrative of Ragged Dick (Ana-Isabel Aliaga Buchenau’s The Dangerous Potential of Reading) argued that reading allows the protagonist to change his social status. As the title seems to scream out for us as reading is not a pointless exercise. Notwithstanding, its ability to disrupt the social perception, books also can be dangerous if it is written in a dangerous way for the dismay of the readers. Indeed, it seems as we are on the verge of a different epoch where we don’t have a case to rumor someone’s as ‘hey this guy gone mad because he is a bookworm’. We forget to recognize that reading can change a ‘felony criminal’ to a ‘friendly millionaire’. Certainly, somebody reacts for such arguments as ‘why not?.
One of the notorious genre from novels is ‘crime fiction’ about which we can ponder questions that matter’s its ability to rehabilitate ‘prison inmates’. Whereas we had several cases where the identity of ‘ the antagonist’ within the crime fiction is so much remained controversial and open for politicization. As we can simplistically observe that, the good thing about authorship is not budget intensive when it is compared with film industry, unless it is investigated against the realistic level of the production. Authors can shuttle the protagonist by making the genre substance an ‘international crime’. In detective and crime fictions, it is not uncommon for the criminal character to stage different countries, which is uneasy task for filmmakers. The point is it is at the goodwill of their passion to spilt the ink of their pen to write a fiction of whatsoever.
Does any one of us dared meticulously before filling the shelves of prison libraries to alleviate the predicament of the criminal? Ironically enough, justice departments and prison administrators boggled with what may contain prison inmates so silent. The understatement of justice sector of developing nations, like ours, is short of seeing the fate of inmates when they reintegrate with the society. More often than not, prison warders stumbled with infiltration of books in skirmishing it in illicit flows of letters to and from inmates. Hilariously, they are inept of marking neither the constructive nor the destructive role of books. It is doubtful for the library experts to identify what sorts of protagonist’s tailors for the desired post-integration of prison inmates.
Gone are days for reducing the punishment of a crime within the political economy of the body as the renowned philosopher –Michael Foucoult deterministically argued in his dime ‘ Discipline and Punishment’. For Foucoult, it is a deliberate action for a state to take either ‘capital punishment’ or ‘torture’ for granted. Nowhere else, we found an argument which invites the human family to tolerate a crime as an acceptable social deviance. Across history, human being was in constant search for the best deal with crime, if not curing it altogether. However now we are also in time of dealing the crime just out of the box of ‘the body of the criminal’. Obviously, it is naïve to assume to kill crime through issuing death warrant on the criminal. Also dealing a crime within a convicted prison cell doesn’t necessarily mean to deal with the life and the body of the criminal.
What we recommend is shelving the prison libraries ought not to fall on reckless fulfillment prison librarians. The shoulders of prison librarians need to nudge the issue of alleviating crime at least by preventing ‘cyclical criminal’, since most criminals are possibly convicted again due to negligence in rehabilitating the criminal. Simplifying the task of listing the books for prisoners is like ‘to ignore the elephant in the room’; whereas books contains realms for the reader. Interestingly enough, prison inmates are in constant searches to have a mental refuge and relived from psychological trauma they faced as a result of their objectionable conviction.
In sum, we can deal a crime within prison cells through revisiting on how best to author and disseminate creative writing, which tailors the need for rehabilitating criminals. Good week!

This article is contributed by HOHE Award. HOHE Award is organized by Northeast Events to promote a culture of creative writing and reading in Ethiopia. Besides the main annual literary award, there are different events and trainings that run throughout the year with the main aim of promoting creative writing and reading among the general population and children in particular.

By Eyob Asfaw

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