Romanian Convicts Write Their Way Out Of Prison
Romania has a way for prisoners to get out of jail, and it's a lot less harrowing than crawling through a sewer pipe.
An unusual Romanian law allows for a 30-day reduction of a prison sentence for every scientific work a prisoner publishes. It's a well-intentioned law, written during the communist era and allowing for prisoners to do something other than manual labor to reduce their sentences. However, the recent Joyce-Carol-Oates level of book output suggests that this law is being abused.
For decades, a few books would come out of the Romanian prison system each year. Then, in 2014, 90 books were published by prisoners. In 2015, 340 different titles were published, and many of them in record time. A 212-page book was supposedly written by a prisoner over the span of seven hours, and a 180-pager was written in 12 hours. Take that, James Patterson.
What's going on?
Laura Stefan, a think tank analyst:
What we are seeing ... is the result of high-level people ending up in jail. These very powerful people are also rich and they can afford to have high-quality counsel, lawyers who teach them how to use the legislation...The quality of the work is poor, and some are bluntly copied.
Indeed, a football club owner who was serving time recently admitted that he did not write the four books he published in order to reduce his sentence.
There are those who feel the program is valuable, and many have published legitimate works while imprisoned. A journalist and former senator took advantage of the program, writing books about Romanian politics, a subject on which he now teaches classes.
An artist, who claims she was wrongly convicted and is appealing her sentencing, also found value in the program. She said it's a good option for well-educated prisoners.
As a person who was active, I wanted to do something so as not to waste my time.
What do you guys think?
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