Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) will receive $100,000 from the Massachusetts Legislature as part of the state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. CLTL is an alternative sentencing program founded in 1991 on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus by Professor Robert P. Waxler and Judge Robert Kane.
CLTL ran 28 programs in Massachusetts last year and hopes to expand its base this year. It also conducts programs in several other states including Arizona, Kansas, California, New York, Florida, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Texas. According to Professor Waxler, it costs about $500 to send a criminal offender though this program compared to about $30,000 to keep that person in jail for a year. Studies have demonstrated that this innovative literature program reduces recidivism rates by as much as half.
Professor Waxler praised, in particular, Senator Mark Montigny and Representative John Quinn for their support and dedication to the CLTL program and the entire Southcoast Delegation for their efforts in the Legislature this year on behalf of CLTL.
"The Changing Lives Through Literature Program is a wonderful testimony to the power of literature to change lives, " Professor Waxler said. "Over the years, CLTL has saved the Commonwealth millions of dollars, keeping people out of jail and helping to make people into productive citizens and tax payers," Waxler added.
Changing Lives Through Literature conducts programs for adult and for juvenile criminal offfenders. It also has an extensive website: www.cltl.umassd.edu
. Several journal articles and books have discussed CLTL over the years, as well as many news articles in such outlets as the New York Times, Parade Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The Christian Monitor.