Date: July 17, 2008
"We are very appreciative that the Commonwealth and our SouthCoast legislative delegation have once again chosen to support this important initiative,'' said CLTL Director Robert Waxler, an English Professor at UMass Dartmouth, who founded the program in 1991 with New Bedford Judge Robert Kane and Probation Officer Wayne St. Pierre . "The program has proven to be a wise investment in the public safety of the Commonwealth by truly changing the lives of offenders. At about one-fifth of the cost of incarcerating a person, we have been able to change the way these individuals view their place in the world and make them less likely to re-offend."
CLTL uses literature as a way to reach criminal offenders on probation. During 10-12 week seminars participants read and discuss works of literature, develop verbal and listening skills and undergo self-reflection in the process.
Independent studies indicate a reduction in recidivism rates and decreased violent behavior with CLTL. To date, more than 4,000 men, women and teenagers have participated. The Massachusetts program has grown to approximately 200 per year.
Since its inception, the program has expanded to Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Virgina, and Great Britain. A Canadian program is being developed.
CLTL was the subject of a feature article in a recent issue of UMass Dartmouth magazine --http://www.umassd.edu/publicaffairs/magazine/ . Additional information on the program can be found at http://cltl.umassd.edu.