A Judge from the city of Gonbad-e Kavus in Iran has been handing out some peculiar sentences to those who are found guilty in his court. Rather than imposing prison terms, he is instead ordering some convicts to read a variety of five books.
This is thanks to a new law in Iran which gives more power to judges to hand out alternative sentences rather than simply sending criminals straight to prison. Judge Qasem Naqizadeh believes that it would do more harm than good to send people with no prior criminal record or who have only committed a petty crime to prison, so has taken to this new method.
After they have finished the books, they have to write a summary of them to prove that they have fully read and understand the contents. The convicts then give the summary back to the judge so he can decide whether they have carried out their sentence appropriately before the books are then donated to a local prison. This not only helps the convicted men but also helps lower the instances of violence in prison as reading has been shown to lower the number of fights in prison in Iran.
“The books were chosen so that all prisoners could make use of them, regardless of their literacy level, knowledge or age,” Judge Naqizadeh said. “They include books written in a very simple way as well as sophisticated scientific ones.”