In Massachusetts, juvenile offenders might be sentenced to time at a detention center, or they may be sentenced to "Hamlet"! For the last 17 years, 'Shakespeare in the Courts' works to have lower level offenders learn and perform the Bard instead of serving time.
The six-week program is intended to teach these criminals to learn to respect the feelings of others, fulfill a commitment, and feel a sense of pride. Over the years, only a handful have dropped out or quit. But in the beginning, most said they'd rather serve jail time than have to learn a play.
This isn't the only Shakespeare related program in the criminal system, however. Jails across the country offer similar options to incarcerated men and women. The goal there is to boost confidence and literacy among the inmates.
Source: New York Post