Changing Lives Through Literature Graduation at Lawrence District Court
Sixteen probationers, the largest class to date, will celebrate their completion of the Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL) Program today, Thursday, May 11, 3 p.m. at the Lawrence District Court House, 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence.
The CLTL Program is a seven-week program that was created more than 20 years ago by a Probation Officer, judge, and literature professor to engage probationers in an activity that would reduce recidivism and demonstrate to probationers that there are better opportunities available to them through education. CLTL is one of the longest running programs of the Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS).
Several of the Lawrence graduates will read from their own writings at Thursday’s ceremony. During the seven-week program, participants read “Street Shadows” written by author Jerald Walker. Walker attended the last class. Lawrence CLTL participants included 13 men and three women, ages 20 to 45.
The program’s instructor included Professor Kassie Rubico of Northern Essex Community College. In addition to the participants, Presiding Justice Lynn C. Rooney and the probation officers—Patricia Evangelista-Stout and Lidia Maldonado-- all read the book and participated in discussions. Other participants included Probation Officer Ellen Carter, Clerk's Department support staff Nate Santer, Court interpreter Narda Horton- Campusano, and BAR Advocate Alicia McNeil.
There are roughly 10 CLTL Programs offered statewide in the court system and facilitated by Probation Officers. Since its start, the CLTL Program has also been offered in such states as Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Texas. There have also been programs in Canada and England. There are CLTL programs that also include the reading of poetry.