Apparently Romanian law allows you 30 days off your sentence for every book you publish while in jail. Naturally jailbirds are beavering away. The Balkanist provides some details. One of the scams available to well-off politicians and business tycoons who are being jailed in a corruption clean-up, is to hire an “academic research consultant” who does “research” for you. These ghostwriters submit their “research” which the prisoner then copies out. The law naturally requires that the book should be your own work, and sufficient evidence for this is that it’s written out in your own handwriting. As prisoners are not allowed access to a computer, and library facilities in the clink are rudimentary, this is obviously a good route for those who can afford it. After the manuscript has been completed a tame publisher will print a handful of copies which are presented to the parole board, who tend to have no criteria for judging what’s good or even original. It is estimated that since 2014 157 such books have so far been published, with up to five coming from some authors. Clearly the print book is alive and well in Romania. Such forces of reason as exist are determined on reform, and hope to reverse the law permitting this “Get out of jail” card.

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