Thriller writers are necessarily consumed with crime and punishment. Who gets off? Who gets caught? Is the killer murdered or sent to prison? Does he or she go free? Our novels are our worlds where we can deliver justice as we see fit, or as we believe it is doled out in real life. Perhaps this obsession with punishment is one of the reasons that I was drawn to this NPR story: Teens Who Vandalized Historic Schoolhouse With Swastikas Sentenced To Reading.It has been shown that reading fiction improves the ability to empathize, perhaps because it encourages individuals to get into the mind of a character whose circumstances are undoubtedly different from their own. What better way to rehabilitate teenage perpetrators of non-violent hate crimes than by encouraging them to empathize with the people whom they had targeted?The teens were sentenced to go to the Holocaust museum and write a book report per month from a reading list curated by the judge. The books include Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner, and Richard Wright’s Native Son.I’ve read all of these and loved them. Two I read in high school and I think they definitely gave me more of an understanding of the legacy of discrimination, both economic and on the collective conscious of those discriminated against.What do you think of the judge’s actions?