Brazilian Inmates Use Stationary Bikes to Generate Power

The wheels of justice are rolling in Brazil.

The country’s Santa Rita do Sapucaí prison has offered inmates a reduction in their sentences – albeit a light one – if they use their legs to charge batteries using special bikes.

City judge José Henrique Mallmann got the idea for his battery-charging bikes from other prisons that offer prisoners incentives for riding bikes, including Phoenix, Ariz.'s Tent City Jail that requires female inmates to ride a bike while watching television.

For every 16 hours a Brazilian prisoner pedals, he can reduce his sentence by one day.

The batteries the inmates charge while pedaling are taken every night into the city center, where they keep citizens out of the dark by illuminating street lamps. The program has become popular among inmates as it alleviates boredom and keeps them in shape.

One inmate even said he has so far lost "about four pounds."

The prison will soon add eight more bikes to the original two due to the program’s popularity. The ten bikes would generate enough power to lighten a city block, so if the city wants to be fully prison-powered it will need a lot more inmates saddling up.

The Arizona model, which influenced the Brazilian program, was started back in 2010 by controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Named “Pedal Vision,” the Maricopa County sheriff, known for his tough stance toward undocumented immigrants, let female inmates pedal stationary bikes with one hour on the bike equaling one hour of television.

The TV’s power was generated from pedaling the bikes.

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