Get Out of Jail By Cycling
July 11, 2012 Leave a Comment
Brazilian inmates have found a way to shorten their jail sentence. Pedal on stationary bicycles, and help a local town generate electricity for their street lights! A great way to stay in shape as well. Remarkable concept.
The medium-security penitentiary of Santa Rita do Sapucai, a mountain range city about two hours north of Sao Paolo, has made headlines by allowing their inmates to reduce their sentences by participating in this controversial cycling program. The local judge who allowed it said he was inspired by a piece of news he read on the internet about gyms in the United States where people generated electricity by riding on stationary bikes.
The program has been around for two months. For every three eight hour days riding the bikes, criminals have one day of sentencing shaved off their records. The criminals apparently love it. They say they used to spend their days locked up in cells and without much sunlight, seeing the sun maybe for two hours a day. Now they are out in the fresh air, generating electricity for the town, and a the same time winning their freedom.
One inmate has already knocked off 20 days on his sentence, and has lost 9 pounds in the process!
Just how much electricity is this generating?
Engineers turned contributed bicycles from the municipal police in Santa Rita into electric bikes and hooked them up to batteries donated by local businesses. A converter is used that transforms the battery’s power into 110 volts required to power 10 streetlamps. Every night, a guard from the prison drives the battery from the jail to a riverside promenade and hooks it up to the converter, and in just a few moments, the streetlamps light up. In the early morning, the battery is taken back to the prison to be recharged.
It is essentially a win-win situation for all parties involved. The inmates get to reduce their sentence and get in better shape. The town gets some electricity to light their neighborhood at night and BAM! everyone is happy. I don’t see any problem with this program at all, as it really has no downside to it. The criminals are actually benefiting by being in this program because they will get in better shape. As an added bonus for participating, they get to reduce their sentence by a few days, no big harm. The town gets to light their streets at night, further reducing crime, and there wont be overcrowded prisons anymore. When the prisoners get out of prison, they will be in great shape, and ready to become productive members of society once again…we hope.