Brazilian Inmates Pedal Their Way to Freedom
2012-07-25 0:00


At one particular Brazilian jail, inmates dont actually need both wheels on their bicycle to make an escape. By pedaling on stationary bikes, they can reduce their sentence and also get into shape.

The medium-security penitentiary of Santa Rita do Sapucai, a mountain range city about two hours north of Sao Paolo, has recently made headlines for its controversial sentence-reducing program. Thought up by the local judge, Jose Henrique Mallmann, who said he was inspired by a piece of news he read on the Internet about gyms in the United States where people generate electricity by riding stationary bikes, this two-month old program has inmates doing the same thing to reduce their stay in jail. For every three eight-hour days riding the bikes, criminals have one day of sentence shaved off. Its a pretty good deals, but like other recently-implemented programs in Brazilian jails, it sparked some controversy around the South-American country.

We used to spend all day locked up in our cells, only seeing the sun for two hours a day, Ronaldo da Silva, an inmate at Santa Rita do Sapucai jail, said. Now were out in the fresh air, generating electricity for the town and at the same time were winning our freedom. He has already managed to shave 20 days off his sentence and lost 9 pounds in the process. The eight participants in the unique program quickly work up a sweat on the stationary bicycles, as producing energy makes pedaling hard, but the cool mountain air makes it bearable.

Brazil inmates cycle to freedom by generating... by euronews-en

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