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Sep 10, 2013

Brazilian Prison incentivizes prisoners to provide pedal powered energy.

Brazil's Santa Rita do Sapucai prison has found a new source of alternative energy: its own prisoners. The prison has offered to save time off of prisoner's sentences if they'll charge batteries using special bikes and their own two legs.

Inmate Ronaldo da Silva hops on a bicycle and pedals furiously, clocking up several kilometers before slowing down and jumping off.Silva hasn't gotten far, infact not an inch. He's still inside the medium security prison where he's serving a 5.5-year sentence for holding up a bakery, standing next to a stationary bike. But he did move a bit closer to freedom. Silva is part of an innovative program that allows inmates at a prison in Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais state to reduce their sentences in exchange for generating power to help illuminate the town at night.

By pedaling the prison's stationary bikes, the inmates charge a battery that's used to power 10 street lamps along the town riverside promenade . For every three eight-hour days they spend on the bikes, Silva and the voluntary program's other participants get one day shaved off their sentences.


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