Renewable energy helps Brazilian inmates get out of jail

By RTCC Staff

A scheme in a Brazilian jail allows inmates to cut their sentences in return for generating electricity on an exercise bike.

Freedom is a few kW away for some Brazilian prisoners who can trade pedal powered clean energy for time off their sentences. (Source:Creative Commons/Chris Willis)

The initiative in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerai rewards inmates for charging a battery which is then transported nightly to a riverside promenade in the town of Santa Rita do Sapucai.

Three eight hour sessions on the bikes earns each inmate a day off their sentence.

“We used to spend all day locked up in our cells, only seeing the sun for two hours a day,” Ronaldo da Silva told the Associated Press. “Now we’re out in the fresh air, generating electricity for the town and at the same time we’re winning our freedom.”

Silva is serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence for robbing a bakery and has already trimmed 20 days off his term and 4 kg off his waist.

The four bikes currently installed power 10 lamps along a stretch of the town’s river, but there are plans to add extra so that they can light 34 lamps through the town.

A guard collects the battery at the end of the day and installs it in the lighting system. The project also rewards inmates for reading and taking classes in a range of subjects.

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

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