Program allows inmates to reduce sentences by generating power to help illuminate the town of Santa Rita do Sapucai at night. Sounds like a great idea until the reader stumbles on the statement that one day’s of cycling can give the energy needed to run six street light bulbs! Let’s hope that is one person cycling not the whole group!

Summary clipped from: Green Energy Saving Tips, 8/31/12. Story published by the Associated Press/SFGate, 7/10/12

The idea is simple. Prison inmates were asked to produce Green Energy while exercising and as a reward for their participation their time in prison is shaved off at an agreed rate! This pioneering program was piloted in Brazil at the Santa Rita do Sapucai prison. The prison is collecting the green energy produced by the cycling inmates. As an exchange the inmates get a reduction of their stay in prison.

The prison authorities have installed two exercise bikes in the prison’s yard and these bikes are connected to batteries. … The batteries are then taken to city of Santa Rita to power street lamps. It has been found that one day’s of cycling can give the energy needed to run six street light bulbs. Prison authorities have estimated that when the program is taken to its full scale the amount of green or alternative energy produced will be enough to illuminate the city!

What is the reward for the inmates? Actually there are two kinds of rewards. One is the indirect which is the exercise they get and the fact that they stay fit and the other is a day off their sentence for every 16 hours of pedalling. The additional benefit for the prison is that the inmates are kept busy and occupied; the prison is promoting its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) image.

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