Pedal fast for freedom: Brazilian prisoners use pedal power to generate city’s electricity

Brazilian prisoners cycling

The ongoing quest for clean, renewable energy sources is likely continue on for some time. Right now, all alternative energy options fail to fall under that elusive “silver bullet” category. While each offers up its own benefits and drawbacks, one long forgotten (or ignored, depending on how you want to look at it) source of zero-emission energy is just now being explored: prison power.

Euronews reports that inmates at a maximum security prison facility outside of São Paolo, Brazil, have taken to peddling for their freedom in an effort to provide the local community with clean, cheap, and renewable energy. Prisoners are given the option of reducing their sentence by pedaling bicycles that generate electricity. Not only is a great way to stay in shape, but for every three days of work one day is taken off their sentence.

According to reports, the program was the idea of a local judge, with both businesses and police lending a hand in its implementation.

“With our project, the idea is that they can now exercise, lose weight and at the same time it also benefits them because after every three days of work, their sentence shortens by one day,” said the prison’s director, Gilson Rafael Silva.

Without a doubt, the program seems to be mutually beneficial for both prisoners and residents of Santa Rita do Sapucai, where the electricity generated from the cycling inmates is being used to light up the riverside promenade, an area long abandoned, but reportedly showing signs of resurgence thanks in part to these peddling prisoners.