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Brazilian prisoners can pedal their way to freedom

Inmates in a Brazilian prison are pedaling their way to freedom and helping save the environment.
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Brazilian prisoners can pedal a stationary bike to help produce electricity in exchange for time off their sentence. (Getty/AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Inmates in Brazil's Santa Rita do Sapucai prison are pedaling their way to freedom and helping save the environment. 

Jose Henrique Mallmann, the city’s judge, came up with and instated an innovative new policy that rewards prisoners for generating energy by riding stationery bikes, according to a report in the Jornal Nacional. He reportedly got the idea from similar programs in the US. 

For every 16 hours a prisoner rides a bike, authorities shave one entire day off his or her sentence. 

The charged batteries are then brought into the neighboring community and used to power streetlights. Each full battery can power six light bulbs, according to Business Insider.

Using the bikes is not a mandatory requirement for prisoners, but so far inmates have reportedly been lining up at the chance to put the pedal to the metal.

The program has been so successful thus far, that the prison plans to add even more power-generating bikes to help further reduce sentences, TreeHuger.com reported. The additional bikes will be able to provide enough light to illuminate an entire street or town square.

Beyond lighting the community, it is also helping some prisoners whittle their waistlines. One inmate told Jornal Nacional, "I was a little chubby. I've lost about nine pounds [riding the bikes]."

More from GlobalPost: Brazilian inmates offered early release through reading program

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/brazilian-prisoners-can-pedal-their-way-freedom