I enjoy the opportunity to spend time catching up on my reading of Dr. Karen Franklin’s blog about forensic psychology and criminal law. I learn something and I’m impressed by her focus on making us familiar with some important current events in the field that may not get the spotlight in most American publications.
For instance, I loved her piece earlier this month detailing reforms that are taking place within Brazil’s prison system. Did you know that a small town in southeastern Brazil is now safer for dog walkers and joggers thanks to some inmates spending time on bicycles? Local businesses donated batteries, hooked them up to stationary bicycles, and now light is generated from aerobic activity that is taking place within the prison walls. Prisoners can have one day taken off their sentences for every three days they spend pedaling for power!
Brazil also is looking to tackle its adult illiteracy problem by encouraging inmates to complete book reports in exchange for up to four days off their sentence for each assignment that is completed to the liking of a judge. With the well-documented connection between education and probability of prison time, this incentive could encourage a decline in recidivism. I’m a strong believer in the power of a good book to change lives!
No one is going to accuse Brazil of being a poster child for acceptable living conditions for its prisoners, but it shows that the country is looking at the system by implementing this creative programs.
What do you think?
Should we set up some bikes in our prisons and give those locked inside the chance to light up our bike paths and roadways and downtown districts?
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