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Prisoners pedal to freedom on stationary bikes in Brazil

Felipe Dana / AP

Ronaldo da Silva, left, and fellow inmates pedal stationary bikes to charge car batteries at a prison in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil on Friday. An innovative program allows inmates at this medium-security prison to shave days off their sentence in exchange for riding stationary bikes hooked up to converted car batteries that are used to illuminate Santa Rita do Sapucai's town square.

The Associated Press reports — Brazilian inmate Ronaldo da Silva hops on a bicycle and pedals furiously, clocking up several miles before slowing down and jumping off.

Silva hasn't gotten far, in fact not an inch. He's still inside the medium-security prison where he's serving a 5.5-year sentence for holding up a bakery, standing next to a stationary bike.

But he did move a bit closer to freedom. Silva is part of an innovative program that allows inmates at a prison in Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais state to reduce their sentences in exchange for generating power to help illuminate the town at night. Read the full story.

Felipe Dana / AP

A woman using her smart phone is illuminated by a battery powered street lamp in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil. An innovative program allows inmates at the Santa Rita do Sapucai medium-security prison to shave days off their sentence in exchange for riding stationary bikes hooked up to converted car batteries that are used to illuminate the town square.

Felipe Dana / AP

A inmate pedals a stationary bikes to charge car batteries at a prison in Santa Rita do Sapucai.

Felipe Dana / AP

An inmate takes a break from pedaling a stationary bike to charge car batteries at a prison in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Minas Gerais state, Brazil.

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