Arizona Inmates Must Pedal for Electricity

Tent CityPhoto: via icpp

At one of America’s ‘toughest jails’ inmates are pedaling on exercise bikes to generate electricity for their TV time. At Tent City Jail, the program is called ‘Pedal Vision’ and was created by Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio. The inventive idea is being used daily in the Phoenix, Arizona jail.

The catch, however, is that unlike in most prisons, the living conditions at the ‘Tent City Jail’ are extreme. Inmates live in harsh conditions in army surplus tents, sweltering in summer temperatures as high as 122F and freezing in winter.
Arizona inmates at Tent CityPhoto: via azcentral

The program has inmates pedaling stationary bikes that generate 12 volts of electricity per hour of pedaling equaling one hour of TV time. Sheriff Arpaio says he created the program because too many of the inmates were overweight. The inspiration of television gets the inmates up and moving. They estimate that the inmates burn 500 calories in an hour.
Sheriff ArpaioPhoto: gerry gannon

Imagine if this project was expanded to prisons across the United States. If all 2.5 million prisoners produced their own energy, the results could be astounding.