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April 6, 2010

Should Sherrif Joe Arpaio be praised or pilloried for "Pedal Vision"?

This local story provides the details on the latest innovation coming from Arizona's (in)famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Here are the fascinating details:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Maricopa County is implementing a new inmate program at Tent City Jail called “Pedal Vision.” The program uses inmate-powered cycles to generate electricity for televisions.

Reports say Arpaio’s recent visit to Tent City inspired the idea, when he saw that many of the inmates were overweight. The stationary bikes are customized so that as an inmate pedals, a connected television is powered once the cycle generates 12 volts of electricity.

One hour of pedaling equals one hour of television viewing for the inmates, according to Arpaio. Arpaio said the inmates will only be able to watch television in the television room if they choose to pedal.

"I started with the females because they seemed more receptive to the idea," Arpaio said. "The only exercise the females get right now is speed-walking around the tents yard and few are doing that. This gives them a reason to get moving and a way to burn up to 500 calories an hour. They won't be charged a monthly gym fee but they will have to sign a contract." Sheriff Arpaio debuted the pilot program on April 1.

Though Sherriff Joe is (justifiably?) notorous for some of the "get-tough" innovations he tries out on local prisoners, I am inclined to praise him for "Pedal Vision."  The program seems to encourage improved physical fitness and also sound pretty "green" too.  However, given Sherriff Joe's reputation and past programs, I have an inkling not everyone will be eager to praise him now for this latest innovation.

April 6, 2010 at 03:24 PM | Permalink

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Comments

People have been asking how we can help out cash-strpped prisons, and I guess one answer is to have the prisoners generate their own power (and lose weight at the same time).

Many of my friends (and I) pay good money at the fitness club to, among other things, ride an exercise bike. The prisoners get it for free. Good for them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 6, 2010 3:47:11 PM

I am in favor of this as well provided that it does not get taken too far.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 6, 2010 5:53:43 PM

Inmate work was considered a privilege for good behavior. Then the lawyer got his hooks into these productive, educational prison operations. He sued, calling them slavery. The collaborator judges agreed. Now, the prisoners do nothing while outside expensive, union providers, including foreign ones, take the supply business.

Obesity in prison. Thank the lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 6, 2010 8:45:58 PM

true SC but once prisoners could get amost 80% of their sentence knocled off with prison labor and good behavoir and once they were out of prison they were allowed to HAVE A LIFE!

ALL of that is changed now they do 90% or better...florida has been 95% for years. Then they are hounded forever once they are released.

so why play nice. i'd tell sheriff joe to shove his peddle machince right up his ass. SIDEWAYS.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 7, 2010 2:32:15 AM

I remain unconvinced that Mr. "Arpaio" is actually American. I believe the citizens of Maricopa County should demand to see a birth certificate. They also deserve to know whether or not he was an anchor baby.

That aside, I don't see this as any more obnoxious than prison work programs generally.

Posted by: Alec | Apr 7, 2010 11:46:37 AM

He should be praised...as one of the all-time, badge-heavy, grandstanding tyrants of law enforcement.

Posted by: John K | Apr 7, 2010 2:54:22 PM

I grudgingly agree that the idea has some merit, as long as there are restrictions and guidelines (i.e.: no having inmates generate power for Joe Arpaio's big house). However, I would also like to point out the spelling of the word "Sheriff."

Posted by: P.F. Bruns | Apr 18, 2010 6:39:58 PM

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