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Letters: Prison reform lessons from Brazil

September 09, 2012
  • Inmates gather in the area where bicycles are hooked up to generate electricity at the prison in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil.
Inmates gather in the area where bicycles are hooked up to generate electricity… (Los Angeles Times )

Re "Pedal empowerment," Column One, Sept. 6

How much would it cost to get Brazilian Judge Jose Henrique Mallman, who started a program in which inmates can reduce their prison terms by riding bikes to charge batteries that power boardwalk lamps, up here to revamp our archaic criminal justice system?

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. We can no longer afford this dubious first-place trophy, nor can we afford the human wreckage left behind by convicts who have served their time.

Maybe Mallman could teach prosecutors and judges in the United States to be more inventive with meting out punishment instead of reflexively throwing many people who aren't dangerous (remember Martha Stewart?) into jail.

Wayne Wright

Valencia

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