Overcrowding is a problem in many prisons all over the world. Brazil is one of these nations that has to deal with overpopulated prisons. According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, Brazil has the fourth largest prison population in the world. They have about 548,003 prisoners inhabiting their correction facilities.
Brazil has created many programs to help reduce the time prisoners spend incarcerated. One of these programs is in Brazil’s maximum-security prison in Arisvaldo de Campos Pires. The program is called the Flor de Lotus. Brazilian fashion designer, Raquel Guimaraes, was struggling to find people to help her knit and crochet for her Doiselles label. She asked the prison to assist her in finding workers to help her create her hand made designs. Guimaraes trained prisoners convicted of any crime to knit and crochet for her. The inmates who participate receive one day off of their prison sentence for every three days that they work for Guimaraes.
Another program Brazil has implemented is called Redemption through Reading. Four federal prisons in Brazil participate in this program. For every book an inmate reads and writes a report on, four days are taken off of their prison sentence. The prisoners receive a maximum of 48 days off of their sentence a year.
In Santa Rita do Sapucai, the local town prison has established an additional incentive to reduce sentencing. The town has power-generating bicycles that charge batteries that are attached to the town street lamps. Inmates ride the bicycle and if they ride for twenty four hours, they receive a day off of their sentence.
These programs help give prisoners a chance to be trained in a trade and educated. It gives them an opportunity to benefit from their time spent in prison by having the prisoners trained in a skill. This enables them to find jobs more easily when they finish their sentence. These programs also allow the inmates to indirectly give back to their community. Are these programs beneficial to inmates? Do these programs help the community? Should other countries follow Brazil’s footsteps and implement programs like these to help inmates learn and to help reduce prison overcrowding? Are these programs successful in lessening the overcrowding issue that is affecting countries all over the world?