NEW YORK (CBS/KPHO) Joe Arpaio, self-styled as "America's Toughest Sheriff," has decided that if his inmates want the privilege of watching TV, they have to pedal for it.
This clever idea came about when Arpaio realized half of the inmate population at the Tent City Jail in Phoenix, Ariz. is overweight and needed some exercise.
The sheriff's staff customized a stationary bike so that when inmates pedal it, it generates 12 volts of electricity - enough to run a 19-inch TV. An hour of pedaling equals about an hour of TV time.
Arpaio explains, "If an inmate slows down and fails to pedal fast enough, an audible noise sounds off to warn inmates that the TV is shutting down." He says, "Peer pressure will have them pedaling, at least right up to the commercial breaks."
In a press release Arpaio said the TV will give them a reason to exercise and a way to "burn up to 500 calories an hour." The inmates will have to sign a contract that says only those who agree to pedal will have access to the inmate-powered TV.
The sheriff said he debuted his new program with female inmates because they seemed more receptive to the idea.
So what's next from "personal trainer Arpaio"? How about "run a mile, win a nail file"...