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In Brazil, get out of jail sooner by hitting the books

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Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

(Read caption) Inmates walk around a yard at the Carandiru detention center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Oct. 11, 2000. Built for 3,200 inmates, the prison, which is perhaps best known for the massacre of 111 inmates by riot police during a 1992 rebellion, now houses 7,300 inmates and still smolders with violence and unrest.

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Brazilian legislators have passed an innovative law to deal with overcrowding and high recidivism in Brazil’s prisons: one day less in prison for every 12 hours spent in the classroom, reports Folha de São Paulo. As world population continues to surge past 7 billion people, prison overcrowding and repeat incarceration have become major policy problems around the world.

Statistics from a 2010 report show that there are 440,864 prisoners in Brazil’s prison system and a total of 299,597 spots, meaning that prisons are 140,000 prisoners over capacity. The law already provides for one day less in prison for every three days of performed labor, but the new measures, introduced by legislator Cristovam Buarque (PDT-DF), will accelerate the pace at which prisoners may shorten their sentences.

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