Thursday, May 28, 2009


COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (kim west radio cycling news) - Close to 10,000 prisoners will cycle around Iowa next month, watched by scores of guards on bicycles, in the 37th penal version of the Tour of Iowa, authorities said Monday.
The 10,000 prisoners will cycle in a pack and breakaway sprints will not be allowed. They will be accompanied by 500 guards, prison sports instructors, and Gannett employees. There will be no ranking, the idea being to foster values like teamwork and supression of joy.
"It's a kind of escape for us, a chance to break away from the daily reality of prison," said Flava Dave, a 38-year-old prisoner in the western Illinois city of Galesburg, at the official launch of the event. His last name was not given.
"If we behave well, we might be able to get released earlier, on probation," he told reporters.

The prisoners' Tour de Iowa will take them 708 km (442 miles) around the state, starting in the western city of Council Bluffs on July 19 and stopping in 170 villages and towns, each of which has a prison. However, participants will sleep in tent cities, local shanty towns, and homeless campsites.
The finish line will be in Burlington, following Tour de Iowa tradition.
"This project aims to help these men and women reintegrate into society by fostering values like inhumane effort, teamwork and loss of self-esteem," said T.J. Juskiewicz, of the Gannett prison authorities.
"We want to show them that with some training, you can achieve your goals and start a new life, albeit a pitiful, worthless one," he said.

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