Glad to hear the inmate crew members who have fought wildfires under the supervision of Cal Fire and firefighters will be able to apply to become firefighters when they get out of prison. California Governor Newsom just signed the bill that will reduce the red tape that has prevented inmate crews from becoming full-fledged firefighters upon their release.
These inmate crew members go through rigorous training and do lots of the heavy lifting while fighting fires. They’re paid barely $3 per day and they often work for longer than 24-hour shifts. Working to stave off wildfires to protect lives and property gives them a strong sense of pride and teamwork. Isn’t this what rehabilitation is all about?
These inmate crew members aren’t sex offenders or violent criminals, and they aren’t at risk of escaping. When they’re released from prison, their records may be expunged for completing their sentences, which will allow them to become Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). Then, they can apply to become firefighters with their EMT certifications.
With wildfires destroying millions of acres on the west coast, we need more inmate crews to support Cal Fire and our firefighters.