Calif. Inmates Helped Put Out the Fires

Among those on the front lines fighting the California fires this week were prison inmates.

About a quarter of the 14,000 firefighters defending homes and businesses in Southern California from wildfires have been prisoners, officials said. Of the 4,400 inmates trained to battle fires in the state, 3,091 were on the front lines Friday from Lake Arrowhead south to San Diego.

The inmates are paid $1.00 an hour. They also get a day of extra good time for every day spent fighting fires. The savings to California: $80 million a year.

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    They also (none / 0) (#1)
    by Patrick on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 08:04:34 PM EST
    Live in minimum security conservation camps, get unlimited access to phones and freedom to move around outside.  They have been doing this for years and it works great.  But I think they get 2 days of credit for each day on a fire.  

    Thinking outside The Box (none / 0) (#2)
    by theark on Sat Oct 27, 2007 at 10:08:29 PM EST
    What a great idea.  God bless 'em.  I'll bet the recidivism rate is much lower for inmates who leave prison with the self-esteem this provides.  Plus, they're badly needed now and have a marketable skill.  I've also heard of prisons where the inmates are allowed to give dogs obedience training for local shelters--a win-win, the dog has a greater chance of being adopted, and the inmate gains a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.