Inmate firefighters in California are now given better a chance to become professional firefighters, this legislation was signed by California Governor, Gavin Newsom.
According to the law, former inmates are allowed to have their records erased and their parole waived since they worked as firefighters while serving their prison terms.
Inmate firefighters who have stood on the frontlines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter.Newsom
The California governor said the law will give a large number of inmate firefighters opportunity and hope. He called them “heroic.”
To correct is to right a wrong; to rehabilitate is to restore. Rehabilitation without strategies to ensure the formerly incarcerated have a career is a pathway to recidivism. We must get serious about providing pathways for those that show the determination to turn their lives around.Gomez Reyes
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According to the law, people who commit sexual crimes or violent felonies would not have their records cleared. For so many years California has been supplementing its firefighting efforts with inmates.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) operates 43 conservation camps, or fire camps, across the state. Every year hundreds of inmates are used to battle recent fires.
In August, the spokeswoman for the Department of Forestry and Fire protection in California said that $3.63 per day is the average compensation for an inmate firefighter and they earn an extra $1.00 daily when deployed to an active fire.
According to Cal Fire, there are fewer inmate firefighting crews battling California’s wildfires this year, this is as a result of the state prison system’s early release program.
The CDCR announced its plan to release about 17,600 inmates in July to protect the prison population and staff from the coronavirus pandemic.