California Inmates Aid in Fighting Fires
Over 3,000 inmates from prisons around Southern California were on the front lines Friday battling fires around the lower half of the state, from Lake Arrowhead to San Diego.
This program, which has been around since the 1940s, makes inmates available for natural disasters, such as fires and flooding.
Not every inmate can be a firefighter. According to Seth Unger, spokesmen for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the inmate-male or female- must be physically fit, have no history of violent crime and have four to 36 months remaining on their sentences.
This program saves the taxpayers an estimated $80 million per year, said Yahoo! news. Inmates only earn $1 an hour, but each day spent in fire lines earns two days of credit towards completing their sentence.
Some firefighters said that without the help of inmates, the blazes may have caused more destruction.
Only one inmate has dies in this program. In July 1999, a male inmate died when he fell from a hillside.