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  #1  
Old 11-14-2018, 02:00 PM
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Default A New Form of Slavery? Meet Incarcerated Firefighters Battling California’s

We go behind the scenes of California’s raging climate-fueled wildfires with the hidden men and women on the front lines of the state’s ever-growing fire season: prisoner firefighters. Of the 13,000 firefighters battling blazes across the state, more than 2,500 are prisoners. While salaried firefighters earn an annual mean wage of $74,000 a year plus benefits, prisoners earn $1 per hour when fighting active fires. According to some estimates, California saves up to $100 million a year by using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem.

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/9/...iqLVdMQo-DZLI8
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2018, 07:20 PM
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From I understand they are volunteers, they get a good wage (for inmates) and they get time off their sentence for doing this.
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Old 11-14-2018, 08:03 PM
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I wouldn't argue that their wage is "good"; it's pittance for the work they do and the risk involved. However, it is voluntary and it does knock their time served down to 50%. That might worth the low-pay for some. It also gives them something to put on a resume instead of a hole for the time they were inside. Or, for those with no prior work experience due to their age at initial incarceration, it gives them a good start of a resume.

I would agree that there are industries with prison workers that do qualify as slave-labor, but firefighting in CA isn't one of them.
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Old 11-14-2018, 08:23 PM
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I suspect most of the inmate firefighters would do it with no wage. The "wage" thing for work in prison is bizarre anyway; I don't know but I suspect prisons are adhering to some law or regulation that mandates a wage. Some inmates work a week to be able to buy a few bags of potato chips at commissary. So what. Yes you're right it's slave labor as is all work in prison. But I don't think that's the point.

It is the best job the prison system offers. It teaches inmates far more than any other program or job or education offered in prison. It is the type of work that can prepare them for coping and succeeding when they eventually release. It has value for those reasons.

And I think, or hope, it gives inmates a sense of self worth; doing a job that matters. I wish there was more opportunity like that for inmates regardless of whether it pays or how much it pays.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:23 PM
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I just wish the inmates involved in this program could actually work as firefighters once they get out.
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Old 11-15-2018, 01:06 AM
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I was told that the Firefighters are getting fed well, does this include the inmate firefighters as well? Because of the fires, there have been a lot of donation sites on tv and the internet, wouldn’t it be nice if we could donate to the inmate firefighters commissary instead? I know none of them personally, however I’d like to do that. To show my appreciation. Can that be done? How?
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Old 11-15-2018, 05:53 AM
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All I know is I sure appreciate the inmate firefighters. Without them, CA would be in real real bad shape.


I know from last yr.........the inmate firefighters were allowed to hear some of my counties thank yous. (from the general public) In person.

While not money, I'd like to say it helped them realize just how important and meaningful the job they do is.


I too wish they were able to get jobs as firefighters later on.
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Old 11-15-2018, 07:25 AM
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On one of my state paid vacations,I was endorsed to go to camp no way did I volunteer but I refused and did 6 months in shu for it. I did know people who went to camp and came out with a lot of money. I don't know about any one else but walking out those gates some of them had $3000 now that's a lot of money back then even now. when you have nothing to go out too. They get fed really good out on those lines from what I was told then again that was many, many years ago and like all else things have changed. But remember they are putting their lives out there just the same as the other fire fighters. And they can put it on their resumed when they get out. My understanding was they can even apply after they are off parole well back then they could. Not real sure how long after but I know I didn't volunteer for it lol they were trying to make me go to camp and I didn't want to go.
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:40 AM
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As a former inmate I think getting "paid" by having time taken off my sentence would be a huge incentive for me.

To me the $1.00 hour isn't the point, although for prison pay that IS good, getting the time off is the point.

I grew up in Cali and too want to thank ALL those fighting this battle. Even before my arrest I appreciated the fact the inmates were out there going their best right along with the non-inmates. I remember complimentary news articles about them even as a child.
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
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I just wish the inmates involved in this program could actually work as firefighters once they get out.
AB 2138 did do some good for former inmate Firefighters and others also Assembly Bill No. 2138
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:00 PM
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I just posted a thread regarding the inmate fire fighters. I was questioning the fact that these inmate fire fighters were getting the same Good Conduct Credits (66%) off their time remaining as the inmates that are in minimum custody. Minimum custody inmates are also getting 66% off their remaining time without having to go to fire camp. Is what I am understanding correct?
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:42 PM
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I just posted a thread regarding the inmate fire fighters. I was questioning the fact that these inmate fire fighters were getting the same Good Conduct Credits (66%) off their time remaining as the inmates that are in minimum custody. Minimum custody inmates are also getting 66% off their remaining time without having to go to fire camp. Is what I am understanding correct?

Did you read the thread? Go back and re-read post # 3, which states: and it does knock their time served down to 50%
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:08 AM
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I just posted a thread regarding the inmate fire fighters. I was questioning the fact that these inmate fire fighters were getting the same Good Conduct Credits (66%) off their time remaining as the inmates that are in minimum custody. Minimum custody inmates are also getting 66% off their remaining time without having to go to fire camp. Is what I am understanding correct?
I can see why it's a bit confusing:
Minimum custody, day-for-day, are at 66%.
Non-violent offenders of any custody level who qualify for fire camp can knock down to 66%
Violent offenders who qualify for fire camp get knocked to 50% from 80%.
You can see the chart of who qualifies for what by clicking here.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:07 AM
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Dont you have to be Minimum Custody to qualify for fire camp? What I'm trying to get at is our inmate fire fighters are getting the same percentage off their time as minimum custody. To qualify for fire camp you have to be minimum custody. I just dont see the logic or how they made sense of this. California depends on these inmates in fire camp to help along side with Calfire.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:31 PM
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Fire camp is a form of minimum custody, so yes CDCR selects inmate candidates from minimum custody. You are partly correct, someone who is low level non-violent offender starting as a minimum custody inmate can be earning 66% credit. If that person goes to firecamp he remains at 66%.

Almost any inmate can earn their way to minimum custody. Non-violent second striker for example might start at level 2 or level 3 and earns 33% credit. After a few years he works down to minimum custody. Credits do not change, still at 33% unless he goes to firecamp - then and only then do credits become 66%. In fact a violent offender earning only 20% credit and maybe starting in level 2, 3, or 4 can over time work down to minimum custody. That's great but still only earning 20% credit in minimum custody. Unless he gets to firecamp - and he would then earn 50% credit.

Your misunderstanding is assumption that everyone in minimum custody is earning 66%. Many, perhaps most are not. It depends entirely on how they got to minimum custody.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:34 PM
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You really don't see the whole picture until one of your LOs are involved. I strongly believe these inmate fire fighters should be, how can I word this, rewarded for all they do or set apart from minimum custody inmates? If they want to give them the same amount of Good Conduct Credits then why not set these fire fighter inmates apart. Yes they are getting fed better, they aren't per say in a regular prison environment and get paid $1 a day and $2 a day when fighting fires and they get 3 weeks for milestone credits. It seems to be a small compensation compared to how they save close to 150 million tax dollars yearly. To pay them more may not make sense since they are considered "Volunteers" and they want to keep saving tax dollars but why not reward them with maybe increasing the milestone credits from 3 weeks to 8 or maybe even 12. After all the training they go through is very rigorous. and not to mention the labor. The labor is not light duty whatsoever. Its just a thought after all we do want to encourage more inmates to hop on board and join the fire crews.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
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You really don't see the whole picture until one of your LOs are involved. I strongly believe these inmate fire fighters should be, how can I word this, rewarded for all they do or set apart from minimum custody inmates? If they want to give them the same amount of Good Conduct Credits then why not set these fire fighter inmates apart. Yes they are getting fed better, they aren't per say in a regular prison environment and get paid $1 a day and $2 a day when fighting fires and they get 3 weeks for milestone credits. It seems to be a small compensation compared to how they save close to 150 million tax dollars yearly. To pay them more may not make sense since they are considered "Volunteers" and they want to keep saving tax dollars but why not reward them with maybe increasing the milestone credits from 3 weeks to 8 or maybe even 12. After all the training they go through is very rigorous. and not to mention the labor. The labor is not light duty whatsoever. Its just a thought after all we do want to encourage more inmates to hop on board and join the fire crews.
I agree they should be paid more than $1-$2 a day.

Not sure how much time they can really shave off, but they should do everything within their power to reward these guys for a job well done.
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