Local jail inmates to join fire camps

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has entered into an agreement with the County of San Diego to divert up to 100 inmates into the Department’s Conservation Camp program, which already houses 4000 inmates statewide.

“This agreement with San Diego County is a win for everyone,” said Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Beard in an October 25 release. "Housing county offenders in conservation camps will provide additional space to the county, contribute to the state’s trained firefighting workforce, protect public safety and provide rehabilitation."

The announcement of the addition to participants in the inmate fire camps coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Cedar Fire's ignition, which burned thousands of acres and devastated East County communities, destroying over 2000 homes.

Under the agreement, the county will pay the state $46.19 per inmate daily for housing, supervision, and training administered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.

According to the Department of Corrections, 44 camps statewide provide more than 2.5 million hours of round-the-clock emergency response services per year, which save taxpayers over $100 million annually. In addition to wildfire response, crews are available for response to flooding, snowstorms, earthquakes, and search and rescue needs.

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This works out, because a large percentage of inmates are in for really horrific offenses like unpaid parking tickets. Might as well get some good use out of them.

I've been told that we are paying about $140,000 per inmate per year to keep them in jail, which is why CA should be leading the way to get all those jailed for minor offenses out of our jail system ASAP.

Great news, I just hope this is NOT just an MAKE MONEY program for the DOC who will then pay the inmates less than a dollar an hour while pocketing the difference!

When there is a big fire all trained volunteers should be employed to help put it out ASAP, as it is now, it is a huge money maker for a few that spend all their time on the clock even while sleeping!

BTW: If Cal-Fire and other local FD's had to hire off the volunteer lists instead of just hiring their friends, we would have a far greater "mix" in our Fire Departments, but of course their unions would fight that even harder than our BIG FIRES...

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