California prisoners have been working side-by-side with firefighters to help put out jarring flames across the state. Despite their good deeds, the will never be able to join the fire officials.
More than 2000 inmates volunteered to help fight wildfires destroying northern California for only $1.00 an hour, but in reality, they’ll never be an actual firefighter. The “Golden” state laws demand that firefighters obtain an emergency medical technician certification, Washington Examiner reported. Due to the state’s licensing laws, convicts are not allowed to receive EMT licenses.
Inmates with a pretty clean rap sheet are allowed to participate in the fire program inside of the prison. However, prisoners with the backgrounds of arson, kidnapping, sexual crimes, escape attempts, those in gangs and those who are facing a life sentence are disqualified. Those who are selected are required to undergo fire safety training and a physical exam.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recently tweeted, “Today, more than 2,000 volunteer inmate firefighters, including 58 youth offenders, are battling wildfire flames throughout CA. Inmate firefighters serve a vital role.”
Although prisoners won’t have the ability to become a firefighter in the outside world, they do earn time off of their sentence for good behavior each time they served.
However, Deputy Legal Director at Southern Poverty Law Center, Lisa Graybill challenged California laws and said prisoners are putting their lives at risk.
“Prisoners are so eager for the chance to work and chance to demonstrate their rehabilitation that they’ll accept any work conditions. But they shouldn’t be exploited by the state. They’re putting their lives on the line like other California firefighters, and they should be paid fairly for a fair day’s work,” Graybill told Newsweek. “Many people who are incarcerated have families on the outside who are relying on them to come home and be their breadwinner again. If anything does happen to them, will there be provision for their families and will they be taken care of in any way?”