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Less Inmate Firefighters

Sonora, CA — An impact of the state’s prison realignment, which moves inmates from state to county facilities, is that it may reduce the number of firefighters in California.

The Associated Press reports that more than 1,500 inmate firefighters will be lost in the transition. The state has relied on well-behaved, nonviolent offenders to help clear
brush, including in areas across the Mother Lode. California has offered to train county inmates at a cost of $46 a day, but this has received a cold response from counties across the state.

Fire officials told the AP that prisoners can comprise as much as half of the manpower assigned to a major inferno. The state’s realignment was developed to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered California to reduce overcrowding.

Prison realignment was the focus of a recent Mother Lode Views show. To listen, click here.