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As Their Numbers Dwindle, Calif. Prison Inmates Help Fight Fires

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, July 16, 2012

Some inmates cook for the fire fighters.  Others help build fire lines by hand in terrain so rough machines can't do it.  But only "minimum-security" inmates are eligible for this popular program - and realignment is slowly but surely shifting non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders from state prisons to county jails.

Callison: "We're still able to staff the camps.  And we believe it's going to be fine for this fire season."

Jeffrey Callison is with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Callison: "Going forward, though, obviously there's going to need to be some longer-term solution, and it's a priority for all parties concerned because this is an important service."

That solution could involve agreements with individual counties to make their new minimum-security inmates available to help fight fires.

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