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Fire Camps Eager For Influx of Inmates

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, May 10, 2013

California's long, busy fire season has already begun. And this year there may be more people on the fire line. Governor Jerry Brown has proposed sending 1250 more inmates to state fire camps in the effort to ease prison overcrowding.

Captain Jorge Santana is Camp Liaison for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He could use more inmate help.

"It's something I look forward to, the department looks forward to. To ensure the camps are fully staffed," he says.

Right now there are about 4100 state inmates spread throughout 42 camps. They're a critical part of fire prevention and control, digging fire breaks and clearing brush.

Santana says the state saves about $80 million a year by using trained inmates instead of professional firefighters. He says inmates typically make $1 an hour while working on a fire.

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