1. #1
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    Default convict fire-rescue?

    I just read that closing of a prison in CA will close the fire station. I don't care much about prison closings, but letting the inmates out to do fire-rescue work? Hell, I did'nt even know felons let alone inmates, supposedly locked behind bars, could even become firefighters. Although I've seen them on wildfires, but they really can't go anywhere out in the middle of nowhere, but giving them a truck? What is stopping them from just driving away?
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    The inmates are supervised by prison firefighters, usually a captian. If I am not mistaken, and I could be, they don't drive the apparatus. An inmate must work hard to be in this position. They can't be convicted of a 'violent' crime, I don't know what they constitute as violent. If anyone out there can add more, or better info, please do.
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    If you read it more carefully, you would see that it was a minimum security prison. Meaning that crime (in most cases) wasn't too serious. Probably most of them are DUI's or something like that with short jail terms. In cases like that, escaping from prison isn't worth it because the costs out weigh the benefits. If you're doing a 3 year jail term in a minimum security prison for something like drug possession would you really want to risk getting shot or face more years in prison just to escape?

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    Default A little off the subject

    Beleive it or not, I actually drove past this prison once.(Twice actually, I didn't know another way back). The country up there is just unbelievably hostile. It was late March 1988 when I was there and I was worried about the one year old vehicle I was in overheating. There is nothing, and I mean nothing up there. Then you pass the prison and guess what? Nothing again. I hate to hear they are closing this place because it is just such a bad place to have an accident. I don't remember seeing any other traffic really, either direction on the trip. Not a good thing.
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    We were stationed south of this place, and it truly is a horrible place to be involved in an accident. Depending on the type of accident a vehicle can roll and end up in a dry creek bed and not be noticed for days, even weeks. The temps in the summer are unbelievable--we have pictures of the thermometer showing 120 in the shade.Imagine laying on the pavement in that heat,with any other injuries that may have occured,waitng for help to arrive.Add to that the scorpions,snakes,spider and other lovely creatures out there and you got one heck of a situation.

    If I remember correctly the convicts are all serving time for non-violent crimes, such as drug possession,DUI,embezzlement. I do believe the inmates drive the apparatus and as someone else mentioned, their sentences are pretty light and its not worth driving off and adding another 10 yrs to a simple 3.

    I sincerely hope they dont close this place. I think the inmates are a wonderful asset to the area, and they can be there and stabilize until more power can be brought in. They can fly in choppers from the Marine base(MCAGCC)or Palm Springs but we're talking a pretty long ride.


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    Lightbulb

    I read that article also and it seems to me...

    The governor is seeking to close the prison, and several others like it, because "declining enrollment" in the prison system is allowing them the luxury of boarding up a few facilities and saving some bucks.

    Well, it's obvious that this desolate and dangerous area, currently covered by the prison firefighters, NEEDS some sort of fire/rescue coverage. So, go ahead and close the prison and save the money. Just be sure to use a bit of that money to open a new CDF station to cover the area now left without protection.

    To Gov. Davis I say... You basically had that service provided for free for over 10 years by the inmates. If you're going to put them out of business to save a few billion bucks, give up a couple million to put some professional firefighters out there and provide that much needed service. You're still saving money...

    Fire service survival tips:
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    3) When in doubt, isolate and deny entry...
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    I personally think that this sucks. These guys are giving back, repenting, by serving their fellow man. I agree with all who stated above that these guys probably aren't violent offenders and the chance of escape is minimal. Just another way for a MUTT to save a few dollars, it is obvious that this is a needed service in that area.
    Isn't there another jail they could close?
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    firebraun says:

    Just be sure to use a bit of that money to open a new CDF station to cover the area now left without protection.
    Don't hold yer breath....Gov. Davis has got other ideas of what to do with that money. How about 7 million dollars to allow
    California's high-speed rail board to complete an environmental impact report on a proposed 700-mile high-speed system linking California's major cities.

    7 Million Buckaroos for a study?....Good God, what's the rail gonna cost?
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    Guys in prison for DUI's going to accidents to help people.

    Oxymoron or what?

    It's a great service they provide and it sucks that it will be closed.

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    About 10 years ago, Fire House ran an article about a prison FD. All of the equipmen on the truck was locked down. If a prisoner needed a too, they had to have a Corrections Officer present to unlock it for them. I will go to the basement and check my back files and see if I can find it. It was a pretty interesting article...I don't know if this is the same place or not.

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    When I worked for a combo department, the city I worked for was 10 miles away from a medium security prison.

    Our city used inmate labor during the day (an inmate worker was a "trusty"--because they could be trusted, I guess). A city worker would drive a van to the prison every day, load up 13 inmates, and bring them back to mow, pick up trash, ect. The inmates had to be on very good behavior to be considered, be nonviolent, and there was a waiting list of inmates wanting to be a trusty.

    We also had 6 trusty's that lived in the city jail. The city was reinbursed for housing the prisoners, and the city could use the labor.

    The inmates were only allowed to drive equipment like tractors and backhoes. One of them got in trouble for moving a city truck 150 feet across a city park (not on the road) so it would be closer to where they were working.

    I have no problem with the setup in California, assuming the prisoners are properly supervised. Sounds like they wouldn't want to try and escape on foot out there. Sounds like the authorities would
    have plenty of time to catch up with them if they stole the rescue truck.

    If this prison is anything like the one we had near us, the rescue truck has to be searched before leaving the prison and before entering the prison. We used to run the ocassional call to the prison when that town's EMS was busy, and they didn't care what was going on. You could be working a code in the back, and they stop you at the gate, search the compartments and let you go.

    One other note and I'll quit rambling. I don't think it is unusual for prisons to have inmate response teams for fires and other emergencies inside the prison. This is the first I've heard of a team that responds outside of the prison.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Default Hinds County MS penal farm FD

    The Hinds County, Miss penal farm has a fire dept. that responds mainly to grass fires but can respond to anything when manpower is needed. The "Foxfire" Dept, as it is called, cosists of trustee inmates. All or most are certified vol. firefighters and first responders. They have 2 brush trucks and 2 kawasaki mule ATV's outfited for brush fires. They can and do drive and operate all equip. I am not sure if they are alowed to leave without a guard or supervisor or not. I do know they have never had someone try to escape or to walk off.


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    wellIn California inmate FF are used in several areas. These inmates are minimum risk inmates and must pass several physical agility tests. They are assigned to camp crews and are mostly used for our brush fires. They are tough workers and bust their butts at fires on terrain that only goats belong. Believe me when we get a large brush assignment they are requested by the IC, and the guys on the fireline are glad to see them. As far as security goes they are supervised on the fire ground by a Captain and when they are finished or taking a break law enforcement is there to watch them.

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    Bones
    Guys in prison for DUI's going to accidents to help people.
    Well it they caused any harm to someone else they shouldn't be let out, But if the did not hurt anyone it could be one hell of a lesson to them.
    it truly is a horrible place to be involved in an accident. Depending on the type of accident a vehicle can roll and end up in a dry creek bed and not be noticed for days, even weeks. The temps in the summer are unbelievable--we have pictures of the thermometer showing 120 in the shade.
    What a wake up call not to Drink & Drive...
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    Default INMATE FIRE CREWS

    Well I for one really appreciate the hard work and tedious labor performed by the inmate fire crews. I have worked in California with a couple of agencies as a Wildland Firefighter for several years and have worked side by side with many inmate crews;men,women,and juvies...and most have been hard workers.
    There are a few crews that are basically worthless with people that work on finding a place to hide and be lazy. We affectionately named these crews "THE ORANGE SLEEPING BAGS"...
    Which describes what they look like fairly well..lol..
    Even so, the fault there llies with the Captains running the crew.
    Ive talked to several of these inmates out on the Firelines, even though technically you are not supposed to interact with them(which is Bullsh#@,you have to when your working side by side)and have encountered Felons of varikous types. Most are for drug charges or theft...but I have been out there with violent criminals as well. Last fire I was on there was a woman on the crew, in for 2nd degree Murder. Some of the inmates are pretty scary looking, but I can honestly say that I don't mind working with them. They know if any of them get out of line and act up they will be "Rolled-up" and sent back to prison. There are no second chances out there,any complaint made from a Firefighter about one,or by a regular citizen will result in remooval from crew.
    From what I have been told the chance to be on a crew is a highly sought after privelege and not one easy to obtain. I even know of a coworker of mine,in fact a higher ranking one,that began his career in Fire as a member of a con crew several years ago. He did such a good job that when he was released he was hired and given a chance to prove himself as a good citizen as well as a good Firefighter...He has been with the Dept. now for almost 20 years.
    So I would just like to remind you that all of us are foulable.
    All of us have done things in our lives that might be wrong or against some law or made a mistake or poor choice resulting in some act or behavior that isnt worthy of sainthood. I look around and realize in some cases the only difference between "Us and Them"is the fact that they got caught...
    Sometimes People(including Firefighter)do bad things....but it doesnt mean they are bad people. It doesnt mean they cant change and learn to do something that serves the good for all...
    eg; PROTECTING AND PRESERVING LIFE AND NATURE
    AS A MEMBER OF A FIRE CREW.......
    Not too mention the fact that they do a lot of the hard,painsaking,even boring at times manual labor necessary for successful Fireground Operations. I am grateful for all the hose thats been pulled,line thats been cut and equipment thats been transported by the inmate crews I have worked with.
    Those are the reasons that I think it would be a real shame to close down that facility...I know we always havev more than enough work for them to do...besides, I think all inmates should be required to work anyway,learn a skill...
    Otherwise, what good will they be when they get released again?
    O.K.. Im tired oof typing noow...lol
    So I will come doown off my soapbox....
    Musta been some other blonde...

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    Default

    Just reading this from the other side of the pond, where we don't allow prisoners out of their jails to do this type of thing.

    One thought has just struck me, don't know if it has with anyone else.

    The prisoners at these jails, who I presume will be trained and equipped to deal with most things and be able to provide EMS/EMT aid to car accident victims, will be doing it not only for others but for themselves too. No one wants to be locked down all day and I suppose it will help with a good report when they are released.

    The point I was going to add is, these guys WILL NOT get a job as a firefighter on the outside. Which seems a shame, but I would imagine that a convicted drug user/dealer is not going to be top of anyones hiring list. I know that you carry skills with you always, but having them do this for free and then telling them they can't do it for real and get paid for it seems a bit of a kick in the head to me. Anyone else think so?
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    The point I was going to add is, these guys WILL NOT get a job as a firefighter on the outside. Which seems a shame, but I would imagine that a convicted drug user/dealer is not going to be top of anyones hiring list.
    However they can run for Mayor of DC or city council. Or make up a resume and become Chief

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    Bad choices close doors of opportunity. It's unlikely that any of these convicts would be able to get a job as a paid firefighter once on the outside--it's unlikely that they will be able to be a volunteer in many juristictions.

    I think exceptions should be made in some cases--someone who got a DUI at 18, served his time and hasn't had a traffic ticket in 10 years? Sounds like he's paid his debt.

    The guys running with this rescue squad in California are probably very good hands. From the article, it sounds like they run a lot. It's too bad that their skills will likely go to waste after they get out of prison.

    Not trying to change the topic, but it raises some interesting points.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Default Instant release for attempted rescue

    Have proof of an "instant parole" of a inmate, who put his life on the line to search a burning house (prison officers). He was taken back to the jail, and on the recomendation of the Superintendant via the Secretary of Justice was released that afternoon. I believe he had several months left of his sentence to do--he was a trusty on work detail ,outside the wire, saw the fire and reacted. His actions were observed by a guard in one of the towers of the main jail , who raised the alarm.I don't know what he was doing time for, all I do know is "I thought someone was in there, Boss"
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
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