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  1. #1
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    Default Inmate Firefighters

    I don't know if it is used widely in other areas but in North Carolina I only know of inmate wildland firefighters. I didn't know they have structure inmate firefighters. anyone got any info
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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyRescue205
    I don't know if it is used widely in other areas but in North Carolina I only know of inmate wildland firefighters. I didn't know they have structure inmate firefighters. anyone got any info
    I presume you're refferring to this story on the front page.

    Inmate Firefighter killed fighting house fire

    I have never heard of that either. Sure was a shock to me to read that. I would love to know more about that program.
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    The California Department of Forestry uses inmates on their hand crews, they even had an inmate helitack crew at one point but not anymore. Nevada and Utah also have inmate wildland crews. In Califonia these crews will respond to floods, earthquakes etc but not structure fires that I know of unless they are responded during the summer to help prevent spread into the wildland. I believe these other states only use the crews on wildland fires.

    The California state prison system uses inmate firefighters as structural firefighters at many of their prisons, these crews do respond off the prison grounds to medicals and fires near the prison. These crews are a couple of inmates and a paid captain on an engine.


    I just read the story posted above, I don't believe an inmate in prison for homicide would qualify in California for either program. I'm not sure exactly what they disqualify but violent crimes, sex crimes and arson crimes are supposed to disqualify them.
    Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 03-11-2006 at 08:42 PM.

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    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    I think its real smart. Give people convicted of murder axes, haligan bars, and pike poles

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    Forum Member Monrovia1's Avatar
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    County FD out here also uses inmate ff's for wildland firefighting as well for manpower puposes

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985
    I think its real smart. Give people convicted of murder axes, haligan bars, and pike poles
    You immediately went to the worst possible thought.
    Lot's of folks do.

    Truth is, good people make bad choices sometimes. Any of us on this forum could find themself in jail tomorrow. That's a fact.

    The only one of our County "inmate firefighters" I worked with regularly was in jail for a non-violent crime. All of them are trustees and non-violent offenders.
    The one I knew was in for something really stupid to begin with that carried a one year sentence.
    He was a Certified Firefighter before he got into trouble, and a really good guy.

    Something I have learned over my lifetime should be applied here.....
    Not all folks in jail are criminals, and, not all criminals are in jail.

    I applaud these guys for trying to do something good instead of sitting around in jail being thugs.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ramseycl's Avatar
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    I have worked with several inmate crews on wildland fires and never had a problem with them. They are very thankful that they are getting out of the prison, learning things and getting to make some money. To qualify for the program they have to be non violent offenders and have a history of good behavior.

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    Default Inmate Firefighters

    Here in upstate New York, the Wyoming Correctional Facility has a fire department, made up of inmates, that can be called out to assist at large fires. Wyoming CF is a minimum security prison adjacent to the Attica Correctional Facility (yes, that Attica Prison). I do not think that they actually fight the fire(s) outside of the prison itself, but are usually called to large fires to help roll hose, overhaul, and pick up. I think they are also used during natural disasters where manpower is needed such as heavy rains with flooding, or searches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarionMedic
    You immediately went to the worst possible thought.
    Lot's of folks do.

    Truth is, good people make bad choices sometimes. Any of us on this forum could find themself in jail tomorrow. That's a fact.

    The only one of our County "inmate firefighters" I worked with regularly was in jail for a non-violent crime. All of them are trustees and non-violent offenders.
    The one I knew was in for something really stupid to begin with that carried a one year sentence.
    He was a Certified Firefighter before he got into trouble, and a really good guy.

    Something I have learned over my lifetime should be applied here.....
    Not all folks in jail are criminals, and, not all criminals are in jail.

    I applaud these guys for trying to do something good instead of sitting around in jail being thugs.

    this is true BUT I really don't know how safe I feel with a guy backing me up is an inmate. yes good people make bad choices but when I leave a fire I get to go home he goes back to jail. what does he have to lose by running out on me.....?
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    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyRescue205
    this is true BUT I really don't know how safe I feel with a guy backing me up is an inmate. yes good people make bad choices but when I leave a fire I get to go home he goes back to jail. what does he have to lose by running out on me.....?
    He has everything to lose.

    After screwing up to get into prison, he's realized there is a way to make the best of his time or make the worst of his time. If he's an inmate firefighter, he's obviously chosen the former over the latter. To screw up on that detail would not only mean more time in prison -- but harder time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyRescue205
    what does he have to lose by running out on me.....?
    Well, his "freedom" to start. Not the freedom you and I have, but imagine spending 20-23 hours a day locked in a 6x6 cell.

    Trust me that inmate values that "freedom" more than trying to make a break for it and risk never getting out but for one hour of recreation time a day.
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    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    My opinon was based on if I was an inmate.

    You give me an axe and a large grass fire, I would be gone in a heartbeat. And trust me, i'm pretty sure that no one would find me.

    At the same time, throw the inmates out there. Plant them with a GPS chip. I recently saw a deal on MTV with kids from california who they make fight grass fires. Course I changed the channel because it didnt feature babes in bikinis but I think it might have been something to watch later on

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    Actually I spoke with a former Chief about this topic the other day, and we both concluded that the inmates who are working as firefighters are "Trustees", as someone above pointed out. Which only makes sense. Just as it is for you and I (well most of us anyway) being a firefighter is a privilage as well as a job.

    For the inmates, to be allowed on the dept would be a sign of trust to them (which brings self-esteem - a good thing) and maybe a chance to repay some of the wrongs they have committed.

    These of course are just the rambling compiliations of two fellows having coffee 'n talking shop.
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    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985
    My opinon was based on if I was an inmate. You give me an axe and a large grass fire, I would be gone in a heartbeat. And trust me, i'm pretty sure that no one would find me.
    I'm pretty sure that they would. Prisons tend to do a decent job at tracking down those that come up missing. It's hard for people -- especially those with a criminal background -- to be invisible for long. Sure, there are stories of successful escapes that make you wonder what became of the inmates. However, being caught, returned to prison, extending your sentence and having all privledges taken away is much more of the norm.

    I find it interesting to hear folks talk about the risk of flight with these inmates. Obviously, you guys have no idea how man inmate trustees operate every day outside of prison walls.

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    Well, Im probably going to take some flak here, but I have a problem with inmates doing anything. I belive they should spend all their time in a cell. No working out, no playing b-ball, no watching TV, no out on the highway pulling weeds. Dont even let them out to eat, push the tray through the bars. The only work out they need the can get walking to the shower two or three times a week.

    We need to get back in this country too the idea that prison is for punishment, not rehab. Maybe if we were a bit harder on these inmates, there wouldnt be so many repeat offenders. We need to get back to the idea that prison is a VERY bad place, not an inconveinance, and a place you never, ever want to return too.

    And spare me the good people make bad choices sometimes argument. Fine, you make a bad choice, you pay the price. Its time we get back to people haveing responsibility for their choices and actions. There is a serious lack of that in this country.

    Just my $.02.
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    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    I belive they should spend all their time in a cell. No working out, no playing b-ball, no watching TV, no out on the highway pulling weeds. Dont even let them out to eat, push the tray through the bars. The only work out they need the can get walking to the shower two or three times a week.
    You know that a lot of inmates are eventually released back to the public. Treat a dog the same way you suggest treating inmates. Watch how evil the dog becomes. The exact same thing will happen to the inmates.

    I'm not an expert on recidivism. However, my money says that it has more to do with whom a released inmate spends his time outside of prison with than it does to whether they get to play basketball inside.

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    As far as inmate firefighters go... here's my opinion. I don't like it. IF they were going to train them on something, why not make it something that would be useful when they get out. The chances of these cons getting a job on a paid department after their release is so slim, it's not worth it. Giving them skills that can land them a job with a criminal background would help them out more, for example, mechanic, truck driver, politician, construction. And if they are going to be in prison for life, then they committed a crime that would justify him never leaving the prison grounds.

    Now, there is an exception in my mind, and that is with juveniles. I think that this could give the kids the discipline to turn their lives around before they really get started down the wrong path. It gives them a skill, and may help them land a job when they become adults.

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    Millerman, just a short question regarding juveniles. The topic of jr firefighter programs has been discussed to death, so I wont go too deep there. However, while I agree in principle with what you suggest, at what age do you consider "old enough" to do the job?

    Fairfax County will not accept applications from anyone under age 17, and that only with parental written consent. That will let a person into EMT school, but fire school is going to a while away yet.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
    Millerman, just a short question regarding juveniles. The topic of jr firefighter programs has been discussed to death, so I wont go too deep there. However, while I agree in principle with what you suggest, at what age do you consider "old enough" to do the job?

    Fairfax County will not accept applications from anyone under age 17, and that only with parental written consent. That will let a person into EMT school, but fire school is going to a while away yet.
    The age would really depend on where they were trying to get a job I guess. And if there weren't paid departments in their area, then they could volunteer, and keep themselves out of trouble. Heck, maybe volunteering could be part of their probation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983
    Well, Im probably going to take some flak here, but I have a problem with inmates doing anything. I belive they should spend all their time in a cell. No working out, no playing b-ball, no watching TV, no out on the highway pulling weeds. Dont even let them out to eat, push the tray through the bars. The only work out they need the can get walking to the shower two or three times a week.

    We need to get back in this country too the idea that prison is for punishment, not rehab. Maybe if we were a bit harder on these inmates, there wouldnt be so many repeat offenders. We need to get back to the idea that prison is a VERY bad place, not an inconveinance, and a place you never, ever want to return too.

    And spare me the good people make bad choices sometimes argument. Fine, you make a bad choice, you pay the price. Its time we get back to people haveing responsibility for their choices and actions. There is a serious lack of that in this country.

    Just my $.02.
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