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This year, California is employing over 4,000 inmates (including juveniles) to fight fires, and paying them almost nothing! Just curious if anyone else finds this to be a problem...

Here are just some issues I have with this:
-Inmates seem to be the new slaves. Using slave labor creates the need for more slaves.
-Are we to believe that inmates volunteer for this hot, risky, thankless job for $2 per hour (or less)?
-Most of the firefighting inmates won't qualify for firefighting jobs when they get out of jail or prison. Why deny them the opportunity for employment if they have experience?
-CA is saving $100 million+ per year employing prisoners - But that's paying jobs that are lost!
-Why don't minimum wage laws apply? Do any labor laws apply? Is overtime mandatory for inmates?
-Firefighters have a union. Do inmates have a union? Can they go on strike? Can they quit???
-Does OSHA have any jurisdiction over the inmates safety? If they are injured or killed, does workers' compensation cover them? Are there any death benefits (that a professional firefighter fighting the same fire would have?)
-How many 'guards' need to be employed per inmate?
-We're not told what the inmates get to do with their $2 per hour (or less)

All I see is California officials exploiting prison labor. What are your thoughts?


Some sources:
reason.com/blog/2018/08/09/inmates-are-helping-fight-californias-ma
sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Plum-gig-or-slave-labor-California-inmates-fight-13148532.php
theblaze.com/news/2018/03/26/commentary-occupational-licensing-laws-make-us-less-safe-and-prevent-good-people-from-getting-jobs
bur.org/hereandnow/2018/08/14/california-inmate-firefighters-wildfire

(Sorry these links are not clickable. I tried to make them clickable and this forum denied me because I have not posted at least 15 posts...)
 

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I've always thought prisoners should be used for work for "free"; meaning they should cover what they cost taxpayers.

I have no idea how it looks like in the states but in my country one inmate costs more than minimum wage.
I can see how petty crimes among lower class would skyrocketed if you started to give them employment that pays at least the minimum wage (while some won't find jobs or will make less/the same) + free food and accommodation.

I don't think they should risk their lives or health though. Unless they agreed to that.
 

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lmfao.

The imagery this conjures up in my head is so hysterically messed up. What a world we live in.
 

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I've always thought prisoners should be used for work for "free"; meaning they should cover what they cost taxpayers.

I have no idea how it looks like in the states but in my country one inmate costs more than minimum wage.
I can see how petty crimes among lower class would skyrocketed if you started to give them employment that pays at least the minimum wage (while some won't find jobs or will make less/the same) + free food and accommodation.

I don't think they should risk their lives or health though. Unless they agreed to that.
A much better solution to this is to bring down the Prison industrial complex and stop criminalizing non-violent crimes to reduce the stress on tax-payers.
 

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-Are we to believe that inmates volunteer for this hot, risky, thankless job for $2 per hour (or less)?
I believe it. You know what prison is like, don't you? Some would do it for free. And according to a couple studies I've read, most inmates are SPs. They're probably dying to get out of those cells and do something physical, and they're the type mostly likely to take risks anyhow (which is how most end up in prison). Fire probably doesn't scare them much. And most fires aren't as huge as the ones we are having in Norcal right now anyways.
 

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The program has been around since WW2, and only five inmates have died since the beginning in 1940s.

So it is probably less dangerous than career firefighting (some inmates do go on to work for cal-fire) or prison, itself.

Inmates volunteer. And of course they would--people do things for more than money. They get a sense of pride for protecting others, they get experience that is good for employment after prison, and it also looks good on their prison records, as good behavior. Inmates appreciate the program and are glad for the opportunity. If I was given the choice of sitting in prison or helping with firefighting, I would choose firefighting.

Firefighters and inmates both do a lot of overtime during fire season--it's part of the reality of fighting forest fires, to stop the fires from spreading and killing people and destroying their homes etc.
 
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