HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Prisoners are fighting th...

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 05:55 PM

Prisoners are fighting the California fires - $1.00/ hour

1,500 prison fire fighters!



43 replies, 1525 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply Prisoners are fighting the California fires - $1.00/ hour (Original post)
Equinox Moon Nov 2018 OP
IcyPeas Nov 2018 #1
Equinox Moon Nov 2018 #2
WhiskeyGrinder Nov 2018 #3
Demovictory9 Nov 2018 #4
USALiberal Nov 2018 #5
WhiskeyGrinder Nov 2018 #6
USALiberal Nov 2018 #7
WhiskeyGrinder Nov 2018 #10
USALiberal Nov 2018 #11
alphafemale Nov 2018 #23
UniteFightBack Nov 2018 #12
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #14
grantcart Nov 2018 #24
WhiskeyGrinder Nov 2018 #40
grantcart Nov 2018 #41
WhiskeyGrinder Nov 2018 #42
grantcart Nov 2018 #43
Cicada Nov 2018 #8
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #13
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #9
Downtown Hound Nov 2018 #15
keithbvadu2 Nov 2018 #16
ProudLib72 Nov 2018 #21
Demonaut Nov 2018 #17
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #18
Iggo Nov 2018 #19
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #20
JCanete Nov 2018 #25
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #26
JCanete Nov 2018 #29
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #30
JCanete Nov 2018 #31
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #33
PufPuf23 Nov 2018 #22
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #27
JCanete Nov 2018 #28
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #32
JCanete Nov 2018 #34
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #35
JCanete Nov 2018 #36
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #37
JCanete Nov 2018 #38
Small-Axe Nov 2018 #39

Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:03 PM

1. it's 1,500 not 15,000

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to IcyPeas (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:04 PM

2. Thanks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:07 PM

3. Prison labor is slave labor. Solidarity with incarcerated people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:25 PM

4. yes

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:39 PM

5. They volunteer and train for the opportunity. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to USALiberal (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:44 PM

6. "Volunteer" elides the inherent lack of agency prisoners have.

Last edited Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:47 PM - Edit history (1)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:46 PM

7. They would rather be outside the cells fighting fires. You would stop that program?? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to USALiberal (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:28 PM

10. What you say can be true at the same time that it's slave labor.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:29 PM

11. No it is not. Slaves had no choice. These prisoners asked for this job. Simple. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to USALiberal (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:17 AM

23. Just because someone is in prison does not mean they don't want to help their community

I wish some would stop thinking these people didn't make this choice.

Can you imagine being pitied when you made a choice to do this?

I would spit on the people wanting to pity me.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:31 PM

12. Correction....Its Cheap Labor. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UniteFightBack (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:41 PM

14. Not really, when one considers it cost more per year to incarcerate someone than it does...

 

to send them to Harvard.

Very expensive labor, actually.

This program rehabilitates people and gets them out of prison sooner.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:34 AM

24. I have an incarcerated friend who has been on a list for 2 years to get

On the list and got a call 2 months ago from him and he was overjoyed at getting to the fire camp.

1) he was sharing a room with 18 people and there were fights every day

2) He was then housed with a psychotic man that screamed in his sleep.

3) He now is
A) getting good training as a cook
B) is able to take a shower and use the bathroom in private
C) is at a camp without walls and can walk freely ( no one leaves because the add on to their sentence is 4 years and they are down to about 1 year
D) They get 2 days off for every day assigned to the camp
E) when at camp and not in training they have unlimited access to basketball and weights.

Money isn't really an issue as family members contribute to canteen accounts.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to grantcart (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 10:45 AM

40. Right, right, that doesn't sound expoloitative or coercive at all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #40)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 11:16 AM

41. He did terrible things. He ripped off dozens of elderly folks and got their life savings

Hundreds of thousands of dollars each time.

Doctors for two of the people said that they died abruptly when they learned what he did.

About 40 victims whose entire life savings were gone.

Their children robbed of their birth right so grand children that will lose the college education that their grand parents had saved for.

He told me that after listening to the victims impact statements for 2 days that if he had been on the jury he would have given himself the death penalty.

A month later he was back to "Wasn't my fault, I didn't know my partner didn't really invest the money"

He is finishing his third year and even though he is a repeat felon got out. He is still in because when he got to Mexico he called the prosecuting attorney's office and told them to "F off" in a 20 min call that included 100 f bombs.

Only his sister talks to him and everybody who knows him and the facts of the case thinks he got off easy although because of his attitude he got twice what the 'mastermind' did.

All of the above is a little off poin because the real point is no matter how bad the camp is the prisoners say it is 100 times better than being back in prison. Presumably all of the prisoners could opt back to prison if they wanted too but no one ever has.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to grantcart (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:54 PM

42. Right, that makes exploitation and coercion okay, and we should totally build our justice system

on it. Got it!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 01:51 PM

43. No coercion, no exploitation

He is serving time in prison

Fire camp is better.

Your focus on the dollar amount they ate paid focuses on the most irrelevant point possible.

They get actual training for real jobs, in his case a cook

They get much better (and safer) living conditions

They are only on fire related about 4 or 5 days a month

But none of that compares with the biggest benefit which is 2 fold:

Everyday they are in camp (fire or now fire) they get 2 days subtracted from their sentence, and instead of living as a prisoner in a cage they are addressed by their name, walk around freely and get an enhanced sense of self worth because they are, for the first time In a long time doing something for the larger good.

Your pathetic snark is only matched by your over bearing paternalism. You assume that all of these guys are unable to make decisions in their self interest and that you know better. They believe that they have made an informed decision and are fortunate. On the other hand you believe that they made a terrible decision and are being exploited. What a wonderful world you live in where your decisions are perfect and people that make different decisions are exploited and coerced.

In my friends case increased pay doesn't make any difference because what ever he makes In prison is garnished to pay back the $ 1.2 million he stole from 80 year widows, the people that were actually exploited and coerced.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:50 PM

8. We should give them credits for earlier release

They risk their lives

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cicada (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:38 PM

13. They get such credits.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 06:51 PM

9. This is a great program that allows well-trained inmate figherfighters...

 

to reduce their prison terms and to give back to society.

What is more redemptive than saving lives, homes, and peoples' dreams?

Regaining self-respect and feeling like heroes is redemptive.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 07:45 PM

15. I saw them a lot during the Santa Rosa fires last year

They actually converted the horse stables at our local fairgrounds into a makeshift prison to house them during their rest time. They helped save a lot of lives and property. They deserve more than $1 an hour.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:11 PM

16. Inmate firefighters .

Inmate firefighters
.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to keithbvadu2 (Reply #16)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:45 PM

21. Inmates who volunteer to fight California's largest fires denied access to jobs on release

As California struggles to contain the largest fire in state history, more than 2,000 inmates have volunteered to fight the flames. Offering just $1 an hour, the state has long encouraged low-level prisoners to risk their lives and serve alongside professional firefighters, who earn nearly $74,000 a year on average. Firefighting, along with less life-threatening trades like plumbing, welding, and cosmetology, is one of several vocational training programs offered to prisoners by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

But in a bitterly ironic twist, once inmates leave prison, they often canít work as firefighters, despite their frontline experience. In California, nearly all counties require firefighters to become licensed emergency medical technician (EMTs) ó a credential that can be denied to almost anyone with a criminal record.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/08/20/californias-volunteer-inmate-firefighters-denied-jobs-after-release-column/987677002/

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:22 PM

17. do they get OT?

they are paying a debt to society, in most cases they are not first line troops and they are Volunteers

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:28 PM

18. It costs over $75,000 a year to house an inmate on average in CA...

 

if they were paid $15 an hour it would take 5,000 hours to cover the cost.

Not cheap labor.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:31 PM

19. It shouldn't be cheap to send prisoners into life-threatening situations.

It should be goddamed expensive.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Iggo (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:32 PM

20. It isn't cheap. You've got your wish.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:50 AM

25. It isn't really supposed to be mitigated by the labor. We could afford to pay a more reasonable

 


compensation to prisoners willing to do this, if maybe we didn't over-incarcerate as a state and as a nation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:54 AM

26. The $75,000 cost just gives a lie to the charge this is cheap labor. It's not.

 

One year of incarceration costs far more than hiring a professional firefighter.

Reducing time served and gaining self-respect is worth more than a few bucks an hour.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 01:16 AM

29. well its cheaper than hiring somebody who isn't in prison. They're already paying that

 


75,000.

As I said in another post, I think jobs programs are good, but there is no reason we shouldn't offer a reasonable pay to people we incarcerate, and incarcerating people SHOULD be painful to our budget. We do WAY the fuck too much of it. Its out of hand. We should not be proud to be global leaders in prisoner population, but sadly, we are that because there are lobbying incentives to be that.

Do you know how hard it is to get started once you've been in prison? Why not let the prisoners who volunteer make something of it that could help them financially on the other side? Yes, the work experience is good. The money would also be more than welcome. We can afford it, and it may even help against recidivism...though on that I'm just wildly speculating.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 01:42 AM

30. I think the self-pride that comes with saving lives...

 

is far more valuable than making trinkets.

The firefighting inmates learn to work in teams and feel respect from other firefighters and the public. That's redemptive.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #30)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 01:44 AM

31. that sounds like platitudes to me. How would better pay in any way reduce taht pride? nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #31)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 01:50 AM

33. Not a bit.

 

Listen to interviews (not conducted by Amy Goodwin) for the self-pride that inmates felt during these fires. And hope people responded to them.

I heard many who were quite emotional about feeling like heroes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Equinox Moon (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2018, 11:57 PM

22. Prisoners have low paying jobs in prisons.

The jobs defray the costs of incarnation, puts commissary $ in their pockets, may be job training, and is volunteer, even considered a privileged job. I spent 16 year as a USFS employee, and while not normally in my regular job, have fire experience and experience with the prisoner crews. They always seemed to have very high morale.

There are environmental work camps in CA for prisoners besides for fires and this is the source of the fire labor. They are referred to as "honor" or "conservation" camps and have been used since at least the 1960s. There is a CA Youth Authority Camp at the Whiskeytown NRA (where Carr Fire started).

It is silly to consider this slave labor as the prisoners involved like these jobs, though can be very hard work. Most of the work on fires is in support (kitchens, supplies, etc) or as holding or mop crews but not the crews that directly attack the fires. They have more freedom and receive better food while in the camps or on fires.

I have great respect for the prisoner crews. I think Amy Goodman missed the mark here casting asperations that the convicts are slave labor.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #22)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:56 AM

27. Thanks for being a voice of reason and experience.

 

Amy Goodman really did miss the mark.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PufPuf23 (Reply #22)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 12:59 AM

28. While I agree with some of what you are saying, I think thats far too easy. For one thing,

 


prison itself is such an abhorrent place to be that of course the outdoors is preferable. Of course after being cooped up behind bars, this is the best end of the deal, but the prisoner has no bargaining leverage in this equation, just a chance to be out of a cage.

Second, these could be jobs that California paid workers outside of jail. That it is using "volunteer" labor instead of other workers doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy. Prisoners should be paid a wage closer to that of those who would otherwise be paid, and even if it cost us, these programs should still remain, because I do think these are good for the reasons you did describe.

Third, if we want to bitch and moan then about how costly all of this is, well we over-incarcerate. Too many people go to prison and too many people are stuck there. We have the highest per-capita AND total prison population in the world(at least by the last time I checked).


And because of all the ways our system works, there are too many damn incentives to keep them there...there's the prison lobby...there's the private prison lobby, there's the pharmaceutical lobby....


so no, I don't want us looking to prisons as a way to put bodies in jobs....as a work program? Hell yeah...and pay these people so that they have a nest egg when they get out and need to start a life.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 01:47 AM

32. It seems simplistic to blame only the prison lobby for the criminality that causes people...

 

to be incarcerated. It's much more complex than that.

Being on fire teams gets people out of prison much sooner. They get 2 days off their sentences for every day fighting fires IMS and they come out feeling like they did something really positive. That's a double win as far as I'm concerned.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #32)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 02:04 AM

34. it is where our priorities are. Scaremongering and promoting policing, anti-immigration, etc.

 

are also things that can fill any of our number of types of prisons, and thus our resources are spent here at the penitentiary level rather than at the level of education, opportunity and prevention. I'm still not sure I buy your argument that this feeling positive about doing something good has the coat-tails you are applying to it. Some of the things that way into self-worth and pride are feelings of being valued. Nothing about this system actually makes these people valued...thanked sure(as by Brown)...like we thank our troops too. Or I should say, I don't personally see how whatever value they have in the pecking order in prison, translates at all to when they get out. The work itself? The opportunity to mention that you were in that program even as a convict? Sure.

But these prisoners are on the front lines. They are risking their safety for a chance to get out of prison earlier.
Yes, it saves our state 100 million dollars a year to put these guys out there instead of to hire firefighters. What would it save us to not be so flippant in our incarceration? Our sentence times? To be better about an actual reform and rehabilitation agenda?


Also, do you understand that the rate originally settled on was decades ago?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #34)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 02:11 AM

35. I think you are letting a radicalized worldview get in the way of seeing the positives...

 

of what is happening with the inmate firefighting programs. Including benefits for both the inmates and the people who are in jeopardy of losing their home and their lives.

The inmate fire crews are mostly supporting professional firefighters. No inmate firefighter died in these fires.

I entirely disagree that "nothing about this system actually makes these people valued." I'd search for interviews with participants. They tell a very different story.





Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #35)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 02:14 AM

36. what is radicalized about my world-view? I'd need an example. You know that in 2014

 


it was argued in court that we shouldn't go forward with a big parole change because it would impact our access to cheap labor. That was the State's argument. Thoughts?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #36)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 02:20 AM

37. As I said, it isn't "cheap labor." It is very (very) expensive labor.

 

The few people in prison the happier I'll be.

I'd rather see people coming out of prison feeling restored than not. I think being part of these teams is valuable for those who serve on them.

And it reduces their sentences and gets them out of prison sooner. A win-win.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Small-Axe (Reply #37)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 02:20 AM

38. then why did we literally argue for it, as a REASON to keep people in cells?

 



And how does it save us 100 million dollars?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JCanete (Reply #38)

Mon Nov 19, 2018, 02:33 AM

39. Not following

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread