The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and San Diego County finalized a contract earlier this month that will allow the county to house some of its inmates in the state’s fire camps.
“This agreement with San Diego County is a win for everyone,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard said. “Housing county offenders in conservation camps will provide additional space to the county, contribute to the state’s trained firefighting workforce, protect public safety and provide rehabilitation.”
Up to 100 San Diego County offenders will join the approximately 4,000 other inmates participating in CDCR’s Conservation Camp program. Since 1946, able-bodied inmates in the program have helped with fire suppression and other emergencies, such as floods and earthquakes. Only low-level offenders, both male and female, may participate.
According to the contract, San Diego County will pay the state $46.19 per inmate per day, which covers housing and supervision costs by CDCR as well as the costs of training by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE). CDCR jointly manages 39 adult and juvenile camps with CAL FIRE and five adult camps with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
In an average year, the fire crews provide more than 2.5 million hours of emergency response work and save taxpayers more than $100 million annually. The crews are available year-round and respond to wildfires, floods, heavy snows, search and rescue operations, earthquakes and other emergencies.
By OPEC Staff