Up to 40% of California forest firefighters defending Californian from the destructive fires throughout the state right now are prisoners.*
These prisoners represent a disenfranchised population of second-class citizens.
The more-than 4,000 prisoners currently on the front lines are stripped of their right to vote, banned from most jobs after serving their time, and are forced to work for wages drastically below the federal minimum wage (currently they are paid $2 an hour).
This is a disgusting way to treat human beings. They volunteer to risk their lives for us, but we will do nothing to help them rebuild their lives once they are out. Plus, this use of cheap labor, which saves the state tons of money, is a direct incentive for the State of California to NOT seek criminal justice reform.
That is why we are petitioning the State of California and Cal Fire to pay inmates fighting California’s forest at the very least the federal minimum wage, restore their right to vote, and help these clearly able men - trusted as firefighters – get jobs upon re–entry.