Destructive wildfires rage across Northern California at historic levels. Firefighters have been working to extinguish fires as flames continue to ravish through the North Complex of Oroville, California. California Governor Gavin Newsom supports those on the fires frontlines, and opens opportunities for California inmates who are also fighting fires.
Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2147, allowing inmates to have records cleared and a pathway to becoming a professional firefighter once their prison sentence is completed. “Inmates who have stood on the frontlines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter.” Gov. Newsom said on Twitter after signing the transformative bill.
According to ABC News “In an Aug. 24 report, the state corrections department said there were 1,354 inmate firefighters battling the state’s wildfires this year.”
With the implementation of this bill, inmates will also have a chance to earn EMT certificates.
According to KCRA “The bill, AB 2147, would speed up the process for these firefighters to get their records expunged and would make it easier for them to earn an emergency medical technician certificate.”
Although the bill would greatly benefit inmates, not every inmate would be eligible. According to ABC News “Inmates convicted of murder, kidnapping, rape, lewd acts on a child, felonies punishable by death, sex offense requiring registration and arson would be ineligible under the law.”
Inmates serving to help fight fires is a common occurrence in California. “Nearly 800 inmate firefighters helped battle the deadly Camp Fire in Butte County and 400 helped with the Kincade Fire in the Napa Valley in 2019.” according to the legislation.
According to KCRA “Newsom signed the bill while surrounded by the destruction of the North Complex Fire burning in Butte County.”
Even during the most unfortunate times there is hope, and Gov. Newsom is instilling hope in the lives of many with the signing of this equitable bill.